The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported earlier on Wednesday that the Packers signed their powerhouse tight end to a two-year deal. Finley’s deal will reportedly pay out $14-15 million, and much of it is being front-loaded. On a grand scale, it’s a huge win for Finley, who will next hit free agency at 26 years old.
Finley finished the season with 55 receptions (the second time in three years that he’s amassed 55 receptions) for 767 yards and eight touchdowns.
The move gives the Packers great flexibility this offseason as they address other free agents. The big question facing Green Bay is how they’ll address backup quarterback Matt Flynn. Is he part of a trade ahead of the NFL Draft? Will they slap a tag on him? Obviously, the quarterback situation is much different than it was in 2005, when the Packers had to face the inevitable end of the Brett Favre era.
Finley’s deal is significant on another level, as he stands as one of the first “new era” tight ends to get paid. Per Pro Football Focus , Finley lined up as a wide receiver over 46% of the time in 2011. As such, his contract sets up the “Flex” scale for the franchise tagging world, and you can bet that the Gronkowski camp took careful notes.