Pewter Plank Mailbag: Is Jermichael Finley a Fit for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
By Leo Howell
Oct 20, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley (88) catches a pass to score a touchdown during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter 2014 with a boatload of needs on offense, as the unit finished dead last in the league last season at generating yards from scrimmage. Jason Licht and his team will almost certainly look to add more weapons for Jeff Tedford’s offense, and a position that may be addressed is tight end.
Tim Wright had a great rookie season, but the converted wide receiver isn’t locked in as the Buccaneers’ tight end number one this coming season. His experience as a receiver means he’d still be valuable as a second tight end playing off of the line of scrimmage and creating mismatches over the middle of the field.
So this edition of the mailbag focuses on possibly finding a number one tight end to compliment Wright.
Finley was of course most recently with the Green Bay Packers, but a series of head and neck injuries left his future in the NFL in doubt. However, Pro Football Talk is reporting that medical clearance could come soon for Finley, who will be a free agent this offseason.
So what would Finley bring to the team as a tight end? At 6’5″ tall, Finley is an excellent red zone target, and he’s totaled 20 touchdowns in his career, which has only featured 48 starts. But his production has been inconsistent, at best.
Finley posted five touchdowns in his second season, and eight in his fourth season, and has failed to eclipse three scores in any of his other years in the NFL. In other words, 65% of his career scores came in two of his six seasons.
He’s also lacking as a blocker, according to his Pro Football Focus grades over the past few years. A receiving tight end certainly doesn’t need to be strong as a blocker, but if the Buccaneers want to upgrade at tight end, they’ll need to find someone who brings more to the table than Tim Wright.
The Bucs already have two red zone targets in Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson, so Finley’s big frame doesn’t really add anything new to the equation on offense.
Finley is a more well-known, established player than Tim Wright, but Wright has a youth advantage and a health advantage over Finley. So unless the price was very attractive for Finley’s services, I would probably steer clear, and look to add a better blocking tight end to compliment Wright’s receiving skillset, or a dynamic athlete at the position available in this year’s draft.