Green Bay Packers Need Greg Jennings

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Greg Jennings
While many feel that Jennings is all but out of Green Bay, he would still be a valuable and vital piece of Packers offense

Recently on Twitter, free agent wide receiver Greg Jennings posted a picture of his empty locker with the following note:

“My #packers locker is empty. Reply w/ a caption letting me know if you want it to stay that way or not! #freeagentlife

I am one who thinks the Green Bay Packers need to do what they can to keep Jennings and this post was actually a bit encouraging.  It seems as though Jennings is doing the “litmus test” to see how Packer nation feels about the possibility of him leaving.  I responded in support of his staying as did many others.

I realize that the large majority feel that Jennings is headed out of Green Bay when free agency starts in March.  I have heard all of the stats about how much he could command on the open market and how the Packers have several other vital pieces of their team that are up for free agency soon.  Losing good players is just part of the business of football.

Still, I saw a lot of value in what Jennings brought to the team after he returned from injury in early December this past season.  Jennings caught 24 passes and had three touchdowns.  He had another six catches and a touchdown in last week’s divisional playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.  Not gaudy numbers by any means, but many of Jennings’ catches were made because he found a way to get open.

Since his rookie year in 2006, Jennings has been one of the Packers top pass-catching threats.  His ability to run after the catch was something that we saw showcased in the week 17 game against the Minnesota Vikings during a 45 yard pickup.  He can still get open and adds a dimension to an offense that defenses can’t afford to ignore.  He’s a very smart receiver who can read coverage and find a soft spot.  He has good hands and can run well with the ball in hand.

Jennings turns 30 this coming September.  No doubt, that is the typical age where a receiver starts to decline in speed and production, minus a few exceptions.  Yes, I remember that Jennings missed significant time this season with his core injury and has been dinged up in the past.  But this is a man who loves football, meshes well with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and makes the offense better.

There’s the key:  he makes the Packers offense better.  This team has to find a way to keep him.  Here is a quick look at last year’s free agent wide receivers and their base salaries in 2012:

Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay       $11 million

Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City          $9.5 million (franchise tender)

Wes Welker, New England           $9.5 million

Brandon Marshall, Chicago          $9.3 million

Santonio Holmes, NY Jets            $7.75 million

Sidney Rice, Seattle                      $7 million

Roddy White, Atlanta                    $5.5 million

Of these receivers, White, Welker and Jackson are 30 or older.  Jackson topped last year’s list at $11 million.  So the question with regards to Jennings’ market value is which category do teams in need place him?  Do I think Jennings is worth $11 million to the Packers?  No way.  I do see him as more comparable to Roddy White in Atlanta.  If the Packers can keep Jennings for just under $5 million on a two year deal, they should.

My gut tells me that Jennings will get better money thrown his way and the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings have been mentioned as strong potential suitors.

This takes me back to my initial thought.  I realize that there is a lot of time left and many things can change.  But it appears that Jennings has not yet ruled out a return to Green Bay.  Now the Packers would have to do their part and make him a reasonable offer.  We saw them let Cullen Jenkins go free after 2010 and Matt Flynn last season.  It’s very possible they have already decided to let Jennings go.

I think it would be a mistake that would stifle the Packers’ offense more than many think.  They could address this in the draft and be OK, but my vote is for Greg Jennings to be in Green & Gold next season.

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.com

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  • Oppy

    They’re not getting him unless every other team in the league decides he’s too injury prone to pay him a top 5-8 WR salary.

    Guess what? Someone will pay him a top 5-8 WR salary.

    Thanks, Greg, it’s been a great ride. Continued success with your new team.

    • AlMatthews

      Could not agree more.

      If the Pack did not so desperately need help at DLine, LB, Safety, and RB (OL?), I would be all for resigning GJ.

      Need to spend our $ on positions other than WR.

      • James david Marsh

        What money are you talking about? GB does not have any for FA.

        • White92

          They should have some. They certainly won’t pay Hawk, Woodson, and Driver what they are due. They may even decide to cut ties with Finley. This will save a substantial amount of money. Heck I thisnk they could even cut Crosby or negotiate his contract lower.

  • http://www.HawgNSonsTV.Com HawgNSonsTV

    100% agree

    • Savage57

      My guess is GJ’s number to stay with the Pack is $8MM per year, 3 year min. He’s also interested in a career in film and TV so a Cali team like the Chargers might have some appeal. In any case, makes one wish the Packers might have been able hold onto one of the two receivers they paid last year to keep from signing with other teams(Gurley and the other guy whose name escapes me)

      • Steveo

        Borel

  • frozentundra91

    I definitely agree with Jason that he’s just not worth around 11 million dollars to the Packers. To somebody else he could potentially be. Hopefully he doesn’t go to Minnesota but honestly, I will not be surprised. Good luck Greg, wherever you go. Believe in your smellf.

