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Offseason Blueprint for the Green Bay Packers, 11 Items on the Checklist

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Offseason Blueprint for the Green Bay Packers, 11 Items on the Checklist

Packers general manager Ted Thompson. Photo by Brian Carriveau of CheeseheadTV.com.

The NFL Combine is in the books. Next comes free agency and the Draft.

Here's eleven things the Packers need to do in order to become more competitive on the football field and get back to a Super Bowl level...

  1. Clear salary cap-space by restructuring A.J. Hawk's contract––In order to sign Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and others to contract extensions, as well as become competitive in free agency, the Packers need still more space than the roughly $20 million they already have under the salary cap. Hawk's salary cap figure in excess of $7 million in 2013 is dragging down the team for somebody who doesn't create turnovers and is only a two-down player. With both Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith coming off injuries, there's good reason to keep Hawk around, just at a reduced salary. If he's unwilling to negotiate, then cut him, but hopefully things don't get to that point.
  2. Sign Clay Matthews to his contract extension now and then do Aaron Rodgers mid-season––It's exceedingly difficult to figure out how much salary cap space and flexibility the Packers will have––both in 2013 and in future seasons––without factoring Matthews and Rodgers into the equation. The Packers really have no choice but to bite the bullet. Matthews will become one of the highest-paid defenders in the NFL and Rodgers will become one of the highest-paid players regardless of position. Matthews only has one year left on his contract while Rodgers has two. Give Matthews his money now, and then sign Rodgers to his extension midway through the season. They'll save a couple million dollars in 2013 by waiting on Rodgers. B.J. Raji will just have to wait his turn.
  3. Accept a third-round draft choice for Jermichael Finley––If the Packers want to trade Jermichael Finley, they have to do it before March 12 when the new league year begins and he's due a $3 million bonus. With only one year left on his contract, Finley isn't going to command a first or even a second round draft choice, but the Packers might be able to fetch as high as a third. If they're able to find a partner, they shouldn't be afraid to pull the trigger. Either Tyler Eifert, Zach Ertz or Gavin Escobar is likely to be available in the first round of the upcoming Draft. Even spending a day-two pick on a guy like Vance McDonald or Travis Kelce becomes easier if you're getting something in return for Finley. If the Packers can't trade Finley, they have two options available, either cut him and wipe his $8-plus million cap figure off the books or keep him and hope for the best. Either is a possibility.
  4. Attempt to pull the ol' tag-and-trade with Greg Jennings––The NFL doesn't look kindly upon the so-called tag-and-trade deals, but there's nothing in the rulebook that explicitly prohibits it. If Jennings were to leave free agency, the Packers would get possibly get as high as a third round compensatory draft choice in 2014 at best, and that's assuming they don't sign any other unrestricted free agents. A fourth round draft choice in 2013 is as good as a third round choice in 2014. It doesn't sound like much for trading away Greg Jennings, but the Packers are not in a position of leverage. Getting one more year out of Jennings under the franchise tag wouldn't be a bad idea, but the Packers risk alienating a player with only a one-year offer.
  5. Make Chris Canty a competitive offer––Chris Canty makes more sense as a free agent target than a guy like Ricky Jean Francois for two reasons: 1) Canty has the length the Packers desire at 6-7 and 2) Canty won't count in the compensatory draft pick equation like Jean Francois because he was cut by the Giants. Certainly, Canty's injury history is a concern, but the Packers will just have to roll the dice and hope for the best. If healthy, he can both stuff the run and rush the passer, which makes him a valuable commodity. And by going after a defensive lineman in free agency, it become a less urgent need to address during the Draft.
  6. Save as much money as possible in restricted free agency: First of all, offer Sam Shields and Evan Dietrich-Smith second-round tenders at most. There's some risk involved in doing so, especially in the case of Shields, but history has shown that restricted free agents very, very rarely get signed away by other teams. The Packers also shouldn't offer any tender whatsoever to tight end Tom Crabtree and linebackers Rob Francois and Frank Zombo. The risk here is that they would automatically become unrestricted free agents and be free to sign with any team in the NFL, but that's a risk the Packers should be willing to take. If Crabtree or Francois can find a better deal outside of Green Bay, more power to them. The Packers can ease their pain by offering them a small signing bonus and giving them just slightly above the veteran's minimum.
  7. Add a safety in the first two days of the Draft––Ask just about anyone and they'll tell you that safety is one of the deepest positions in the 2013 NFL Draft. It's not imperative that the Packers take a safety in the first round, but it would probably be wise to do so before the end of the third. From Jonathan Cyprien to Eric Reid to D.J. Swearinger to J.J. Wilcox to Shamarko Thomas, there's plenty of options available. And the list doesn't end there.
  8. Stand pat at tackle and outside linebacker in the first round––The Packers have taken an offensive tackle in the first round in two of the past three drafts. And they took an outside linebacker in the first round in 2012. There's a degree of risk in doing so, but the Packers should put all their eggs in with Bryan Bulaga, Derek Sherrod and Nick Perry. It's especially risky because all three ended last season on injured reserve. But to draft a player in the first round at any of these positions would mean giving up on either Sherrod or Perry prematurely. They deserve to the opportunity to prove that they can bounce back. And that doesn't mean the Packers can't address these positions in the mid to late rounds.
  9. Round out the Draft with at least one linebacker, wide receiver, running back and offensive lineman––In reality, the Packers have plenty of needs. It's not out of the question to select a player at any position, especially in the later rounds. But the Packers would be wise to address these positions at some point rather than wait for undrafted free agency. Hopefully they'll find a diamond in the rough, and at the very minimum, at least add depth at these positions.
  10. Offer Cullen Jenkins a modest deal––At 32 years old, the Packers shouldn't break the bank to bring Jenkins back into the fold. But if he's open to signing a contract in the neighborhood of the veteran's minimum, there's little risk involved in seeing what he has left in the tank. He could always be cut if things don't work out. If Jenkins is holding out for significantly more money, however, then let him.
  11. Bring in competition for Mason Crosby––It's been years since the Packers have brought another kicker into training camp to provide competition for Mason Crosby. They don't necessarily have to give up on Crosby if he shows he's able to bounce back from a poor 2012 campaign, but bringing in a challenger is a must. It doesn't matter if the Packers draft a kicker or go the undrafted route. If they wait until after the Draft, they should be able to have their pick of the litter as most kickers will view Green Bay as a place where they realistically have a chance of winning a job.

