With a $3 million roster bonus coming on Tuesday, Finley's future in Green Bay was in question as Monday's deadline to make a roster decision approached. Finley is owed a base salary of $8.25 million next season and some thought the Packers would either ask him to restructure his deal or release him ahead of the roster bonus deadline. Instead, the Packers decided to keep Finley under his original deal.
Green Bay's decision to retain Finley on his current contract may come as a surprise to some, but the Packers have the salary cap space to carry Finley and may not have wanted to risk losing the 26-year-old tight end. Green Bay already lost wide receiver Greg Jennings on the free agent market and the Packers did not want to lose both Jennings and Finley this offseason, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
According to a report from Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Green Bay discussed a possible restructure with Finley's agent, but after his agent stuck by the original contract, Green Bay decided to keep Finley and pay his roster bonus. Finley will now play out the final year of his contract as the game's second highest-paid tight end, based on salary cap number. According to Rapoport, only Seattle's Zach Miller will count more against the salary cap among tight ends next season.
While his return will cost Green Bay, it will also provide Aaron Rodgers with another weapon. Finley has proven to be a dangerous receiving threat during his career and with Jennings headed to Minnesota, Green Bay couldn't afford to lose another key offensive target. The Packers don't have much in terms of depth behind Finley, making his return even more important.
Finley caught 61 passes for 667 yards last season, but also played a key role as a decoy to draw attention away from other receivers.