  • cdk4205

    Packers will offer him around $16 million for three years.

    My sense is ne may take it – likes the atmosphere in Green Bay.

    • AlMatthews

      So GJ should take $2M less than Hawk (who is due $18M the next 3 seasons) to stay in Green Bay? Seriously?

      Maybe if we had not invested so much $ in the likes of AJ, Tramon, and a few others we could afford GJ, but we simply can’t right now.

      • PatMc

        GB should trade Hawk to Cinci or Miami for a 2nd or 3rd round pick. They would eat that salary cap (at least Miami).

        With Bishop coming back we might not need Hawk in the middle. Jones did a good job and might slide over nicely to hawks spot.

        • AlMatthews

          With his big contract and complete inability to make impact plays, I doubt any competent GM would trade a 7th rounder for AJ.

          However, he did go to OSU so maybe the Bungles can revert to form and send us a 6th rounder to take his contract off our hands.

          • mark gast

            I wouldn’t be surprised if Hawk is cut or renegotiates his contract down. Hopefully they will find a way to keep Jennings but I agree with everyone who said the need to add to both the O and D lines first and foremost.

          • skyler

            Hawk is not worth $2 million per year. If Bishop and DJ Smith were not hurt, Hawk would not be starting. No one will want a $7 million contract. So no one will trade for him. He will be cut. Cut Tramon as well. Now you will have enough to pay for a classy and hard working Greg Jennings.

        • Bob W.

          Totally agree need to end the hawk project anyway you can with bishop coming back.We do tend to over pay for mediocre talent at times. AR is going to need more money soon and I would hope he will take a little less to stay in GB, but it is a business. So many holes to fill and very little money.The draft can’t be your fix-all. Free agents are needed to a point

    • Oppy

      Jennings has stated in recent interviews that it’s a business and at the end of the day he’ll do whats in the best interests of providing for his family. That doesn’t bode well for taking a home team-friendly contract.

      Rodgers is a guy I could see taking less than he knows he’s worth- he already knows he’ll probably have to if he wants to stay in Green Bay- but he also realizes the more money he takes, the less money the Packers have to build a winner around him… And any which way he knows he’s making an obscene amount of money compared to the average joe- any way you slice it, he’s going to be making ten times more than most people make in a lifetime in one year. His focus will be on winning, period.

  • Stroh

    If he’s willing to sign for something between Marshall and Holmes I could see keeping him. If he wants anymore than that he’s too expensive. He’s gonna get more than that on the open market tho. Even at 8M per its difficult to keep a 30 yr old Jennings over a 25 yr old Finley. Both are players that have to be accounted for and the way Finley started playing after he started meeting w/ Rodgers before games, I would say keep the younger player w/ more upside over the older established pro. Guessing thats how Thompson sees it too, given his track record.

    CDK you think Jennings is gonna take a pay cut to stay in GB? Thats what your 3 yr 16M amounts too for Jennings!

    • Bird Dog Uni

      LMAO Stroh… Still on the 88 kick? I don’t expect either one of them on the Roster. I don’t see TT paying that bonus to Finley… He doesn’t deserve it and he dang sure didn’t earn it. Guess we’ll know in March though… Hoping TT can sucker someone into trading for him! :)

  • PatMc

    I don’t know about the money but you can bet Miami will offer 9 or 10 million a year for next 3 years. They need his leadership, skills and mentoring for their young receivers (and young QB).

    Miami will also spend a higher draft pick on a WR.

    GB can’t match it (at least we are told that). Don’t insult the man just move on. Time to develop the new talent at WR.

    • GV889

      My guess is Miami will make an attempt to sign 85. They are in need for a playmaker like him and I’am sure their coach Joe Philben who was the Packers OC will be hoping a deal is struck.

  • Bubbaloo

    1.) If the Packers can keep Jennings for just under $5 million on a two year deal, they should.
    *********************************
    If you think Jennings would accept that, I have some Ocean Front property in Nebraska I’d damned near give you. only $2.5M!
    ———————————-
    2.)Now the Packers would have to do their part and make him a reasonable offer. We saw them let Cullen Jenkins go free after 2010 and Matt Flynn last season.
    **********************************
    Jenkins was one thing, but paying Flynn $10M per year to stay as a back-up would have been asinine, and that’s what TT is not!!

