Were the decision up to him, Jermichael Finley would have Odell Beckham Jr. trade his burnt orange for green and gold this offseason.
The retired Green Bay Packers tight end tweeted Thursday morning he wants to see his former team “go get” the Cleveland Browns star wide receiver this offseason, responding to a tweeted question from Wisconsin-based 105.7 FM The Fan that asked whether fans would be happy with a trade deal for Beckham that cost the Packers a first-round and mid-round pick.
Based on his all-caps answer, Finley might even be willing to part with more than just two picks.
Adding more weapons for the passing game is a top offseason priority for the Packers after the 2019 season failed to produce a reliable No. 2 option opposite star Davante Adams. While Adams missed four games with a turf toe injury, he still finished with a team-high 997 receiving yards and five touchdowns with another 298 yards and two scoring catches in the team’s two playoff games.
No other Packers player even touched 500 yards with running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams and tight end Jimmy Graham all catching more passes than the rest of the receivers.
While getting a deal done would be tricky, the Packers could house one of the best pass-catching duos in football if they paired Adams with Beckham. He finished with 74 catches for 1,035 yards in his first season with the Browns and figures to be even more dangerous if he goes from a quarterback like Baker Mayfield to a two-time MVP like Aaron Rodgers.
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Packers Could Also Use Another Tight End
Speaking of needs, the Packers could really use a dangerous tight end in their arsenal. A good pass-catching tight end hasn’t roamed the Green Bay roster since Finley’s career came to an abrupt end.
In 70 career games over six seasons, Finley caught 223 passes for 2,785 yards and 20 touchdowns with his best year (767 yards, 8 TDs) coming just after the Packers won their last Super Bowl title. His career likely would have stretched longer if not for the spinal cord injury he suffered during Week 7 of the 2013 season, one that Finley later described openly in a piece for The Players Tribune.
Despite his interest in making a comeback, Finley received no promising offers to return to the NFL and retired in October 2015.
The Packers have yet to find another tight end who brings the same athleticism to their offense, but not for a lack of trying. They signed veteran Jimmy Graham with the hopes that he could replicate some of the star power from earlier stops in his career with New Orleans and Seattle, but two years later the experiment appears to have failed. He might even get cut this offseason with cap relief seeming like more of a benefit than keeping him around for 2020.
There are a number of interesting free agents worth looking at this offseason, including Atlanta’s Austin Hooper and Indianapolis’ Eric Ebron, but the Packers might already have the solution to their tight end woes on their roster with former third-round pick Jace Sternberger.
Sternberger spent the first eight games of his rookie season in 2019 on the injured reserve list and was rarely used during the back half as the team marched to the postseason, making no catches. He saw an increased role, though, during the Packers’ two playoff games with a career-high two catches for 14 yards — including an 8-yard touchdown reception — in the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers.
“He’s going to be a good one,” Packers tight end Marcedes Lewis said of Sternberger via insider Wes Hodkiewicz last week. “He’s nasty and you need that to be in this league. I’m proud of him and where he’s at right now.”