Yesterday the impact of the three-day tampering period that wasn’t really a tampering period at all and was truly a negotiating period (follow? Good) was clear immediately at about 4:02 p.m. ET. Two minutes into free agency reports surfaced regarding Martellus Bennett signing in Chicago, and then they didn’t stop.
The tight end position was especially purged, with Jared Cook, Tony Gonzalez, Anthony Fasano, and Delanie Walker also finding new places to get paid while playing football in the first hour or so. And on it went until midnight with signings and reported signings, and as expected some of the most notable names (hi, Mike Wallace) dropped right away. Of the 120 players at various positions that we ranked last week, 25 of them have already been signed.
But beyond Wallace, there’s still a core offensive skill position that remains relatively untouched at the top, and Greg Jennings could change that today.
Jennings, Wes Welker, and Danny Amendola lead the top tier of wideouts still seeking employment as we begin the first full day of free agency. The rhetoric in New England surrounding Welker sounds super scary, with talks reportedly breaking down. Welker’s only leverage is his status as a free agent, and Bill Belichick seems to care so very little about that. Amendola still lurks as a fallback option, as he’s the most Welker receiver who isn’t actually Welker. This still seems like typical free agent hardball, and Welker leaving New England remains unlikely. But at the very least, it’s possible now.
But what of Jennings? His last rites were read to him in Green Bay by all of us. We bid him adieu, wistfully remembering the good times and the jet ski push ups, while acknowledging that youth movements are a thing in the NFL, and James Jones can ascend the Packers’ wide receiver depth chart easily along with Randall Cobb. We cried, hugged, and moved on.
Maybe Jennings hasn’t, and maybe he’s not going anywhere at all.
NFL source just told me that if Jennings hasn’t signed with another team by midnight, he could be back with the #Packers.
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) March 12, 2013
That tweet hit the twitters before midnight last night (obvious guy says obvious thing), and today Jennings still isn’t a Viking. They’re the other team pursuing him after they were forced to trade Percy Harvin due to his efficiency in the much maligned jerk metric, although their interest may be fading.
So we sit here today still, with Jennings returning to do more Lambeau leaping still a distinct possibility. Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel wrote that the Packers are indeed chasing Jennings with their $20 million in cap room, a number that increased when Erik Walden departed for Indianapolis. As Dunne notes, the Packers have an advantage in one area that’s pretty important.
The decision for Greg Jennings very well could boil down to playing with Aaron Rodgers or playing with Christian Ponder.
At which point, the Green Bay Packers would probably like their chances.
Yes, and so they should. Of course, regardless of the cap room available, there’s still the matter of money, and finding the right value. Wallace was predictably just given an absurd figure by the Dolphins, as he’ll now be paid $60 million over the next five years, $30 million of which is guaranteed. Yeah, he’s younger, and filled with more upside, and whatever. That contract should still be illegal, because now Wallace is the league’s third highest paid receiver behind only Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. Ridiculous.
Wallace has set the market. Jennings will be talked down from $12 million annually, and the Packers should stick to somewhere in the $10 million vicinity. If that’s agreeable to Jennings, he could be a Packer for life.