Brian Carriveau is the author of "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (102) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

MarkinMadison's picture

(Your line spacing for this article makes it a little hard to read.)

Other than giving Shields a higher tender I don't think I can find anything to disagree with here. You're going to get some heat on #3, but personally, I think you either extend Finley on a long-term mid-level deal with lots of incentives or you trade him. Otherwise, he is a very expensive one-year rental. So I agree with your #3 quite a bit.

#7 - I'm a fan of what I think Vaccaro can do for the Packers, but the quality depth at the position is apparent. So I can't disagree with you.

#8 - I don't think it's going down that way. The Packers have needs at a number of positions, but none seem more critical than any of the others - particularly if the Packers sign Canty and/or Jenkins. It may actually come down to BPA, and if the BPA is an OLB or T then I would not be surprised to see TT go there.

Chad Toporski's picture

Looks like there's a list item tag problem with the HTML or CSS, making the spacing goofy. Where's Corey when you need him?

Brian Carriveau's picture

When making a numbered list, the default is not to put spaces between numbers. It's not something I can fix unfortunately.

Chad Toporski's picture

I figured as much... Go yell at Behnke to get his lazy butt off the couch and fix it! ;-)

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Looks fine on my phone Brian.

Chad Toporski's picture

Mobile-specific HTML and CSS for web pages will treat content differently from what you see on a "normal" browser, so you can't really go by that. Same content, but a different style applied to it.

QOTSA1's picture

I know you are not a fan of Finley, but I don't think the Packers will cut him. Why cut a talented guy just to have to replace him in the draft? To get someone who might be able to contribute equally you would be talking about using a 1st or 2nd round pick on a TE.

Let Jennings go in free agency, unless he wants to sign back with the Packers for cheap, like James Jones did. Take your Comp pick next year an be happy.

I would look at signing Canty or Jenkins, but not both. Canty might be the better player at this point, but he will probably be more expensive and has had some injury issues the past few seasons.

Brian Carriveau's picture

"Why cut a talented guy just to have to replace him in the draft?"

To clear away his $8-plus million cap figure and get him out of the Packers locker room.

Evan's picture

"...and get him out of the Packers locker room."

Why is that a necessity?

Brian Carriveau's picture

You may not agree, but I think it's rather well-documented why I believe this.

Evan's picture

I know...I just wanted to hear it again...

Don't you think, though, that by cutting Finley now when there is so much uncertainty with that position and then being forced to spend a high draft pick (probably a #1) on his replacement at the expense of other, more-pressing needs, would create more problems than it actually solves?

CSS's picture

You've really lost objectivity on this one, Brian. You can accurately state you dislike his lack of a filter when responding to questions he's asked, but it's fabrication at this point to say he's an issue in the locker room. There's zero evidence to support that assertion.

ArodMoney's picture

Everyone thats defending Finley here: Do you think hes a good guy to have in the locker room?

He's not T.O. or ochocinco, but he has never produced like those guys did either. If you look at the total package of being over payed, saying dumb things, and having under produced repeatedly, its hard to want him back.

Evan's picture

ARod- Until there is evidence that he's not a good guy to have in the locker room, I'll err on believing he is.

Like you said, he's not a TO or OchoCinco, but people are making him out to be just that. I don't think it's warranted.

QOTSA1's picture

ArodMoney, I would have no issue with them releasing Finley if they had an adequate replacement, but at this time they don't. And the Packers have too many needs to have to spend a 1st round pick on TE.

The Packers are a pass 1st offense that is losing one of its best receivers in Jennings. You can't take another weapon out of this offense and still expect it to carry the team.

I haven't heard anyone say Finley is a locker room cancer, he just doesn't seem to have a filter.

ArodMoney's picture

I don't think we've seen enough of williams and quarless to say they won't be adequate.

I also think there will be some pretty good options in the draft.

And I guess my biggest point is that he hasn't been a weapon. 767 yards in his best season. 1434 yards the last two years. If those were wide receiver #'s you wouldn't be calling him a weapon.

They also seemed fine with no worthwhile tight end in 2010

Evan's picture

" If those were wide receiver #’s you wouldn’t be calling him a weapon."

Good thing he's not a WR then...?

"I don’t think we’ve seen enough of williams and quarless to say they won’t be adequate."

We also haven't seen enough to say they will be. I'm holding out for Quarless, but the bottom line is without Finley there is nothing but a bunch of huge question marks.

ArodMoney's picture

he blocks like one

ArodMoney's picture

and the reason he didn't get franchise tagged last season is because he would have been qualified as a WR because he's split wide so often.

He had 15% of their receiving yards last season. You can't replace 15%?

So again, why are you considering him a weapon?

Evan's picture

Whether or not he blocks like a WR or would have argued for the WR franchise number is besides the point. He's a TE and he should be compared to other TEs. I think he was like 9th in yards and 12th in receptions (or maybe 12th and 9th).

I don't think 15% is an insignificant contribution (compare his numbers to Nelson and Jones - they're all pretty much the same, save for TDs). And, no, there is no other TE on the roster who could be counted on to replicate that contribution. Not yet, at least. Sure, they could draft a TE at 26, but a) that's no sure thing either and b) they're then bypassing bigger needs on the O and D lines.

No one will argue he's not overpaid. But for one season, with all the reasons I laid out, I think it's a price they have to pay.

Stroh's picture

I agree Evan. Finley had a productive season and finished strong. He might be overpaid, but he does open the game up for the WR and gives the Packers a WR type TE that Defensive Coordinators still have to account for in game planning. The TE's in this draft at least the 2 top TE are just like Finley in that they are much more recievers than they are inline TE. And there is absolutely no guarentee they would be better than Finley (who BTW broke the Packers TE rec record). He is outspoken, I don't deny that. But it makes alot of sense to keep him around and see if he plays to his potential next year. If he doesn't he's gone. But for the price I'm willing to see how he plays. A TE in the 1st or even 2nd isn't a can't miss prospect and it does take away a chance to get a playmaker at another more pressing need position.

ArodMoney's picture

I guess Evan we are basically just arguing whether or not the offense can function without him and we will just disagree on that.

I think that $8 can be spent on free agents that can shore up Dline and Linebacker which is more valuable than a TE imo.

My last point about Finley is this and I think it is something to seriously consider:

Say Finley comes back next year and has his best year yet. He gets 850 yards and 10 touchdowns. Not top 3 tight end play but top 5ish. What then? He just got $8million for way lesser play. He's going to ask for $10mil or more. Are you going to commit to a one dimensional TE for that much money with the looming deals of Raji, Nelson, Matthews, Rodgers, Jones, Shields?

I just don't like the precedent of vastly overpaying a player because his replacement is an unknown.

Stroh's picture

I"ve seen more than enough of Quarless and Williams to say I am thoroughly unimpressed. Both are nothing more that blockers to me. My lasting memory of Quarless is him falling all over himself trying the catch Flynns pass on the fake kick a few years ago when he was WIDE open. And for the life of me, I can't say I have a memory of WIlliams on offense whatsoever after 2 years!

Evan's picture

"He’s going to ask for $10mil or more."

He can ask for whatever he wants to, doesn't mean he'll get it. I don't think just because he made $8+ million in 2013 he'll automatically make more in 2014 - regardless of his performance.

But, to ward off any potential issues like that (and to lower his 2013 cap number) I'd argue they should extend him for 3 years.

QOTSA1's picture

I don't think you can measure what Finley does by stats alone. Finley draws a lot attention from the defense.

Yes, they won a Super Bowl without Finley, but they have lost a lot of talent since then. Collins, Jenkins, Wells, Clifton and now Woodson and probably Jennings. That is a lot of talent lost in a few years that has not been adequately replaced.

ArodMoney's picture

If Finley draws so much attention from defenses, how come they struggled to go down field against cover two? If the tight end draws those safeties then why weren't there more one on ones on the edge?

Bulaga, Hayward, Cobb, Neal, Perry, Burnett, Lang. They've added a lot of talent as well. With $8 million in cap space you could add even more at some positions GB actually needs.

8BitEra's picture

By the same token, Qotsa, we can't justify keeping Finley for $8M for middling production and hyperbolic statements like, "Finley draws a lot of attention from the defense." It's not like he's pulling a double-team every snap. Far from it.

I would like to keep Finley and there's a price I think makes it reasonable to keep him. It just happens to be far less than $8M. It's not worth it for a one year rental.

We can drop him and add as many as 3 contributors to this team for multiple years or lock up one of our young guys long term with that money. Makes much more sense long-term.

QOTSA1's picture

8BitEra, I don't think "“Finley draws a lot of attention from the defense" is hyperbole at all, defenses need to account for Finley. Mcarthy and Rodgers have said as much.

I do think Finley is overpaid and I would like him to restructure, but I don't think the Packers can afford to just release him.

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but if the Packers would dump Finley, what about making a run a Martellus Bennett? Bennett and Finley are almost the exact same age had very similar stats last year, and Bennett is probably a better blocker who could be had at half the price.

Stroh's picture

Qotsa1... Bennett got run outta Dallas (kinda hard to do) and now the NYG don't want him back. I can't help but think thats not a coincidence!

ArodMoney's picture

I do agree about taking too many players away. I definitely think they should add a TE/WR in the first 4 rounds

trvs's picture

I like it... Listen to Carriveau and 2013 should be a great season.

I would prefer to keep Finley, re-structure Hawk, tag and trade jennings, take a safety in the draft and pick up a Free Agent DL.

I completely agree with your point about giving Sherrod and Perry another opportunity before picking a player with similar draft value. Those two players alone would have greatly improved the Packers of 2012.

I am also curious how the ILB position filters out this year. A lot of players, but a lot of questions and concerns between Hawk, Bishop, Smith, Jones, Manning, Lattimore. We shall see.

Evan's picture

Agreed on all points wholeheartedly, except getting rid of Finley.

Beep's picture

I like the plan, and it all seems plausible except for the tag and trade on GJ85. If Al Davis were still alive, maybe it would happen, but I just don't see any other GM willing to part with a top draft pick or a set of mid round picks. I think its more likely the Pack just tags him over tag and trade which is still slim chances.

ArodMoney's picture

Completely agree. The tag would be $9.7m. Jennings said he wants $14m but if he gets $8m ill be surprised. Hes played with a top flight quarterback every year and his stats have dropped off precipitously. Let him walk and hope he gets a ton of targets and gives the pack a 3rd rounder.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Al Davis would want nothing to do with Greg. He isn't fast or buff enough.

8BitEra's picture

I think a non-exclusive tag 'n' trade is totally possible. As long as we keep realistic expectations of what we can expect in return. Worst case, we get him for one more year. I can think of worse situations to be in.

