The future of Jermichael Finley is up in the air in chilly Green Bay.
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he was pleased with the progress the 25-year-old tight end made during the final portion of the 2012 season, calling him a "different man." But the Packers might balk at paying Finley's $3 million roster bonus in March when letting him go would save the team $8.25 million in cap space.
Finley told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thursday it's "50/50" he'll be back, odds that might be helped if he were open to a pay reduction.
The Packers face rocky waters ahead on the cap front: 36-year-old safety Charles Woodson is due $9 million in salary; the Packers also have to pony up cash for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive tackle B.J. Raji in the near future. Free-agent wide receiver Greg Jennings will walk unless he's paid handsomely.
"When I'm out and about, people will say, 'Hey, don't drop your keys!'" Finley said. "I get pretty much everything. It became second nature. It doesn't bother me at all. It's just something I had to overlook."
Taunting aside, what McCarthy and his offensive coaching staff saw in 2012 was growth. Finley accounted for just 271 yards over his first nine games -- disappearing from the game plan -- but hauled in 32 receptions for 396 yards and a touchdown over the final seven games. It's that kind of up-and-down play that has clouded Finley's future with the Packers.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.