NFL player's big decision: Stay or walk away with millions

NFL: The insurance debate
NFL: The insurance debate

Former Green Bay Packer Jermichael Finley has a quandary—take a $10 million tax-free disability insurance payout or continue playing football.

The tight end suffered a serious spinal injury during a game last year. Now he's recovered and a free agent, and he's looking to play football again—for the right salary.

OptionMonster's Jon Najarian, a "Fast Money" contributor and former pro football player, said Finley's new National Football League contract would have to be at least twice the amount of his tax-free insurance check since about 50 percent of his salary will go to taxes.

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Finley should not only look after his health and future, but the length of his contract and how much of it is guaranteed, Najarian told CNBC's "Power Lunch."

Jermichael Finley No. 88 of the Green Bay Packers stiff arms Terrell Suggs No. 55 of the Baltimore Ravens on October 13, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Getty Images

Finley recently told USA Today he is waiting for an offer to exceed his $10 million policy.

"As long as I wait, you know and I know, guys are going to go down and the money's going to shoot up," Finley told the newspaper. "It's all a waiting game right now."

Just because the football pro has the insurance policy doesn't necessarily mean he'll automatically be able to collect the $10 million. However, former NFL player Jack Brewer, who owns the investing firm The Brewer Group and considers Finley a friend, believes Finley has a good case.

"You have to have a catastrophic, a major injury that really affects your ability to play on later in your career," Brewer said. "In Michael's case … he had a very substantial injury and so in his situation it would be very hard not to compensate him."

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Brewer sells sports disability policies via Lloyds of London. He said it's becoming more common for athletes to purchase the policies, not only to protect themselves from career-ending injuries, but from loss of value on their contracts as well.

As for Finley's future, Brewer's advice is to sit the game out.

"He's a player that can go on and do other things off the football field. He's very intelligent; he has his future head of him. I want to see him play with his kids. Whenever you experience a situation like that, you walk on," Brewer said.

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—By CNBC's Michelle Fox. CNBC's Kerima Greene contributed to this report.