Jay's picture

I understand the Canty and Jenkins is about just making an offer. But they are mutually exclusive, correct? That is, we take one or the other, but not both.

Evan's picture

I don't know. Numbers-wise, there doesn't seem to be room for both. But they bring different skill sets to the table. So, in that regard, they're not mutually exclusive.

Mike's picture

There is room if Worthy is on PUP and Wilson continues to be no more than average

8BitEra's picture

I think both could be done numbers-wise. Jenkins won't get much more than a vet's minimum offer. I'd be shocked if he did. Canty was making something like $3M in NY and was a cap casualty. Same likely goes for him. He could possibly get a tad more.

Evan's picture

By "numbers wise" I meant roster space.

lmills's picture

Really enjoyed the article and agreed with most of your points. I however would like to see Finley stay at a more cap friendly extension. He may have a loud mouth, but he's not a problem off the field or in the locker room as far as i've heard. Love Shamarko Thomas in the mid rounds.

Ebongreen's picture

I agree with most of this straight-up.

(3) Finley for a third would be fine with me, especially if the Packers manage to draft Rice's McDonald. Finley's never been much for blocking, and I'd like to see the Packers get more from their running game. McDonald has every physical tool necessary to run rings around Finley as a blocker as well as to contribute as a receiver.

(4) I don't see Ted and Mike risking a tag on Greg any more than they risked it for Matt Flynn last year. He's been awesome, but they need the cap space. If he signs the tag offer, that money's locked into the cap, isn't it?

(5) Shields' tender will say volumes about whether the Packers see him as a staring corner in the near future. EDS as a second-rounder I can see; losing a CB of Shields' caliber might turn the Packers into "just another nickel" team with a hole at dime and little resilience to injury. I suspect Shields will draw a top tender.

(8) Yep. The Packers can't afford to be the Lions drafting WR after WR when it comes to offensive lineman and outside linebackers. If Ted and the scouts feel there's a can't miss player at one of those positions when it's their turn, okay - but I too would prefer to see the pick spent elsewhere.

I don't see Canty or Cullen Jenkins as necessities, but if they'd like to play for GB and the brain trust sees a fit… sure.

ArodMoney's picture

Just to play Devils advocate. The 49ers have three first round olineman on their starting line and its the best in the league.
Sometimes guys can't stay healthy or have career ending injuries. I don't think you just say you won't draft oline again because you used two picks in the last three years. Especially if Sherrod isn't able to play again.

Jay's picture

The claim is about OT. Not for C.

ArodMoney's picture

Yea I can agree with that. Especially with the Packers drafting at 26. At that position youre going to get the 4th or 5th best tackle whereas you could get the 1st or 2nd best guard/center. If you keep drafting tackles there you're going to miss on quite a few.

8BitEra's picture

Yes, Ebon, once GJ85 were to sign the franchise offer sheet, the money is locked into the cap. That's why it would behoove GB to the non-exclusive franchise tag. That gives other teams the power to negotiate a new deal with GJ85 while franchised to work a potential trade. Or, if they've REALLY lost their minds, give him an offer sheet and give us two 1's if he signs it.

As I said before, worst case, we're stuck with him for another year. How awful...

ArodMoney's picture

The only thing I'd add is to sign a moderate free agent outside linebacker. Erik Walden is awful. You can find backups on most 3-4 teams that can outplay Walden. So sign one of those guys just in case Matthews or Perry get hurt.

ArodMoney's picture

Great list btw Mr. Carriveau

PackerBacker's picture

Most would have stopped at 10, but Brian's blog dial goes up to eleven.

That's why CHTV's site is the best Packers blog out there.

TXCHEESE's picture

For those of you wanting to run Finley out of town, remember how patience with James Jones paid off. Especially after the improvement in the 2nd half of the year. We need to cut bait with Hawk and just let him go, if he doesn't agree to a drastically reduced contract. I love the guy, but he's just another linebacker lately.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

True, but JJ wasn't costing us $8 mill a year while we were waiting for results. Really not an apples-to-apples comparison.

cow42's picture

i will never understand the canty and jenkins love.

they are C-/D+ players.

Stroh's picture

I would say C+/B -.

