5

September

Greg Jennings And His Contract: The Sky is Not Falling

Greg Jennings

Could Greg Jennings be putting a different team on his back in 2013? Not likely.

The 2012 NFL season literally just got underway and already some Green Bay Packer fans are thinking about the 2013 offseason.

Thanks to some recent comments by free agent-to-be Greg Jennings and his MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers,  it’s becoming clear that Jennings could be playing the 2013 season in a uniform other than the Green and Gold.

First, here is what Jennings had to say on the matter on ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the morning:

“I definitely want to be here, but understanding the nature of the business, you never know. There is really nothing else I can really say or do. The ball is not in my court at all. I have to play the cards that I’m dealt. Right now it’s football. That’s my focus.”

This really isn’t a cause for panic nor is it really any different than what he has said in the past.  Jennings has maintained all along he wants to remain a Green Bay Packer.  This mindset is the best for the Packers if this indeed truly Jennings’ mindset right now.

What Rodgers had to say, however, probably raised more than a few eyebrows.  Here’s what he told ESPN Milwaukee’s Jason Wilde on his weekly radio show on ESPN 540:

“I think you have to be realistic about it and think that it might be. I have loved my time with Greg. Greg and I are going to be buddies whether he’s here or not.”

The fact that Rodgers used “loved” vs. “love” is likely what has caught everyone’s attention.  Knowing that the Packers will very soon be faced with resigning Jennings, Rodgers, Clay Matthews and BJ Raji, as well as a possible pay raise for Jordy Nelson there seems to be a thought that thanks to these recent remarks there’s a good chance #85 will be elsewhere next year.

Folks, relax. While I am not inside the heads of Ted Thompson and Russ Ball, I would be willing to bet that Jennings isn’t going anywhere outside the state of Wisconsin.

Jennings’ recent comments are part of the all too familiar part of contract negotiations called “posturing.” Jennings (or more accurately, his agent) is publicly conveying the message that while he wants to remain in Green Bay, he is prepared to move on.  This is designed to force the team to sweeten its deal under the threat of one of its star players moving on.

It happens all the time in NFL and has been for nearly two decades now. Maybe Packer fans aren’t use to this because they haven’t been through this with a wide receiver since Sterling Sharpe before the 1994 season, nearly 20 years ago.

The albatross in the room of course is the pending monster deal for Rodgers.  Drew Brees recently signed with the New Orleans Saints.  Brees’ new deal is a five-year, $100 million deal and many think Rodgers’ new deal could (and perhaps should) go above and beyond that given Rodgers is 28 years old and Brees is 32 and Rodgers hasn’t had a major injury like Brees has, though the Saints quarterback rebounded from that rather nicely.

While it certainly is possible Rodgers’ new deal will go over the $100 million mark, it’s just as likely that it will come at or below that number.   Two years ago nearly to the day, Tom Brady signed a four-year $72 million dollar deal with the New England Patriots.  Keep in mind this was during a time when Brady and Peyton Manning were still the top two quarterbacks in the league with Brees coming on strong and Rodgers about to have his breakout year.

It was by all means a “below market” deal when you consider Manning signed a five year $90 million extension in July 2011 and then promptly sat out the 2011 season due to multiple neck surgeries. Not to mention that Brady was considered by many to be the superior quarterback to Manning at that point in time, as pointed out by Aaron Nagler of Cheesehead TV last night via Twitter.

The point is that Rodgers may take a lower deal if means keeping his cast intact.  Rodgers has definitely earned the right to be the best paid quarterback in the league, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to.  Rodgers is the definition of a “team guy” and his work ethic and dedication to winning is unquestioned and unrivaled.

The counter argument to this theory is that the Packers are so deep at wide receiver that they can afford to let Jennings go, sign Rodgers to a record deal and have Thompson draft another wide receiver.

It’s a good idea….in theory.

There have been some thoughts that the Packers have developed the ability to churn out talented wide receivers like the Denver Broncos used to do with running backs in the heyday of Mike Shanahan.  While Thompson is more than adept at finding talented wide receivers in the draft, replacing Jennings cannot happen overnight.

Jennings is a rare talent.  His chemistry with Rodgers is incredible and can’t just be replaced at the drop of a hat.  The emergence of Nelson perhaps has led some people to take Jennings for granted but think about where the Packers would be without him. Nelson would be the number one and Randall Cobb (who has ball security issues) or James Jones (whom many fans border on obsessive in terms of wanting to trade him) would be your second and third receiver.   Donald Driver is about to retire which would make Jarrett Boykin your number four if the roster stayed exactly the same.

Throw in Jermichael Finley who will be playing on the second year of a two year deal and suddenly you’re looking at a fundamental remaking of the Packers receiving corps. The plethora of weapons suddenly dwindles down to basically one in Nelson or possibly two should Cobb realize his potential.

That sounds scary doesn’t it?  It very well could sound the same way to Thompson so let me say what I said earlier:

Jennings isn’t going anywhere, or at least he shouldn’t be.

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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23 Responses to “Greg Jennings And His Contract: The Sky is Not Falling”

  1. cow42 says:

    fine – he’s just “posturing”.

    but screw him for “posturing” 6 days before the season opener.

    if i can only keep 3 of raji, rodgers, matthews, jennings… adios, jennings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

    • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

      Raji? If raji plays like he did last year he may get cut before he gets a new contract. He was absolutely horrendous last year.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

      • cow42 says:

        easier to find new wf’s than new dl – men.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

        • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

          actually, it is easier to find below average DL than all pro WR. raji was one of the worst DL in the league last year, not just one of the worst packers. you do realize that jarius wynn put up the same numbers that raji did, and wynn got cut.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

          • cow42 says:

            you have your opinion, i have mine.
            lose raji and you’re starting over on the dl. lose jennings and you may only score 65 TD’s on the year instead of 70.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  2. JohnBlood27 says:

    If the world were full of either-or choices and these 4 players were available with 3 staying and 1 leaving, I would bid adieu to BJ Raji.

