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Railbird Central Podcast: Putting the Packers Roster Puzzle Together

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Railbird Central Podcast: Putting the Packers Roster Puzzle Together

Episode 364

On the day the NFL Combine begins in Indianapolis, we talk about news from the previous day regarding the Green Bay Packers, including a comment from wide receiver Randall Cobb that he would love a long-term deal with the team and the reported signing of running back Michael Hill, who was arrested in the offseason. We piece it all together on today's episode.

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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 [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (26) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Another great show Brian,

The only thing that is disappointing is that there is no show Friday.

Brian Carriveau's picture

I can only hope my coverage from the Combine will make up for it, at least in part.

RC Packer Fan's picture

It Better!!!


Clay's picture

Just using this post to throw a topic out there. Read a good article today on Finley's recovery. Pretty amazing. I'm not here to speculate on whether or not he can play again, but I would hate to see another team take the risk on him and have it pay off. Why not slap the transition tag on him? What's the risk? If someone drives his price to high let them have him. If they don't the Pack can match any reasonable offer.

Evan's picture

Interesting idea.

I doubt they'd be comfortable with committing $7+ million (the average of the top 10 TEs) to such a medical risk.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yeah, I kind of like the idea, if they do intend to sign him.
Finley to me is the hardest FA to predict for the Packers. His injury is the biggest question.

If he was able to player and he were to sign it would definitely be a heavy incentive based type of contract.

Hank Scorpio's picture

In 6 years, Finley has played 16 games twice. His career high is 61 catches, 767 yards and 8 TDs. His 5 year average (throwing out his rookie year) is 43 catches, 542 yds, 3.8 TDs.

He's had horrible issues with drops despite having incredible hands to make amazing catches.

The Packers got 86-976-5 for their $15 mil over the last 2 years, which is vastly overpaying for what just about anybody with a pulse could do in 2 seasons in this offense.

I get that he's got talent to make 80-1200-10 look like child's play. But I have a hard time believing he'll finally live up to that talent in year 7 coming off a major neck injury. Put me among the group that would offer him even less this time around....IF he gets clearance from Pat McKenzie.

I don't have a real good alternative. And the Packers surely need help at TE. But I'd rather skew cap allocations to a more solid bet, both medically and production-wise.

Evan's picture

"Put me among the group that would offer him even less this time around."

I don't think there is any way he gets big money from anyone this off-season, if cleared.

Hank Scorpio's picture

Agreed. And that circles us back to the question of whether he'll just take the insurance money.

It's one thing to talk a good game about coming back. It's another when faced with $2-$3 mil for the season that negates $10 mil for moving on to the next chapter in your life

Evan's picture


Though I could easily see Finley believing so strongly in his own health and ability that'd he'd take the $2-3 million deal for a year in hopes of cashing in big next off season.

Stroh's picture

He wasn't ever the featured receiver like Gonzo, Graham and Gronk he have been to put up much higher numbers. He's had to share catches w/ 5 other very good WR. Gonzo mostly had one other good WR his entire career. Gronk hasn't had a WR to take catchers away from him and Graham has become the focal point in NO. Their entire offense is built around him now.

As for the drops that's pretty much ancient history. He has really one season and a part of a 2nd where drops were a legit issue.

That said, coming off a potentially career ending neck injury isn't going to get him top dollar in FA. Gladly welcome him back if cleared at a palatable salary. Guessing the Packers would too... I'm sure they see on game film his value even if his reception totals aren't always indicative.

Then there's this...

"Finley was breaking or avoiding tackles at a rate far more frequent than any other NFL tight end." and this...

"average of seven targets from Rodgers in '13. Finley's previous career-high average in any of his first five NFL seasons was 5.8 targets per game"

So he was doing his part to get open and become a reliable receiver. He just doesn't get the opportunities other TE get cuz he hasn't been THE focal point in GB.

Arlo's picture

More excuses from the Strohman.
Finley would have been the top target if he was really the top target.

What are you? His agent?

Hank Scorpio's picture

I agree that Finley looked like a different player prior to getting hurt this year. After complaining for years that the guy got knocked down by a stiff breeze, believe me I noticed the tackles he broke.

But that raises the question as to why we've not seen that before. I think that answer lies with him, not the rest of the Packer offense.

Clay's picture

Evan it's not the franchise tag, so my understanding is they only have to match the best offer he gets elsewhere. Suppose the Giants offer him one year for 3 million. Pack could match that.

Franchise tag is when you pay the 7 mil, because it requires you to pay the average of top 10 at the position.

Make sense?

Evan's picture

No, there is also a guarantee with the transition tag. It's lower because it's based off a larger pool of players (top 10 vs top

Transition player designation
Team must agree to pay player the cap percentage average of the 10 largest prior-year salaries at his position. The player is permitted to negotiate with any other team and such team is not bound by any compensation in signing a transition player.

Non-exclusive franchise tender
Team must agree to pay player for one year at the percentage against the current salary cap of the five highest salaries over the previous five seasons. Players can negotiate with any club, but if the player signs with another club, the tag tendering team will receive two first-round draft choices as compensation.

Clay's picture

OK thanks for the education Evan.

Well I don't think it's 7 million if I am not mistaken (again), because that is not even the franchise number I hear being thrown around for a guy like Jimmy Graham.

Here's a quote:

According to, the average for the top five wide receivers sits at $11.3 million for the 2014 season. Meanwhile, the average for a top-five tight end is set at $5,594,000.

So if what you are saying is correct, Packers have to match a teams' offer as long as it meets or exceeds the average of top 10 tight ends.

That number will be somewhat lower than $5,594,000.

So that goes back to my point that if no team ponies up big bucks, the Pack could get him at 3 or 4 million.

Personally I would do it.

Evan's picture

Yeah, I did the math myself based on last year's top base salaries. Probably not accurate.

Clay's picture

Once again, I'm speaking of transition tag.

4thand1's picture

I doubt the Packers take much of a gamble with Finley. The thing that worries me about Finley is footsteps. He has had drop issues in the past and the thought of getting creamed over the middle won't make it better. Sign Quarles and draft a TE.

Stroh's picture

This doesn't really indicate a player hearing footsteps does it?

"Finley was breaking or avoiding tackles at a rate far more frequent than any other NFL tight end."

And the drops haven't been an issue for quite awile.

Evan's picture

That was pre devastating neck injury. I think it's a valid minor concern going forward. You can't play hesitant or scared.

Arlo's picture

Cherry pick'in Strohman.
Find a quote from 1 person & run with it.
Get real.

Clay's picture

Here's the article that prompted me to bring up Finley in the first place.

I'll take a 3 Million dollar risk on this guy. After reading this, I can see the guy coming back strong. But then maybe I am just a sucker for a Rocky like story as they depict in aid article. He did show heart last year.

zeke's picture

Oddly, I had the exact opposite reaction. When reading the description of the surgical procedure all I thought was "take the insurance money and walk, while you still can."

Bert's picture

I like Finley but the Packers are not in a good position to take a risk on an oft injured player coming back from neck surgery. We have too many medical risks on the roster as it is. We need to focus on improving the roster with healthy least players who have a history of being healthy.

Hank Scorpio's picture

I couldn't agree more, Bert. If the Packers want to trim down their games missed numbers, it would be a good start to stay away from players with medical concerns.

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