Stroh's picture

They're good role players that provide roles that aren't being filled at the moment. We would all rather have JJ Watt but he's not a FA and theres not anyone like him in the draft. Who do you propose they sign in FA?

cow42's picture

nobody.
waste of $.

wilson's basically the same as a RJF or canty.
right now i'd take neal over jenkins (scary thought).

you could find a player of equal value in the 4/5th round.

cow42's picture

i think this is where we differ in our assessment of this situation...

You are looking for them to make moves as if they are close to winning a championship.

I don't think they are anywhere close to a championship level team. they are Rodgers and Matthews and a bunch of guys.

I am of the opinion that they need to get rid of the older/mediocre players on the team and start over with potential playmakers with upside.

plugging holes with over-the-hill average/below average players isn't going to change anything.

ArodMoney's picture

Every playoff team is close to a championship...

Stroh's picture

Its been said you need a playmaker on each side of the ball to build a team around to contend. The packers certainly have that... once your in the playoffs a hot usually wins.

Rocky70's picture

If you are truly a GM with a set of balls, all 11 items set forth by BC have to be on the table.

AR's career is half over. Now is the time to take advantage of being a team with an elite QB. That takes boldness & a backbone. I'm not sure TT is the one for the job. He's just not as good as the 'homers' proclaim.

I will be super-pissed if AR's career mirrors BFs because of first, an inept Mike Sherman & now an inept TT.

Franklin Hillside's picture

I. Can't. Stop. Laughing.

Rocky70's picture

Another 'homer' whose g&g glasses get all steamed with the mention of TT ??? Just a question.

packeraaron's picture

It's just funny that you called TT "inept" - watch Jacksonville. Watch Kansas City. Watch Cleveland. THAT is inept. Is every move TT makes the "right" one? Of course not. But to call him "inept" is just funny.

Rocky70's picture

If TT cannot man up GB to another SB with AR as his QB, then he is "inept". That's my choice of words. You have 'zero' to do with the verbage I use.

Funny, you pick 3 dogs (Jacksonville, KC & Cleveland) to compare GB to. Why not NE, SF, Atlanta, Balt., & a few others?

Ya, TT is 'so good' when you compare his results with the also-rans.

packeraaron's picture

OH. Rocky doesn't know what "inept" means. Otherwise, you'd understand WHY I compared "three dogs" to GB. Because YOU used "inept" - so I used INEPT TEAMS as comparison.

You know, to show you how absurd your assertion is.

You're right, NE, SF and Atlanta sure have won a bunch of Super Bowls lately, WAY more than the Packers have. Wait, what's that? They haven't? Huh.

PackerBacker's picture

Not sure where you're going with that Rocky, the Pack compares to, or is better than, all of those teams over the past 3 seasons when you compare SB appearances, playoff appearances, and division titles.

Stroh's picture

Rocky... TT compares favorably w any GM you wanna discuss

Franklin Hillside's picture

Inept is ridiculous.

I would put TT smack dab in the discussion with the GMs of any of those teams you mention. He consistently puts a playoff caliber team on the field. What are you realistically expecting him to do?

Another 'guy' who isn't 'happy' unless he's got something to 'complain' about...and who uses odd quotation 'marks'.

Rocky70's picture

Gosh. More from "Franklin". He posts once a month to renew his undying support of 'homerism'.

Watch how one non-playoff or even worse, a losing season, has the "homers" singing a different tune. (2013 ??)

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

When assessing Finley it is important to think about one thing and one thing only. Does he play like he's going downhill? That is, does he tilt the field for the Packers? I don't believe he does and I don't think you will see much more improvement from him athletically. He's a starting caliber TE for sure but is he worth the 7 million?
The idea that he is cut and has a successful season/career should play no role in this decision. That is managing by fear. There are so many factors that would impact that type of outcome. At the end of the day is Finley a 7 million dollar substantive difference maker? I say no.

KurtMc's picture

Doubt the Packers are that far away from another SB. Except for two awful losses (Colts and last game Viqueens), we were solid. Good pass D, but Zero pressure on QB killed us and made a few games too close for comfort.

Go for Canty and Jenkins. AR12 isn't getting younger and who doubts our present bunch of D line are going to improve.

Look, we finished ranked #5 in the NFL offensively, a run game can only improve that. Aaron will continue to find ways to keep the O going.

