Greg Jennings, Donald Driver face uncertain futures in Green Bay
In the waning seconds of Green Bay’s 45-31 loss to San Francisco on Saturday night, Aaron Rodgers escaped the pocket and fired a touchdown strike to Greg Jennings.
Counting the postseason, it was Jennings’ 59th touchdown reception as a Packer. And, in all likelihood, it will be his last.
Jennings is set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. And given the presences of James Jones, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson in the Packers’ receiving corps, odds are that Jennings will be able to find a more lucrative contract elsewhere.
The 29-year-old Jennings, who has played his entire seven-year career with Green Bay, has been preparing himself all season for a future in another uniform. Saturday night, after Green Bay’s season came to an anti-climactic end, that issue came up again.
“The reality is there will probably be some changes made,” said Jennings, according to Wes Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “Hopefully, I’m here, but if not I’m ready to move wherever.”
Jennings battled injuries throughout the 2012 season, and for parts of 2011, but he remains one of the NFL’s more reliable receivers when healthy. In playing all 16 games during the 2008, ’09 and ’10 campaigns, Jennings averaged about 75 catches and more than 1,200 yards per year.
He had just 36 catches for 366 yards during the 2012 regular season, while missing eight games.
Despite that statistical drop-off, odds are that Jennings will be able to land a contract in excess of what Green Bay is willing to pay. So, barring the good ol’ “hometown discount,” Jennings could be wearing another jersey next season — possibly one of a Green Bay rival like Chicago, Detroit or Minnesota, all teams that could use a solid veteran receiver.
Saturday’s loss might also have signaled the end of Donald Driver’s long and illustrious Green Bay career. A Packer since coming into the league in 1999, the soon-to-be 38-year-old Driver struggled to even get on the field late in the year. He was a healthy scratch in Week 17 against Minnesota, then did not see any passes in either of Green Bay’s playoff games.
Driver, like Jennings, will be an unrestricted free agent when the NFL season ends. However, Driver might choose to call it a career, rather than re-sign with the Packers or seek out another deal.
“Have to make a decision soon. It’s going to be tough,” Jennings said, again per Hodkiewicz. “It’s gonna be a tough decision, but I’ll sit down with my wife and kids …
“I think it’s always tough when you get to this point of your career and you have to make tough decisions.”