Greg Jennings’ ‘educated guess’ is he will not be a Packer in 2013
Is Greg Jennings playing his last regular season home game as a member of the Green Bay Packers this Sunday? Jennings sure seems to think so.
Jennings told the NFL Network’s “Double Coverage” podcast that, though he’d like to remain a Packer for 2013 and beyond, the reality is that he’ll be elsewhere next season.
“An educated guess? … I’m gonna lean to the ‘no’ side of it,” Jennings told hosts Sam Wyche and Mark Kriegel. “That’s my educated guess, my personal educated guess. …
“I definitely, if I had a choice, me, if it was just my decision, my decision only, absolutely I would be here in a heartbeat — wouldn’t want to leave at all. But obviously it’s two sides, so the Packers are gonna do what’s best for them and hopefully I’m what’s best.
“But, if not, then I have 31 other teams that hopefully I can show them my résumé and then walk into the door and start back over.”
This is far from the first time Jennings has discussed his uncertain future in Green Bay. Before the season even began, he said he had to approach 2012 as if it was his last with the team: “My mindset is 20 weeks of football with the Packers and then this is it.”
That feeling probably did not change when Randall Cobb and James Jones stepped up with Jennings sidelined by injuries. Cobb, Jones and Jordy Nelson all are under contract for next season.
Because of those deals, the Packers may be hesitant to offer Jennings the long-term contract he’s no doubt seeking. The franchise tag could be an option, but a WR tag is estimated to cost just shy of $10 million for the 2013 season — Jennings is making just $3.885 million in base salary this season, the final year of a four-year, $26.885 million deal.
The 31-year-old Jennings has 21 catches this season (24 fewer than his previous career-low) and has played in only six of Green Bay’s 14 games thus far.
One variable in the Packers’ 2013 financial situation: Jermichael Finley’s status. The oft-criticized tight end has a salary of $4.45 million next season, plus a roster bonus of $3.5 million due in March. Reports have circulated lately that Green Bay will cut ties with Finley this offseason, likely via release. The Packers would be on the hook for just $500,000 (the remaining part of his signing bonus) next season if that occurred.
The Packers have Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji all due for contract extensions soon, so the Finley savings may show up there. However, if Green Bay can use part of the nearly $7.5 million it would save by cutting Finley on a reasonable Jennings contract, that might be an avenue worth exploring.
If not, there figures to be a healthy market out there for Jennings, despite his injury issues in 2013. The list of suitors might even include the Packers’ three NFC North rivals (Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota), all of which might head into the offseason looking for help at receiver.