Fair enough. Keller didn't perform admirably last year, but he has been a more reliable receiver than Finley in the years before that.
I think that, if you sign someone in free agency, there's more than enough time to get familiar with a system. Players change teams in FA all the time and just contnue producing the next year. If a guy can join the Patriots offense as a WR and completely grasp what Josh McDaniels wants to do in one off-season, I reckon a TE could get our offense figured out and produce.
Maybe you can't build up a chemistry between the QB and receiver that fast, but that's not something I've seen progressing that well between Finley and Rodgers, either.
As for the potential part... The man has been with our team since 2008. He can't get over his problems with drops, maturity and consistency. I was a huge fan of his when he joined us and, for a reasonable price, I'd still give him a chance, but at $8 million, I just don't like the investment.
Right now, I'd rather have a reliable option who doesn't have that much potential. A guy like Martellus Bennett would've been a nice, all-round TE, who's averaging $5 million a year. Not a difference maker, but a good, solid player. But maybe that's more of a personel preference than one you can blame Finley for.
That saves you "just" $3 million, but that is money you could've invested in a player like Adrian Wilson, Bernard Pollard, Antwan Barnes, Kenny Phillips, Leon Washington, Chris Canty etc.
Yes, that's easy to say in hindsight, but the combined contribution of a more afforable TE, who can't be that big of a drop-off from Finley, with one of those players would've helped us more than just Finley alone.
Of course, we still have some money free under our cap, so cutting Finley isn't something we have to do, but even if we just saved up that $3 million, I feel like rolling that over to next year or using it to restructure Matthews and front-load his contract some more would've helped us more than holding on to Jermike.
Lastly, I'll leave you with this. Blegh.Most overvalued tight ends in 2012: