- Kevin Seifert, NFL Nation
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So we brought back our old "Have at It" post to help us pass the time -- constructively or absurdly, depending upon your point of view -- during a quiet time in the NFL schedule. And on the topic of Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley and his mythical trade availability, you had plenty to say.
As you recall, I asked for your take on a suggestion originally made by former Packers safety LeRoy Butler: In light of the New England Patriots' personnel crunch at tight end and in the passing game overall, should the Packers offer Finley in a trade for a second-round draft choice?
Larry of Oak Lawn, Ill., offered the take I figured the majority of you would have: "Trading Finley now would be a mistake. The Super Bowl window can close very quickly and when you are going into a season with solid championship aspirations, you do not trade a very talented TE."
Added Kjames of Minneapolis: "Pack should keep Finley. An extra second-round pick would be nice, but Finley showed enough in second half of season last year to show he is worth keeping at least another year. He is still a young guy and still maturing -- mentally. Timing is an issue too. Would Pack want to make all the adjustments five weeks before camp? I think the risk/reward falls on the side of keeping him for another year rather than doing the trade."
With that said, I was surprised at how many of you backed up Butler.
Justin of Rochester, Minn., wrote: "I'm about as big of a Finley supporter as they come, but given his contract status and his up-and-down play over the years, if they offer you something that good, you take it and RUN! … That said, if there's one team disciplined enough not to overreact like that to an immediate crisis at a position it's the Patriots."
Andy of Madison, Wis., refers to himself as the "self-proclaimed president of the Jermicheal Finley fan club" but added: "if the Patriots called and offered a second-round pick I would jump on it. I believe it would save the Packers another $5 million on the cap. That $5 million can sign James Jones/Jordy [Nelson]/[Randall] Cobb are all up for new contracts within the next two years. And there is almost no way the Packers resign Finley. For 1 year of Finley the Patriots give us a 2nd rounder. I would do it without thinking twice."
(The Packers would save $4.45 million on the cap if they traded Finley.)
Several of you thought that the Packers' presumed re-commitment to the running game reduces the need for having a top-flight pass-catching tight end. "They need to keep some blocking tight ends," wrote David of Pachuca, Mexico.
My take? I wouldn't do it. If the idea is to catch the Patriots in a desperate situation, a second-round pick -- likely near the end of the round -- feels too much like a compromise. A first-round pick would be more difficult to turn down and would represent the kind of return you would need to trade a player who is otherwise squarely in your 2013 plans.
I'm really not sure if the Packers plan to re-sign Finley next season, but you can rest assured he would give them a head start on a pretty nice compensatory pick in 2015 if he departs. Is the difference between a low second-round draft pick in 2014 and a low third- or fourth-round in 2015 worth parting ways with such a key player at a time when the Packers have annual Super Bowl aspirations? I don't think so. But it was fun discussing it nonetheless.