GREEN BAY, Wis. — Tight end Jermichael Finley will remain with the Green Bay Packers for the 2013 season.
Finley was due to receive a $3 million roster bonus if still on the team by the end of Monday’s NFL business hours. After the deadline passed, Finley announced on his Twitter account that he will remain in Green Bay for next season.
“Ecstatic 2 b back w the Packers,” Finley wrote. “Best place on earth.”
Finley previously commented that he wasn’t willing to take a pay cut, but he won’t have to do that. He will play out the final year of his current contract for $8.25 million and be a free agent next offseason. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract extension with Green Bay in February 2012.
“It’s a great opportunity to stay with a great organization and a great quarterback to move forward and win more championships,” Finley told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I’m ready to take my game to another level. Every player wants to achieve as much as possible. In my case, I want to get back to what I know and that’s playing great football.”
Finley, who turned 26 on Tuesday, broke the Packers’ franchise record for catches by a tight end last season with 61 receptions. His 667 yards and two touchdowns in 2012 were down from his production in 2011 (767 yards, eight touchdowns).
Often outspoken, Finley has previously mentioned on several occasions that his chemistry with quarterback Aaron Rodgers needs to improve. Late last season, though, Finley and Rodgers were clicking as the 6-foot-5, 247-pound tight end caught 18 passes for 203 yards in the final three regular-season games.
The change in Finley’s on-field play and off-field attitude were noticeable.
“I really felt Jermichael Finley was a different man, a different player from the bye week on,” coach Mike McCarthy said at the end of the season. “I feel very good about the way he finished the year.”
With wide receiver Greg Jennings signing with the Minnesota Vikings, there will be more opportunities in the passing game for Finley. As someone who would like to see his statistics on the level of New England’s Rob Gronkowski and New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham, Finley should benefit from the additional targets from Rodgers.
“I love the expectations that I have to meet this year,” Finley told the Journal Sentinel. “I have to make it happen. It’s all about letting my play speak. It’s all about letting my ability do its job. That’s what I’m going to do this year and I guarantee I’ll be relaxed and be the player I know I can be.”