KC Joyner is ESPN.com's resident contrarian, and in this week's column he took a provocative look at whether Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley is worth a premium multi-year contract as he approaches free agency. The column requires an Insider subscription, but I can tell you that Joyner suggests Finley was better in 2009 than he was in 2011 and that the Packers don't gain nearly the amount of yards on their average attempt to Finley as other teams do with their tight ends.
Joyner: "Until Finley shows he is capable of performing at a top level on a consistent basis, or unless a team is in dire need of a tight end (as could be the case with the Giants if they decide to address their tight end issue in free agency rather than through the draft), it would be folly to pay him top dollar in a multi-year deal as a free agent based on what he's done. It would be more of a leap of faith."
I've argued that some of Finley's value lies in the attention he draws away from his teammates, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers has never wavered from his belief in how important Finley is to the Packers' offense. But there are two sides to every story, and Joyner provides us a well-argued counterpoint.
In the end, the debate could be moot. The Packers have little motivation to give Finley an elite-level deal when they can secure his services for 2012 with a relatively affordable $5.5 million franchise tag.