    • http://allgbp.com/category/authors/jason-perone/ Jason Perone

      That’s an awful lot of words you’re putting in my mouth there. No one in their right mind thinks Flynn was getting $10 million. You’re assuming the only solution was to tag him. It wasn’t. Some vaue in return for him would have been nice. To me, Thompson was asinine for not doing so.

  • Lucas

    TT has his number for GJ. He also has a reputation for being fair with players. It’s entirely possible that TT knows the amount will be more than the team is willing to spend. At the same time, if TT thinks it’s possible, he’ll give GJ a reasonable offer.

    • AlMatthews

      Tell me more about TT’s reputation for being fair with players. Do you have any evidence of this assertion?

      I don’t think Jenkins, Wells, or Jennings would agree, but they obviously have their self-serving reasons.

      • Lucas

        Jenkins production since leaving has shown he wasn’t worth what the Eagles paid him. Wells got injured, so that’s not an easy assessment. Nick Barnett has not been back to the pro-bowl since his departure. Those are off the top of my head. The number of “released” players to go on to prove their new salaries is very few.
        My challenge to you is to name an unsigned FA that did prove his next salary.

  • Bird Dog Uni

    We actually need to draft his replacement, which we can afford… A bigger, faster version of Greg Jennings… I love 85, but, someone will over-pay him, and we can draft a guy in the 2nd or 3rd round… Maybe Justin Hunter or Quinton Patton?

    • Scott in MI

      One thing that Ted is REALLY good at is finding WR’s in the second round. I love Greg Jennings, but Ted has shown that he can find a good replacement already.

      • White92

        Totally agree here. Jordy and JJ were great finds in the draft, not to mention Cobb. Even Ross and Boykin may be players. Gotta let ’85 go and if you are going to spend free agent money, use it on ILB, safety, or OL.

  • Ron LC

    Jennings agent thinks he’ll get $10 mil or more a year for him. With GB’s other future signings, that will never happen. Too mcuh money has to be stashed for the big three, AR, CM3 and Raji.

    The issue is economics. We’d all like Greg back, but at what cost?

    • frozentundra91

      Is Raji a must sign? Clay and A-Rod are definite signings but I’m not sure Raji is. NT/DE in the 3/4 aren’t the most glamorous positions but Raji has never really lived up to his draft spot. I’ve read where several scouts have said he lacks effort. I don’t know, though. Just wondering what some people think about the Freezer.

      • PatMc

        Good Point. Raji was not performing very well in SF game. I’m not sure what his rating was for year though.

        If Raji is not extended, then this years draft needs a #1 round DL who can play all three positions (Pickett’s replacement). Another big guy will be needed to replace Raji as well.

        I’m not sure that TT/MM and/or Dom want to do that.

    • Oppy

      I have to agree with frozentundra that I’m not sold on the fact that Raji is an absolute lock/must-sign player.

      He has flashes and streaks that lead you to believe he could be dominant, but he hasn’t done it consistently so far in his pro career. He not only disappears for stretches during individual games, he also disappears for multiple game stretches…

      That all said, Nose Tackle is a premium position in a 3-4 defense- you absolutely have to have a dominant player that can stand up the double team and anchor to the point of immovable at the point. If you do not, the OLB’s are almost a moot point.

      I hope Raji brings it all together and kicks it into high gear, but at this point, he’s just another tease player. Breaking the bank to keep Raji would be a massive leap of faith at this point.

      • Bird Dog Uni

        I wouldn’t mind drafting John Jenkins if he’s available. I love Raji, but, he’s no Haloti Ngata!!! And our defensive linemen haven’t really been world beaters to date. I wouldn’t mind a pick on every level of the D. DL, ILB, OLB, DB…

        OL, WR, RB, We ought to have a couple comp picks as well… We ought to be able to shore up some roster spots! :)

  • Bearmeat

    GJ’s game is speed and fluidity. Not size. If speed decreases from 30-35 (and for everyone not named DD, it does), then GJ is not worth top 10 money.

    Plus, GB doesn’t have that money available. They need to start drafting a big bodied WR to complement the small guys they have (other than Jordy) outside.

    • Brian

      Agree 100%. See Torry Smith, Roddy White, Anquan Bolding, and Julio Jones yesterday. Those guys are beasts. We need a taller, stronger guy that can pound the CBs. We need to get nastier on the OL and DL rather than spend a ton on GJ.

  • GBPDAN

    Jennings is better then all the receivers on that list and he and his agent know it. If the pack can sign him at 5m a year (lol) then hell yes they should..BUT, that isnt never going to happen. Greg will sign somewhere for no less then 9m a year. With other pressing FA to address on the team and with other holes to fill, (and with Cobb, Nelson, Jones and maybe Finley coming back) I don’t see the pack signing Jennings. There are more deficiencies at other positions then WR.

