If Dustin Keller signs with the packers, we will anoint him as “Toolbox Too”. Get it?….like Teenwolf Too? Get It? it’s funny….like a big foam cowboy hat. Funny.
It is obvious that Jermichael Finley does not fit the “Packer People” tune that Mike McCarthy sings. With the departure of Donald Driver and impending departure of Greg Jennings, Packer nation is feeling the need, or even “the squeeze” that makes it seem a must to keep perceived weapons like J-Fin. Put these two items together and it makes for an interesting debate on the creator of the “Year of the Take Over” (YOTTO). (A.D.D. side note: the year of the take over has been going on for three years)
NFL free agency starts today, and the list of quality tight ends does exist. It is very possible to replace Finley for a cheaper price tag if there is a need to free up 2013 dollars. Count me in as one of the folks that has soured on Finley on performance alone, so here is the list of top replacements for Finley:
1. Dustin Keller – Keller may be had for a cheaper than market price since he played with Mark Sanchez for the majority of his career. Keller is a talent at the position and could have an all-pro career with a QB like Aaron Rodgers. A signing like this would be reminiscent of the Charles Woodson signing years ago. First round talent wasted in an organization going nowhere, then uncharacteristically signed by Ted Thompson to create a legacy-type career. I’m way ahead of myself here, so go ahead and consider me the president of the Dustin Keller fan club.
2. Fred Davis – Drugs and Injuries can be a scary combination…..but if the Packers can be certain that Davis is healed from an achilles injury and that he will stay away from the weed, he could be a play maker for the team. Davis is probably the riskiest of substitutes but might be worth the gamble….and might come at a below market rate.
3. Jared Cook – Like Davis, Cook struggled with poor QB play for the majority of his career. I was floored when Tennessee did not franchise tag a talent like Cook. All signs point to him re-signing with Tennessee. If the price is not out of this world, and the Packers want to invest in the position, like Keller, he could have an all pro career with a top tier QB throwing him the ball.
4. Martellus Bennett – Bennett fell out of favor in Dallas, but revived his career and showed his true talents last year in New York. With the free agent tight end talent pool pretty deep, I don’t expect Bennett to break the bank. The Giants have already stated that they will not get into a bidding war over Bennett and I could see talent exceeding dollars paid under the right circumstance.
The argument against all of this is that the Finley commitment ends after this season, so the money may be high, but the risk is low with Yotto Mike. It is also understood that Ted Thompson is not a free-agent kind of guy. The Packers are in a good spot at the position with either keeping Finley or spending the money ($8.25 million in 2013) elsewhere. Either way, there seems to be options for sweaty uncle Teddy Thompson.