After all the debate on his franchise tag status, the Packers and TE Jermichael Finley have eschewed the whole dilemma by agreeing terms on a two-year contract.
Per league sources, Finley, who certainly would have been the top free agent TE on the market had he not been retained, signed a deal worth slightly under $15M. Finley is coming off a somewhat unimpressive year, but has massive talent and is expected to curb his problems with dropped passes.
This early signing not only frees up the franchise tag for the Packers, but will also certainly have ramifications that are felt in both the free agent market and draft. While it was clear that the Packers wished to retain Finley, they may have opted not to tag him had he earned a tag for the value of a WR.
As with all big signings this off-season, we’ll soon follow up with a post assessing the league-wide impact of this early big signing. For now, so much is clear: the clear-cut #1 free agent TE will not be available in 2012.