    I agree that jennings is valuable, but a running back, Olineman, DL or LB is mire important

    • Oppy

      OL > RB every day of the week!!

    • Bird Dog Uni

      85 is better than Holmes or Rice, but, I’m not sure he’s better than any of the others… Better to Draft a young, strong, beast of a WR that we can afford and move on. :) Agree with you though, we do have more important things to worry about than signing an aging WR for $10M a year!

  • Tarynfor12

    How many teams may feel Jennings won’t be as productive without Rodgers as his QB?..this could help but…IDK.

    How convinced is TT that the new contract for Raji should inhibit keeping Jennings?…as he is the one that will lose in money or off the team depending on this Jennings money.

    IMO,Jennings asking for captions on that twitter photo is pure bullshit.
    Don’t play on fans emotions when you’ll have no problem stating that you’re leaving because its simply business first.

    It will be interesting to see just how much of a difference the offers are that has him choosing to leave.

    Many may not like what gets revealed in this process.

    I’ve already accepted he is gone and looking to who we draft.

  • Two Bears, One Cup

    I wonder what Jennings’ sister thinks he should do. . . . Maybe I’m reading too much into it but it sounds like he may have mentioned to her that Miami is a possible destination. I wouldn’t put too much stock into her opinions, but she certainly thought that South Florida was an option. I’d rather not lose Jennings but I really don’t want to get into a bidding war.

  • Brad

    I believe Jennings gets the tag. Either the Packers keep him for one more year or work out a deal and get something in return for him.

  • Chad Lundberg

    I heard at least 3 times this season straight from the players including Jennings and Rodgers themselves that they highly HIGHLY doubt that Jennings will return. What more is there to it than that?

    Besides, not a single receiver on that team is a first round draft pick. The next guy (if we even need one next year) won’t be either.

    Seriously, let Jennings walk.

    • Bird Dog Uni

      Agreed… I love 85, but, not for what we’ll have to pay! Rookie WR in 2nd or 3rd round which we can easily afford…

  • FITZCORE1252

    “If the Packers can keep Jennings for just under $5 million on a two year deal, they should.”

    If you don’t mind me asking, what color is the sky on your planet?

    He’s not taking a two year deal.

    He’s gonna laugh at “just under $5 million”.

    Guaranteed he gets a 3+ yr deal, averaging over $7 M per.

    I’d love to see him stay, as I agree with what you wrote about his value to the team. At your #’s though… Zero chance that happens. Ze. Ro.

    GBP 4 LIFE

    • http://allgbp.com/category/authors/jason-perone/ Jason Perone

      I do mind you asking.. are you implying that I’m color blind?:)

  • Scott Francois

    It is a nice thought however it will not happen. Too many commercials and not enough time on the field for Jennings.

  • http://grizzlymitch@bresnan.net montanacheezhead

    Some team will offer a five year contract and it will not be a Packer decision. Jennings will take the money. I agree that Raji is not a must signing. Heck, I would rather have Jennings for four more years than Raji

  • Greg

    Raji has had a bad game or 2 but he is a solid-to-good player overall and plays a position of greater need. It’s much easier to find good wr’s than dlinemen. in a vacuum, jennings is currently a better player than raji. however, the packers can more easily afford to lose jennings than raji. our wr’s are loaded and TT has shown the ability to find great receivers in the draft. it’s not so easy to find DL, and Raji is younger and healthier. thank jennings for his contributions & bid him good luck w/ his new team.

    • Indycheezhed

      Is Raji worth what he’s going to want when he becomes a free agent? No way. He’s like Hawk not worth a overall 9th pick, but unlike Hawk he won’t take a pay cut. The Packers need someone that is mean and nasty and Raji doesn’t appear to be that. Jennings is worth it to keep over Raji.

      • Stroh

        Nor should Raji take a pay cut. He actually played really good this year, on par w/ his ’10 campaign. You can’t judge a 34 DL by sack stats. Raji should get and deserves a good healthy raise. He won’t even become a FA, Thompson will get him resigned before he becomes a FA. WR are a dime a dozen and a great QB makes them alot better. I’m not saying Jennings isn’t a damn good player, but he’s much easier to replace than Raji!

  • Since ’61

    It seems that Driver, Woodson and possibly Finley will be gone for next year. This should leave enough money to at least try to keep Jennings. He knows the offense and he knows how to get open. I would try to keep him for around $6MM. But I agree with previous comments that Miami will probably be willing to overpay him and outbid the Packers. Thanks, Since ’61