There have been differing reports as to when Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley is due his $3 million roster bonus, but according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, it's due tomorrow, Tuesday March 26...
@jasonjwilde If he's on there roster by tomorrow, the 15th day, he gets his bonus. Only way he isn't is if he's traded or cut… today.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 25, 2013
When Rapoport references "the 15th day," he means the 15th day of the new league year that began on March 12, which you might remember was the start of free agency.
In essence, Jermichael Finley's future with the Packers––at least for the 2013––will be determined by the end of the day. If the Packers don't take any action and agree to pay his $3 million bonus, you can be assured that they'll be making a commitment to him for the upcoming season. They wouldn't pay him millions of dollars and then cut or trade him.
There's a slim chance that the Packers could either cut or trade Finley by the end of the day to avoid paying his bonus, but that seems to be an unlikely scenario. After losing both Greg Jennings and Tom Crabtree to free agency, the Packers probably don't want to lose another one of Aaron Rodgers' targets all in the same offseason.
Finley's long-term future in Green Bay remains cloudy, however. His current contract has only one year remaining on it, and there has been no indication that the Packers have been working on a long-term extension.
It's possible that the Packers could avoid paying Finley his $3 million bonus if both sides agreed to a restructured contract extension by the end of the day, but that also appears to be an unlikely outcome.
Finley might agree to a contract worth less money per year on average if it included more years and more guaranteed money over the long haul, but he and his agent know if they can just wait one more year, he can test the free agent market once again.
There's no shortage of criticism when it comes to Finley from his drops on the football field to his outspoken nature off of it. But he also posted the best season ever for a Packers tight end in which he had 61 receptions for 667 yards.
Detractors will point out that despite having the most receptions for a tight end in franchise history, Finley's 61 receptions only ranked ninth in the NFL among players at his position in 2012.
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