Packers Should Hang onto Finley 1 More Year Despite $3 Million Bonus

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 16: Jermichael Finley #88 of the Green Bay Packers catches a pass and is tackled by Chris Conte #47 of the Chicago Bearson December 16, 2012 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears 21-13.  (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
David Banks/Getty Images

Things have finally come to a head between the Green Bay Packers and Jermichael Finley.

As Ty Dunne of the Journal-Sentinel points out, Finley is due a $3 million bonus on Tuesday, and that will likely be the tipping point for whether of not Finley continues this season as a Packer.

Expect him to be in green and gold for another season.

Despite the fact that, as Dunne points out, the team is uncomfortable paying him the $8.75 million it owes him this year—expect them to do it anyway.

Yes, you can look at the last several years of his play and wonder how he can be worth that money. Finley has never broken 1,000 yards receiving, never topped eight touchdowns and the next time he throws a good block could be the first time.

However, cutting the tight end won't do all that much for the Packers.

First of all, if they cut him, they get nothing save a roster spot and some cap space. If they keep him, they can always trade him—either around the draft, during preseason or even during the regular season.

If he makes it through the year, they could get some compensation for him if he leaves as a free agent.

Cutting him now nets them very little.

It's not like they need the cap room—they already have a ton for this year.

Also, they've already lost Jennings, and while the receiver group is deep, they can use Finley—especially the way injuries tend to pile up around this team.

The absence of Jennings could free up some targets and opportunity for Finley. There are a lot of things people don't like about Finley, but one thing not in dispute is his athletic ability. He can stretch the field and certainly make some athletic catches.

If the Packers want to utilize him more like a Rob Gronkowski (hopefully minus the shirtless dancing), they could have a dangerous weapon in him.

With the way trends have gone in terms of tight ends, Finley and the Packers could find some new and creative uses for his abilities.

Without a doubt, FInley has a lot to prove this season—not just to the Packers, but to the league at large.

Playing with a chip on his shoulder will get more out of him and give the Packers some options going into the 2013 season. It will also enable them to figure out once and for all what they can do with him.

If they cut him now, they're stuck with either unproven talent from their current backups or a rookie—and there is no guarantee that the best tight end rookie will be on the board at their pick.

They can always draft themselves a good guy and then trade Finley or draft a tight end to perhaps even run out some two tight end sets (considering how much Mike McCarthy loves his spread sets, it makes sense).

To you and me, $3 million is a lot. But when you're the Packers, with a ton of cap space you aren't about to spend on free agents, it's not all that much.

Keeping Finley can net them much, much more.

Check out the B/R NFC North Facebook page. Like us and keep up with everything NFC North on Bleacher Report! Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda