Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers: What Signing Tight End Jermichael Finley Would Mean

Oct 13, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley (88) stiff arms Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Recent news has surfaced that the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking at acquiring Jermichael Finley in free agency.

According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Pittsburgh is one of five teams interested in signing the former Packers standout. If they want Finley, they will have to bid for him, something the Steelers don’t usually do.

Would it even be beneficial to bid for the athletic tight end who can’t stay on the field? What would this signing change about the Steelers offense?

Let’s break this down and see if he is really someone the Steelers should snag.

Start by looking at what Finley brings to the table and his impact on the draft. Signing Finley would most likely squash any chance of drafting North Carolina’s Eric Ebron as it would fill the need at the second-string tight end slot.

It could also lessen the need for a receiver as Finley’s 6-foot-5, 248-pound build certainly fits the mold of the big and tall pass catcher that Ben has been clamoring for.

Finley has shown brilliance at times with the Packers when healthy, as he’s produced three productive seasons – none better than his 2011 campaign that saw him finish behind only Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham for most touchdowns by a tight end, an impressive feat indeed. He has a great combination of size and speed that the Steelers could definitely use.

However, he’s shown inconsistencies with catching the ball and he’s an average blocker at best. He’s also coming off a serious injury that required spinal fusion surgery that could lessen his athleticism.

Related: Steelers need a high-quality nose tackle to optimize defensive scheme

With all that said, should the Steelers pick him up?

Well, it depends. If he shows some of that athleticism during workouts and is signed to a reasonable one- or two-year deal then yes. If the bidding war starts reaching above market value then, they should look elsewhere.

I’m OK with rolling the dice with Finley, provided that he is obtained for a reasonable price. However, I’m very concerned with the past injuries and recent surgery not only effecting his durability, but his ability to play football at a high or above-average level.

The Steelers do need to look at a second tight end that can actually contribute and help Ben out, while also taking pressure off Heath Miller, Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Jerricho Cotchery.

Roethlisberger would benefit greatly with a few two-tight end sets. Getting a guy with Finley’s frame and speed would give Ben a whole other dimension in terms of his quarterback play.

Despite all the good that could come out of this signing, it’s still very risky. The Steelers are not an organization that takes risks or overpays, so I’m not sure if they will even go for him seriously.

If they do, that’s great, but they should proceed with caution. Adding another guy who sits on the injured reserve all season is just wasting money that they could be using to fill huge needs.

I’m all for the signing, as long as the Steelers don’t overpay and it’s a cap-friendly contract. There’s too much risk to waste big money on someone who has a 90 percent chance of getting hurt.

I think I speak for everyone when I say the Steelers don’t need another player collecting checks from the IR.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.


Do you agree? Do you think I’m wrong? Maybe you think everything is fine and they should just resign what they have. Whatever the case I want your opinion! Comment and send me feedback about what you think the Steelers should do with the tight end situation. Thanks for reading!

Tags: Jermichael Finley NFL Free Agency Pittsburgh Steelers

  • olddog39

    Instead of taking a chance on an injury prone player, look to the draft. Finely is average blocker at best. The steelers value good blockers. I think they should look at Crockett Gilmore a TE from Colorado State. He is big and an excellent blocker with better than average hands. He probably can be picked mid rounds

    • bk

      He looked good in the Senior Bowl.

    • Josh Svetz

      With all due respect. Crockett Gilmore may be a good player though I don’t know much about him. Here’s the thing. The Steelers need IMMEDIATE impact. Finley will do that for sure, the question is for how long. Sign Finley and then maybe get a mid round tight end, though I think they should focus primarily on defense.
      Thanks for the comment.

  • bk

    Here is what it would mean: Colbert/Tomlin continue to make horrible decisions… Signing a guy with serious health issues? Why do you think GB is taking a pass?

    • Josh Svetz

      Truth is: Greenbay is taking a pass because they are comfortable with Quarless and emerging playmaker Bostick. Yeah, they are concerned with health issues, but that’s not the main reason.
      Now, I am skeptical about the signing as well. That’s why I want him cleared medically first. I think The Steelers could get him on a one or two year deal meaning its a low-risk high reward scenario IF he can be obtained at a reasonable price AND is medically clear.
      thanks for the comment.

  • Rob

    Draft ebron

    • Josh Svetz

      and ignore Nose Tackle, Corner, Safety, Wide Receiver, Tackle, etc? No, get a tight end late if you wish, but another David Paulson isn’t helping anyone.

  • [email protected]

    To me, this is way too big a risk, and is different than DRAFTING a player who was hurt in college or in the run up to the draft (example: CB Aaron Colvin who I think the Steelers should definitely consider in the bottom half of the draft perhaps with their rd5 comp pick). I think if they delve into FA, they need to do so on the other side of the ball – I like the entire cut Ike, land Verner approach that’s been in the blogs. THAT would be a relatively low risk, high value FA move for us considering where we are. AND, if we were able to land Verner (sound as if he could be had for the money we would save on Ike), we could look at drafting Ebron at 15!

    • Josh Svetz

      The only way I’m even considering drafting Ebron is if they sign Verner and a quality Nose Tackle. Verner is considered the best cornerback by some in free agency. Everyone seems to think its a done deal. We are talking about the Steelers, they don’t make big free agent moves. Even if they cut Taylor that doesn’t mean all of the sudden Verner will sign. If they sign Verner, awesome, but I’m not getting my hopes up. Colvin is definitely interesting late as before the injury he was considered one of the best cornerbacks in the draft. I do think there are some other corners late that are interesting. Also if Finley can be grabbed at a reasonable price, he’s not nearly as big of risk. The ceiling for Finley is a top 5-10 tight end, the floor is IR. I think its an opportunity worth looking at.
      Thanks for the comment.

      • [email protected]

        Josh, how about if they cut Taylor AND WOODLEY as was just announced? :-) Now we’re talking – I’m telling you, this is the year that they clean house (and Polamalu and Miller definitely have some gas left in the tank, so don’t say that they didn’t cut those two and therefore are not serious about cleaning house!). I definitely know we don’t typically do the big splashy FA thing, but I think Verner could be had given these two cuts, plus we would have $s to sign our draft class. Would really shore up the back end and suddenly with Shamarko Thomas starting we go from 4 30+ DBs to 3 under 30 DBs plus Troy. THAT’S a bigtime FA move for us, and extremely doable!

        • disqus_UxcsDwRD2u

          Ummm, the didn’t cut Ike, just woodley, where the heck do you get your news from?????