The connections were almost countless.
The New York Giants were in the market for a play-making tight end. The Green Bay Packers weren't expected to re-sign Jermichael Finley. New York hired Ben McAdoo as its offensive coordinator. McAdoo was Green Bay's tight end coach for six years where in 2011 Finley caught 55 passes for 767 yards and eight touchdowns.
Then there was Antrel Rolle, who spent Super Bowl weekend recruiting. The defensive captain said at the Thurman Munson awards dinner, "(Finley) said he'd love to be a part of the Giants ... I said I would love for him to be a part of the Giants."
But now two weeks into free agency, the connections between Finley and the Giants have yet to materialize. Reports have surfaced that the tight end is still two months away from signing with a team after a neck injury nearly ended his career, and there has been no indication that New York had any interest to begin with.
This offseason was supposed to be Finley's chance to strike it big on the open market, but that hope came to an abrupt halt near the midway point of last season.
In Week 7 vs. the Cleveland Browns, Finley lined up split wide on a second-and-eight. Aaron Rodgers dropped back, immediately turned to the tight end and fired a pass over the middle. Finley made the grab and picked up a first down before being hit by safety Tashaun Gibson. The then 26-year-old lay motionless on the field before being carted off and rushed to the hospital.
Finley suffered a bruise on his spinal chord. Questions began to be asked if he'd ever play again.
When healthy, Finley is a game-breaking, Pro Bowl caliber option. The tight end has size (6-foot-5, 247 pounds), speed (4.67 second 40-yard dash), and is a tremendous route runner. When healthy.
Finley reportedly was close to an agreement with the Seattle Seahawks last week, but Matt Franciscovich of SportsInjuryAlert.com reported it fell through when Finley couldn't receive medical clearance for full contact. Seattle has since resigned Anthony McCoy and worked out a contract restructure with Zach Miller. The two corresponding moves essentially remove the team from the need of Finley's services.
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has reported that Finley will need to wait an additional two months before he can hope to gain medical clearance to return to football.
The Giants are not strangers to taking on project players rebounding from serious injures (Shawn Andrews, Terrell Thomas) and if the price is right, could be the perfect home for Finley. As it stands right now, New York has just Adrien Robinson, Larry Donnell and Daniel Fells on the roster. Adding a player like Finley, along with a drafted tight end, gives potential at the position, but Jerry Reese will not be willing to pay Finley his present asking price.
If Finley's price drops, don't be surprised to see the Giants reach and attempt to get something done.