    I believe there is a better chance to pick up a big bodied clogger in the draft than any of the other positions above.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  3. Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

    TT says better to get rid of a player a year early than a year too late.

    This isn’t the case for GJ,this is having to save a contract early than to lose one later.

    IMO,if Rajis’ play is equal to or better than 2010′ with the limited snaps as we expect and hope he gets this season and with the issue of TT being unable to find DL guys,we couldn’t afford to lose Raji and GJ will likely take the hit.

    His age,the money expected or demanded for or from him,the fact that Jordy,Cobb,possibly Boykin with a whole year under his belt,the fulfilled play of Finley and his possible need to extend(2 year deal)and since Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL and in GB,actually makes this decision a little easier than many would like to accept.

    The sky isn’t falling and even if Jennings is gone from GB next season,the sky won’t fall then either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. Ron LC says:

    We are seeing the result of the “Cap” here. The job of the GM in today’s game is to, not only get talent, but to controll the amount paid to the players. The 4 guys they need to resign (Raji, Mathews, Rodgers and Jennings) may require more money than the cap allows. It then becomes a matter of priority. AR is the obvious #1 and Mathews is the obious #2. That leaves Raji and GJ. On a raw talent basis it’s got to be Jennings. However, the D at this time needs more help than the O.

    So, after this year we’ll see just how effective the D has become. Could they live without Raji? Is it possible the O can live without Jennings? Jennings is going to be looking for “Fitzgerald” type money. Raji significantly less. This is exactly why you have to be in development mode constantly.

    With TT at the controls, we have been able to deal with changes in the past. I have confidence that in the future they’ll be able to deal with the changes that will be mandated by the “Cap.” I see many other teams who will suffer if they can’t adapt.

    Love the forward thinking of the GBP’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. [...] Greg Jennings comes from NFL.com’s Around the League blog, including an interview on NFL AM, AllGreenBayPackers.com and the Green Bay [...]

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  6. Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

    In regards to Rodgers giving the packers a hometown discount, he may do that. But he will still get a contract equal to or greater than Brady. Rodgers is absolutely in his prime and is a better player than Brees. I would be extremely happy with any deal in which rodgers averages less than about 22.5 million.

    The key to all of this is looking at who the packers have to sign, but also who will be gone that will save money.

    Woodson will have to take a paycut enventually. Pickett and Saturday will likely be in the next two years. Driver will be gone. Hawk will have to take a paycut unless his pay improves dramatically or he will be gone. There will be room, and the packers are $10 million under the cap which may allow them to put a large portion of one CM3 or Jennings contract on this years cap. I fully expect TT to use the cap space he has to front load a deal, but i believe there is a deadline to get it on this years cap.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

      i meant a contract equal to or greater than brees. 5 years 100 million with a $37 million signing bonus.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

      The deadline is in Nov and not sure of the exact date but this is why IMO,the deal needs to be done by week 10.This is when I feel GJ may start to realize he won’t be back and start protecing himself from injury..I know many will say he wouldn’t but they aren’t risking the payday he is and would if a bad injury were to befall him.
      No matter how great a guy he may be or is,he is human and knows he’ll need to protect himself and his future.Just saying.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. Big T says:

    sign all of them with a loan from Jerry Jones

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  8. Paul says:

    Hi – great analysis of the could and could not.. the could not looks worse that I first though.

    Can they not out the franchise tag on him for one year ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. aaronqb says:

    This is a really good “problem” to have. Too many A-list players that are coming up on the end of their rookie contracts. The hard salary cap forces successful teams to pick and choose and to intelligently allocate its payroll. Fortunately, there are not many dead $$ on the Packer payroll currently (Hawk may fall into this category next year).

    I don’t think it will be possible to pay Rodgers, Matthews, Raji, and Jennings their full market value. Rodgers are Matthews are the top two players on the team and must be paid. Raji plays a premium position in a 3-4 defense, is just reaching his prime, and plays a position that would be a huge weakness if he were not there. Jennings, on the other hand, plays a position that is valued VERY highly in the market ($11 million seems to be the going rate) and where there is considerable depth – Nelson, Jones, Cobb, Finley would be a nice receiving corps as is. And look for TT to grab another WR in next year’s draft.

    I would love all 4 guys to return next year. But, if I had to pick, I would have to let Jennings sign elsewhere.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

      do not forget that jordy is up for a new contract soon as well. i think his contract will expire after the 2013-2014 season.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • aaronqb says:

        Jordy is signed through 2014. You might be thinking of James Jones. His contract expires after 2013. I think TT will draft a WR high about every 2-3 years to keep the cupboard stocked.

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      • aaronqb says:

        One other thing. Go here to find out when each player’s contract expires (and to get rosters back through 2007)

        http://cudighi.com

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  10. gdjfgl'kj says:

    defeintly would cut bjs fat ass

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  11. FITZCORE1252 says:

    From your mouth to gods ears.

    GBP 4 LIFE

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  13. Michael Russo says:

    I wonder if Burke might feel the same way now, considering how fairly well Cobb and even Jones have been playing in Jennings absence.

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