If the New York Giants‘ front office listens to Antrel Rolle, they will be making a mistake that they cannot recover from.
Rolle went to the airwaves last week to discuss his efforts to recruit free agent tight end Jermichael Finley. Afterwards, Finley’s agent told the media that he would have interest in signing with the Giants only if he can’t sign a deal with the Green Bay Packers. All signs point to the Packers letting him sign elsewhere, even though they have an estimated $15 million more in cap space than the Giants do.
This should come as no surprise to anyone, because Finley is one of the worst investments that any team can make in the 2014 free agency.
According to Over The Cap, Finley made a $4.45 million base salary in 2013 and counted for $8.75 million against the Packers’ salary cap. It was the final year of a two-year, $15 million contract that he signed in 2012. If Finley does get anywhere close to that kind of annual salary or any multi-year contract with a large sum of money guaranteed, it can’t be from the Giants. Agreeing to either of those two scenarios would make things a lot harder for a team that is looking to end a two-year playoffs drought.
Finley does not deserve of anything more than a one-year, prove-it type of deal similar to the one that Martellus Bennett signed with the Giants before the 2012 season. Bennett signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Giants. He went on to have a great season and parlayed that into a four-year, $20.4 million contract with the Chicago Bears. This is a best-case scenario for Finley.
The problem is, Finley comes from the school of Kanye West where his idea of his own self-value is inflated compared to everyone else’s view. This kind of contract doesn’t excite Finley, and this type of contract doesn’t seem fair to Finley. Remind me again why the Giants should sign this player?
In the end, when Finley does finally realize that this is the only deal that the market will offer him, he might then come back to the Giants. However, even after his price tag drops that low, he is still not a good investment for the Giants. Investing money into veterans with injury-ridden pasts is exactly how the Giants entered the sad state of affairs that we all know as the 2013 season. They signed Chris Snee and David Baas to multi-year contracts and then pushed back the salary cap hits one too many times.
Salary cap allocation is the most fundamental and important aspect of creating a winning roster. Last season, the Giants allocated just fewer than 11 percent of their salary cap to Snee and Baas combined. I believe that allocating even five percent of their 2014 salary cap to a Finley would be a major step in the wrong direction.
Remember, Finley is attempting a comeback from spinal fusion surgery on his neck. Neck injuries are always tricky and at one point, it looked like his career would be in doubt. It doesn’t make sense to offer any money to a player coming off such a serious injury so recently.
Putting the injury aside, Finley’s play on the field doesn’t warrant a big contract either. Every Giants fan remembers some of his key drops when facing the Giants, including in the playoffs. He has questionable hands and focus, and is generally unwilling to make tough catches in traffic.
The Giants should have somewhere between $12-15 million to spend in free agency, and it needs to be allocated to other positions and other players. In their past two Super Bowl victories, the Giants have started Jake Ballard and Kevin Boss at tight end. Boss was drafted in the fifth-round and Ballard was signed as an undrafted free agent.
Finley is simply not a smart investment, and the Giants don’t have much room to make unwise investments if they want to make another run at a championship.
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