The Packers had plenty of problems as this season began. But, aside from the usual worries about the offense getting its act together and the team winning close games, one name always popped up in the headlines: Jermichael Finley.
The tight end never seemed to be happy with the team and especially MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Finley complained of chemistry issues, and his agent called out Rodgers’ leadership.
The Packers have pushed themselves back to their winning ways, with the playoffs easily in reach after a rough start to the season. But while the team has mostly papered over early rifts, the problems Finley caused apparently won’t be forgotten when this campaign is over.
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Green Bay “not only wants to get rid of Finley but has decided to do exactly that in the offseason.” The Packers will look to trade Finley but are willing to release him if needed.
“There is no way the Packers will pick up the second half of the two-year, $14 million contract they gave Finley in late February,” McGinn said.
While Finley is overpaid at $7 million this year compared to other tight ends, the short-term deal allows the Packers to cut him loose from the second year before a March 15 deadline, when Finley would qualify for a $3 million roster bonus.
McGinn said the Packers are eager to move on. The team has plenty of offensive weapons, and Finley’s behavior — coupled with his less-than-top-notch play — is starting to be too much.
“He seems to always say the wrong thing at the wrong time,” McGinn quotes one NFC personnel source as saying.
The Packers may be making a smart move to get rid of Finley after the season, but there’s good reason to wonder whether they should have done something even earlier. Finley fired up the Packers’ Sunday opponent, the Chicago Bears, this week when he said veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher was slowing down, and that the Bears are better off without him.
The Packers have now said the same to Finley.