Thirteen months ago, the Packers signed Jermichael Finley to a two-year deal worth slightly less than $15 million. Statistically, the tight end went on to have an impressive season, hauling in 61 passes (most in team history at the position) for 667 yards and two touchdowns, but consistency continued to be his biggest issue.
So much so that there was speculation the organization might ask Finley to restructure his contract or just cut ties with him altogether. Apparently, neither happened.
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reports Finley will get the $3 million March roster bonus courtesy of the Packers, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tyler Dunne tweets the tight end will make $8.25 million in 2013.
According to Football Outsiders, Finley ranked 13th in total value among all tight ends last season. But based on ProFootballFocus.com's calculations, Finley's 2012 performance was worth just $1 million, a full $4.2 million less than his salary-cap hit. PFF notes that only two tight ends had more drops than Finley's nine, and his 10.9 yards-per-catch was a career low.
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"I think [Finley] started slow, then he got injured, fought through the injury and played consistently at the end," said offensive coordinator Tom Clements shortly after the season ended, via the Journal Sentinel. "It was a good way to finish for him, did a lot of good things and showed some toughness fighting through the [shoulder] injury. So, I thought he had a good year overall."
Coach Mike McCarthy also thought his starting tight end improved as the season progressed.
"I really felt Jermichael Finley was a different man, a different player from the bye week on," he said in January. "I had an opportunity to talk to him about that at length in his exit interview, so I feel very good about the way he finished the year.
"There was a change in that young man. ... But we obviously have to look at the first half, too, and make sure that's part of the evaluation because we're all judged on 17 games."
It appears McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson saw enough over the course of those 17 games to keep Finley around for at least one more season.