In my second addition of Free Agency Focus, I will present you with another offensive player I think the Chiefs should go after in free agency. That player would be Green Bay Packers Tight End Jermichael Finley.
Jermichael Finley is in his 6th year out of the University Texas. Finley stands at 6’5″, and weighs 247 pounds. Finley was selected by his current team (Green Bay) in the 3rd Round (91st overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Jermichael Finley received scholarship offers from Texas, Arizona, Houston, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech, before ultimately deciding to become a Longhorn. When Finley arrived in Austin, he chose to redshirt his first year at the University of Texas. At the end of his freshmen season, he was named as an honorable mention to the Freshmen All-American team. Finley would go on to start all 13 games during his sophomore season. Highlights of that season included Finley breaking the school record for most receiving yards in a game by a Tight End (149), and earning an honorable mention to the All-Big 12 team. In January of 2008, Finley announced he would forgo his Junior and Senior seasons, and enter the NFL Draft.
During training camp of his rookie season, Finley battled for the No. 2 TE spot, and won the battle, backing up veteran Donald Lee. He would total just six receptions and one touchdown in his rookie campaign. He had a breakout year in 2009, collecting 676 yards and 5 touchdowns, including his first career 100 yard game in a matchup against Minnesota.
After posting two, 100 yard receiving games in his first three games, things were looking very optimistic for Finley. However, he suffered a knee injury against the Redskins. Finley was placed on injured reserve in October, ending his season.
That has seemed to be the story of his career. While he’s healthy, he’s more than capable of producing elite numbers for someone of his position. He collected 767 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2011, but in the 2010 and 2013 seasons, he played just 5 and 6 games respectively.
The last injury he suffered was certainly the most frightening. In a Week 7 game against Cleveland, Finley took a nasty hit, and layed on the ground motionless. Finley was carted off and taken to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a bruised spinal cord. Some people doubted whether he would play again. Finley has since vowed to return to football.
Finley’s contract with Green Bay is expiring, and he will hit the market once free agency begins. Had Finley been able to stay healthy, and been able to perhaps numbers close to his typical numbers, he probably would’ve been set to get a sizeable contract for someone of his position. He still may, but I’m expecting the injuries he’s suffered in his career to drive the price down, which is good news for the Chiefs. John Dorsey isn’t the type of GM to go on a spending spree during the off-season. He’d rather sign complementary players and build through the draft.
So, how does Finley fit into the Chiefs? I think he’d be a great fit. Ever since the departure of future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, the Chiefs really haven’t had a threat at the Tight End position. Tony Moeaki had a solid rookie season, but injuries have unfortunately dimmed the optimism on his career. McGrath and Fasano had their moments this year, but probably aren’t going to put up big numbers. Second round pick last year, Travis Kelce looks like he could be productive, but we’ve still yet to see him suit up and play a snap. As I mentioned earlier, Finley is 6’5″, and weights 247. During the combine he was clocked at running a 4.6 40 yard dash. He posses size that can make it hard for defensive backs to cover him, and the speed that can make it difficult for linebackers to defend him as well.
The Chiefs receiving core as a whole this year was rather underwhelming. Jermichael Finley could certainly change it. If the Chiefs could establish a run game, which shouldn’t be difficult with one Jamaal Charles, Alex Smith hooking up with Jermichael Finley on play action could work out to perfection. Adding a guy like Finley to the offense, would take some pressure of Dwayne Bowe. At times, it seemed like Smith would lock on Bowe, not having a ton of faith in any other receiver.
One thing the Chiefs will have to look into before seriously considering signing Finley is his health. They’ll need to make sure his most recent injury is something he can come back from and produce at the level he did in 2011 and 2012. If they believe he can, they should definitely try to sign him. Finley could one of the missing pieces to the Super Bowl.