The conclusion of months of back-and-forth speculation came Monday, as the Green Bay Packers officially paid Jermichael Finley's $3 million bonus, essentially guaranteeing the polarizing tight end will remain on the roster through 2013.
Shortly after the 3:00 p.m. deadline, Finley tweeted that he would be staying with the Packers.
— Jermichael Finley (@JermichaelF88) March 25, 2013
Blake Baratz, Finley's agent, later confirmed his client would be receiving the $3 million bonus.
— Blake Baratz (@blakebaratz) March 25, 2013
Finley, who turns 26 Tuesday, signed a two-year deal worth just over $14 million in March of 2011. The contract will now pay Finley $8.25 million in total salary next season, including the bonus. The two sides were reportedly discussing a restructure, but no such fix materialized before Monday's deadline.
Finley will now play out the 2013 season on the second-richest tight end salary in the NFL before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the spring of 2014.
In an offense featuring Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones last season, Finley caught 61 passes for 667 yards and two touchdowns.
With Jennings now in Minnesota, and no replacement currently on the roster, Finley's return was always the most likely scenario. In my opinion, it was the correct scenario, too.
Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at email@example.com.