Keeping Finley Was Pack's Only Option

My idea of a great birthday present is a round of golf. For Jermichael Finley, it's a cool three million. That's what the Pack paid him on Tuesday, his 26th birthday, ensuring he would be back in Green Bay, as one of the league's highest paid tight ends.

You can simply connect the dots and figure that since Greg Jennings left for the millions the Vikings offered him, that the Packers had to keep Finley to ensure that Aaron Rodgers still had a full complement of weapons.

But the decision goes deeper. Four months ago I was sure they would cut ties with Finley. He was maddeningly inconsistent on the field. He talked too much to the media. In fact, his agent talked too much to the media.

But then he came on at the end of the season. He showed what a matchup nightmare he could be for defenses, which had to account for him with a corner or a really talented safety. Then you start to think that maybe he'll start to get it. As a father of six (fixed, thanks Christina) and a guy in the back half of his 20s, maybe he'd put it all together and be a top five tight end. We'd hate to see that happen with another team.

The Packers are only committed to Finley for 2013. He's in a contract year now and despite making north of eight million this season, he can be set for life if he plays hard, plays up to his ability and stays injury-free this season.

For all of these reasons, it made sense for the team to keep him around. Now let's hope he plays well enough to make Ted Thompson's decision next year a whole lot tougher.

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