Jermichael Finley's status for the 2014 season hasn't looked great ever since suffering a severe neck injury back in Week 6 of the 2013 season, a neck injury that required spinal fusion surgery.
Because of that injury, it has likely cause several teams to back off of their interest of Finley. The Seattle Seahawks were the lone team to show early interest in Finley to the point where they flew out the 26-year-old to Washington, but he left without a deal and it had been reported that it could be months before Finley ever signs and because he continues to wait for medical clearance. Up until now, the details behind Finley's health weren't unknown, but Monday's news makes it a lot clearer why he left Seattle without a deal and why he remains unemployed.
Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Post-Gazette has reported that Finley failed his physical when he made his visit with the Seahawks; and by doing so, may have cost him a deal that would have landed the former Packer with the current Super Bowl Champions, but instead, remains a free agent.
"An NFL source said the Seattle Seahawks failed tight end Jermichael Finley on his physical during his recent visit to the team. Finley is barely more than four months removed from neck surgery performed Nov. 14 to fuse his C-3/C-4 vertebrae. He made a free-agent visit to the Seahawks during the first week of free agency so the team’s medical staff could assess his recovery. The source didn’t know whether the Seahawks will bring Finley back for a re-check. Though Finley has said he expected his surgeon to proclaim the bone in the neck fusion healed this month, that doesn’t mean NFL teams will clear him to play football, at least for now."
With spinal fusion surgery, it's tough to say when an actual player might recovery unlike an ACL injury and surgery, which is a little easier to pin a timetable on. For instance, former Houston Texans running back Steve Slaton needed that surgery back in January of 2010 and didn't get medical clearance until July of that year.
The New York Giants were one of as many as five teams with interest in Finley and even had starting safety Antrel Rolle personally attempt to recruit Finley to come and play for the Giants during the week of Super Bowl XLVIII, in which Finley reportedly told Rolle that he would love to come to New Jersey and play for the Giants. One report had the Giants still looking like a potential option and landing spot for Finley is he ever did get medical clearance from the NFL.
However, with the failed physical, you will have to wonder if that will alter the Giants interest in the tight end, as they have yet to make any contact to Finley or his agent since the start of free agency, which began nearly two weeks ago. One of the other Giants free agent interests was the Packers other tight end, Andrew Quarless, but he re-signed with the Packers on a one-year deal, and likely means that Green Bay will move on from Finley in 2014 and go with the younger and for right now, healthier option.
If the Giants do get scared off by Finley's medical status, they could look to going after a tight end in the 2014 NFL Draft this coming May; Eric Ebron from the University of North Carolina has been highly talked about and in Mel Kiper, Jr.'s mock draft, Ebron was picked to go to the Giants with the 12th overall pick in the first round, although with less than two months to go until the draft, it's not clear if the Giants will look at tight end in the first round or look to address another offensive position with their pick.
The Giants need for a tight end became an early one once the team voided out Brandon Myers four-year deal after just one extremely disappointing season with the team. Since then, Myers signed a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One of the other Giants tight ends from last season Bear Pascoe is viewed as another player who may not be back with the team next season, dwindling down their depth at the position from last year, thus showing how much of a need tight end is for the Giants in 2014. Determining the Giants interest in Finley going forward will be more clear once the draft ends and if they walk away from the draft with a tight end or if they keep the position open when they conclude the draft and head into mini-camp.
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