Packers torn on Finley; could franchise tag Jennings?

2/25/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Jan 5, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley (88) during the game against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card playoff game at Lambeau Field.  Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY SportsIt's strange to think that the Packers - who have fielded a top-ten passing offense every year since 2004 - could possibly be facing uncertainties with their receiving core, but that is exactly what the Packers are dealing with this offseason.

Tight end Jermichael Finley is set to make about $7 million in 2013, and his cap number is second highest on the team at $8.75 million. With all the tools to become an elite pass-catching tight end, Finley was somewhat disappointing in 2012 after signing a two-year, $14 million deal last February. With the opportunity to save a good deal of money by cutting Finley, and a $3 million roster bonus due to the tight end on March 27th, the Packers are trying to quickly figure out what the best decision is going forward.

The Packers' organization is apparently split on what they should do. General manager Ted Thompson and the Packers' coaching staff reportedly would like to keep Finley - which bodes very well for him - but other "members of the personnel department" want him gone.

Finley is not the only one of Aaron Rodgers' weapons facing an uncertain future. Free agent wide receiver Greg Jennings was considered a near certainty to be wearing a new uniform in 2013, but recent reports suggest otherwise. Ian Rapoport of claims that there is still a chance the Packers slap Jennings with the franchise tag. "Interesting to hear the Packers are still considering franchising Greg Jennings," Rapoport said via Twitter. "Thought that ship had sailed. Apparently not."

Cutting Finley would free up the money required to tag Jennings, which could be part of the motivation to release him.

Jennings, a Pro Bowler in 2010 and 2011, was expected to command a good amount of money on the open market. Of course, if the Packers were to franchise tag him, he would not have the opportunity to test the market. The move is still unexpected, as Jennings has missed 11 of the Packers' past 32 regular season games, and could end up being the team's No. 3 receiver behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. With the wide receiver franchise tag carrying a $10.4 million salary for 2013, the Packers may be better off spending their money elsewhere.

Keep in mind that Aaron Rodgers has two years remaining on his contract, and Clay Matthews has only one year. The Packers would certainly like to get extensions done with their two cornerstone players before they become free agents, and that may factor into the decisions on Finley and Jennings.
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