The Packers' talks with Jermichael Finley’s agent appear to be going nowhere, which makes the tight end a likely target for their franchise tag.
Going into the season, Finley looked like the best candidate for a late-year extension, but he hasn’t had the numbers he and the Packers anticipated coming off a season-ending knee-cartilage injury five weeks into 2010. Finley ranks No. 8 in the NFL among tight ends in receiving yards and No. 17 in receptions, and has had surprising problems with drops, most recently three by subjective count last week against Kansas City.
The Packers appear to be waiting for more production and signs of maturity before making a long-term financial commitment to Finley.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the franchise tag for all positions has gone down substantially because the tender offers are based on the average of the top five paid players at each position over the past five years, and as a percentage of salary cap each year. Under previous CBAs, the tag was based solely on the average of the top five paid players at the position the previous season, with no percentage of cap figured in.
The NFL has provided teams an estimate of the tenders for 2012, and for tight ends it’s about $5.4 million, down from $7.3 million this season. Finley confirmed that if the Packers tag him, his agent probably will file a grievance to upgrade the tag to a wide receiver’s tender, which is estimated at about $9.4 million for next year.