Ecstatic 2 b back w @packers. Best place on earth. Thank u 2 my agents & family @blakebaratz @jhart5266. I appreciate all that u do. #packTuesday, March 26th, is the day Finley's due a $3 million roster bonus, so it's guaranteed he'll be a Packer next season if the team decides to pay him tomorrow. Apparently he's been paid, and it happened for a few reasons.
— Jermichael Finley (@JermichaelF88) March 25, 2013
He played better late in the season. Bob McGinn wrote his article on December 15th with three regular season games to go. After a string of 2 or 3 catch performances, Finley finished the season on a mini-tear with 18 receptions over the final three games.
Mike McCarthy was impressed with Finley's 2012 season. It was "clearly his best year" he said. There's plenty of room to disagree, Finley's not much of a blocker and was missing in action as a big-play threat, but McCarthy was impressed with his route running on "two-yard drag routes." McCarthy said this in late February, after he had re-watched the video for the entire season, so it was fresh in his mind.
Greg Jennings signed with the Vikings. We will never know if the Packers would have released Finley if they could have re-signed Jennings, but that's what might have happened. It was reported that they were choosing between the two players. As I wrote at the time, allowing Jennings and Finley to depart would have left them thin at receiver, so keeping Finley now makes a lot of sense.
I recently read a quote from baseball GM Andy McPhail that there's no such thing as a bad one year contract. Even if Finley doesn't work out next season, the Packers will suffer no salary cap penalty by allowing him to sign elsewhere in free agency. However, the most likely scenario is that Finley does help make them better, especially if they stand him up more as a wide receiver, and there's still reason to believe that the soon to be 26 year old (his birthday is tomorrow) can improve. It's a good move, even if his 2013 salary makes him look more valuable than he actually is on the field.