After suffering a nasty hit midway through the season, a collision with Cleveland's Tashaun Gipson that left the Packers tight end in the ICU with a spinal contusion and which ended his season, there was talk about the possibility of Jermichael Finley needing to get away from football altogether.
But Finley underwent spinal fusion surgery and plans to return to 2014, and he's already said he's not interested in taking a paycut (the Packers paid him $8.25 million for the 2013 season). And if he can't make a deal with Green Bay, Finley has been thinking about the possibility of life in other uniforms. Perhaps, even, the Giants. Thanks, in part, to Giants safety Antrel Rolle.
“Right now he is a Packer and I know he would love to play his entire career there,'' Finley's agent, Blake Baratz, told the NY Post. “For the next five weeks or so they have his exclusive negotiation rights. If it doesn't work out in Green Bay for whatever reason then I believe there are a number of teams that could use a talent like Jermichael."
OK, so Baratz doesn't actually say Finley would be interested in the Giants, though the newspaper believes it to be a possibility. But on a level it makes sense, because newly-hired offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo worked with Finley in Green Bay.
Finley and Rolle watched the Super Bowl together, and Rolle said later that he tried to convince Finley to take a look at the Giants.
"Actually, we were recruiting each other,'' Rolle said told Newsday. "He said that he would love to be a part of the Giants. Going up against this guy for a number of years now, I said I would love for him to be a part of the Giants so we don't have to face him.''
While tight end Brandon Myers had a productive pass-catching season with the Giants in 2013 -- he also was ranked as one of the worst run-blockers in the league by Pro Football Focus -- the final three years of the four-year contract he signed before this season can be voided by the team.
Finley's talent is unique among most of the league's tight ends (it wouldn't be a stretch to fit him into a discussion of one of the five-best in the league when he's healthy and motivated), but it's also unclear how his spinal injury will affect him moving forward.
“Jermichael is doing great, is working out, running routes, catching balls, and feels no different than he did pre-injury,'' Baratz said. “His fusion has to fully heal before he is 100 percent ready for contact, but we are all anticipating that occurring in the coming weeks. Jermichael is a rare breed that creates a mismatch for defenses. Whenever you have a player that can do that he is a valuable asset.''
Making matters more interesting for the Packers is the fact that Andrew Quarless, who led the team's tight ends with 32 catches in 2013, also is an impending free agent.
As for how the Packers feel about Finley, here's what Aaron Rodgers had to say about him this week.
"He's a unique talent; the guy is supremely talented," Rodgers said. "I loved spending time with him, getting to become better friends with him, spending time on Saturday nights going through game plans, talking about what he likes for the next day as far as route running. That was always fun conversations that I enjoyed our time together. I hope that whether it's with us or with another team that he's going to be able to continue his career, because the NFL is more exciting with him in it, and it would be great to have him back."
Follow Josh Katzowitz on Google+