Listening to HC Mike McCarthy speak Friday afternoon at the NFL Scouting Combine, it’s almost impossible to imagine the Packers releasing Finley in an effort to save themselves from the $8.25 million they owe him in 2013. Finley is due a $3 million roster bonus next month, and while general manager Ted Thompson was typically coy – “I expect all of our guys to be on the team,” the GM said when asked about Finley – McCarthy spoke as if it’s a no-brainer that Finley will return.
“I thought Jermichael had probably the tale of two seasons,” McCarthy said, echoing his comments from immediately after the season ended. “I thought in the first half, he was kind of up and down, fought through the shoulder injury -- particularly played in the Houston game, which I didn’t think he had any chance to play in that game. Really in the second half, I thought things started clicking and he looked like his old self. I was very pleased with the way he finished the year.”
Finley caught a franchise tight end-record 61 passes and didn’t drop a single pass over the final six games (including playoffs) after dropping nine passes in his first 12.
Finley seems to have a tantalizing skill set, but drops have been a serious problem throughout his career and he tends to put the blame on some mysterious lack of chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. But over the last seven games, Finley averaged 4.6-57-.14, which equate to TE10 numbers over the course of a full season. HC Mike McCarthy said that Finley was a "different man" after the team's Week 10 bye, so Finley's strong finish may translate to 2013.