Cut that nut case Finley, restructure Hawk or cut, Tag GJ85, get the D line and win another SB

imfubared's picture

Gosh and I don;t see the Pack making the playoffs for the next four years. They have nothing

KurtMc's picture

Ps Crosby, who knows? THAT is another issue...

redlights's picture

Yeah, I see extending Arodg and CMIII; not sure why Raji wouldn't be in there too.

One question that I have is a blog that thought CJ Wilson is Pickett's replacement. I frankly, don't see it, and want the Pack to draft dline heavy and get Pickett's replacement.

Competition for K is a no-brainer. I think Crosby will be okay; but not without a camp leg.

I liked Finley until POC posted. Hard to argue with him, I still think he's needed to beat cover 2.

Stroh's picture

Wilson is a DE and Pickett is a NT only at this point. Wilson is a good run defender, but not good enough to play NT and not nearly as good as PIckett. I do think Raji is still Picketts heir apparent. He was drafted to play NT and I don't think the Packers have moved from that thought. I still contend that the Packers need a prototypical 34 DE. I really think Canty would help the Packers ALOT. Big, tough, physical run stuffing 34 DE. The DL in this draft all seem to be 43 DT or NT, not the 34 DE that the Packers really need. I think Thompson sees that, hence the pursuit of Canty, Francois.

madmanJack's picture

i can't see cutting Finley and getting zero in return. either restructure for more cap friendly 3 year deal or trade him. you'd be creating another need as there is no clear cut replacement. plus i don't see him as being a bad guy in the locker room. just has diarhea of the mouth at times.
also restructure or cut Hawk and gain salary cap space.
it would be nice to get Canty ...don't want Jenkins.
some guys i hope the packers draft in no particular order ....Cyprien,S...Hunt, DE....Shwenke, C...Michael, RB.... Hopkins or Wheaton, WR....Armstead,T...Ogletree, ILB...McDonald, TE.

8BitEra's picture

Finley has to be cut by mid-March if he's going to be cut. What's that have to do with it, you say? It means we have absolutely zero leverage in trade talks and no one's going to take that turd of a contract for a mediocre TE on a one-year rental. I really don't get all this Finley trade talk.

No team is going offer him a 3 year deal and give up a 3rd rd pick for him knowing there's a very good chance he'll be out on his ass in a couple of weeks and they could potentially get him for nothing.

It makes way more sense to sit back and wait right now. Let the Pack keep him at his current contract or let the Pack work on a re-structure and THEN offer up a 3rd if they want him that bad, or wait and land him for nada.

Walty's picture

Man, I'd love to see the Pack take Bacarri Rambo in the 3rd round.

Great article, Brian. I agree on all of these.

Nick Perry's picture

Please let everyone of these things take place. Love numbers 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, and 11. Hell, all of them seem great. If the Packers could get a 3rd rounder for Finley DO IT! I think they should bring in both Canty and Jenkins. Seems Raji does a hell of a lot better playing next to CJ as well. Personally I'd rather see them just get a new kicker. Crosby's been 75% his whole career before last years disaster. Time for Mason to go lose games with 2 seconds left for someone else.

Philip's picture

Cannot trade Finley before march 12. We are past the trade deadline for the 2012 league year. They could certainly cut him though.

bryce's picture

#1 - Not sure why no one has said Nick Barnett's name as a replacement for Hawk. If he's cheaper, it'd be a good deal.

#3 - Not sure why you're so gung ho about drafting a TE, but it wouldn't hurt to clear Finley's cap hit off the books.

#7 - Agree, whole heartedly.

#11 - Draft a kicker, dump Crosby.

Brian Carriveau's picture

I'm gung-ho on drafting a tight end IF the Packers part ways with Finley. Obviously I wouldn't be if they kept him.

Lars's picture

Drafting for perceived positional need at safety in the first two rounds is a sure way to screw up the draft. And, this safety class at the top is not what it's being made out to be---look at the combine results. There isn't a single player worthy of a first round pick---as was harrison Smith last year. The closest you might find with size, speed, athleticism and ability to hit somebody once in awhile is Eric Reed, LSU. Take him in two if you must.

Restructure Hawk is a no-brainer and I think that will get done. The "old tag and trade" is a myth. It obviously wouldn't have worked with Flynn and won't with Jennings. You risk being stuck paying over $10 million to a player you no longer want.

Finley is a tough one, but you either keep him or cut him. Again, this trade stuff is more appropriate for baseball. Sometimes you have to let players go (Jennings, Wells, Jenkins, Kampman) with no other compensation than comp. picks---which is actually a good policy. Either that or trade them before their contract expires and TT doesn't roll that way.

ArodMoney's picture

Harrison Smith's combine numbers were fairly average

Lou's picture

All of the Finley apologists have short memories, the Packers won the Super Bowl with a collection of young basic "special team" types at tight end when Finley was on IR. His next plus game blocking will be his first, he leads all NFL tight ends in drops, and his attitude is still a question mark, forget the praise from McCarthy, he has to say positive things about him if they want anything in return if they move him. So why pay this guy $8M plus next year ?

CSS's picture

The Packers offense re-wrote almost every record in the book when Finley was back in the lineup the following year. My memory is fine. I'm far from an apologist, but I also see the value he brings to the offense.

Rocky70's picture

Glad you cleared that up. Finley was the key to the offensive output of season 2011. --- Most people thought it had to do with AR's MVP season & his 5-deep WR Corp.

Hey, we get it. You adore Finley. But stay real.

CSS's picture

Your retort is dumb beyond words and you still can't process or read to save you life, painfully sad. Troll someone else.

Rocky70's picture

Name calling, vulgarity & automatically resorting to your "troll' defense only continues to paint yourself as just another poster who refuses to accept differing opinions. --- Grow up.

packeraaron's picture

Love how CSS needs to "grow up" when he calls you out on your bullshit - while you display all the maturity of a 13 year old boy saying Ted Thompson "doesn't have the balls" to get the Packers to another Super Bowl.

Pot, kettle, etc...

Stroh's picture

Rocky... Calling Thomspon "inept" and implying he doesn't have the balls or backbone to do what the Packers need doesn't exactly help your defense in this case!

Rocky70's picture

@ Stroh
You need to read more & talk less (learn something). Teens are so annoying.

Stroh's picture

Read it all... You backin up now?

Chad Toporski's picture

This is why I prefer dealing with students all day rather than adults.

Rocky70's picture

@ Nags
Good to see you can pull yourself away from your "B/R Slide-Show Preparations" every once in awhile.

Someday, everyone here will have to agree in order to even be here. How sad.

packeraaron's picture

First of all, LOVE the slideshow shot. Of course the problem with that is I'm the Senior Producer for NFL Video at Bleacher Report - which has absolutely nothing to do with slideshows. But, ya know, HILARIOUS!

As far as "having to agree in order to be here" - there are literally hundreds of people who I've disagreed with on this site who have come back on a regular basis throughout the years because they know it's a place for REASONABLE arguments and disagreements. Constant negative trolls who roll out bullshit arguments like "Ted Thompson doesn't have the balls" are more than welcome to never vist the site again.

Rocky70's picture

@ Nags
Like I said. People have to agree to even be here. You don't remotely encourage diverse opinions. Hell, how many times have you had to apologize to posters for your flippant comments when they happen to disagree with you?? ---- You can fool the kids & maybe yourself, but, not everyone.

There's nothing wrong with saying --- "TT doesn't have the balls". --- That's a personal opinion. It's just not your opinion. ---- Comprende??

packeraaron's picture

<em>You don’t remotely encourage diverse opinions.</em>

That is beyond laughable. You're upset because I don't encourage YOUR opinion.

Constant sarcasm and negativity and going on and on about how horrible the team is and/or going to be - year, after year, after year, despite constant playoff appearances, division titles, etc. well- it gets old.

Your inability to even give an inch that MAYBE Ted Thompson knows what the hell he's doing is the reason I will never stop giving you shit - because it's an absurd notion.

Chad Toporski's picture

Aaron: I don't think you made the word "REASONABLE" big enough in your previous comment... Maybe bold, italics, underline, and size 72 font would get the point across?

G-man's picture

I agree with Redlight. It's time to get Pickett's replacement. We need a 320+ pound D-man to stuff the middle. Our LB's &amp; CB"s look great when we have a D-line that can do the job!

imfubared's picture

Wow, you've got us keeping a lof of losers. Hawk, Findley, Zombo, Walden. They guys got there ass kicked by the Giants, Frisco. TIme to cut the deadwood and start a true rebuilding program with the 9r's being the 500 pound gorilla no one in the NFC is going anywhere for a while. Lets cut some people and move on. Yes it will be painful but 6-10 seasons are also painful.

Stroh's picture

You are fubared!!!

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