In an interview with NFL AM this morning, Green Bay Packers’ wideout Greg Jennings was asked to take his best educated guess on if he would be back with the Green and Gold next year, to which Jennings responded that he would “lean towards the ‘no’ side of it. That’s my personal educated guess.”
Jennings’ answer isn’t a shocker as he’s been upfront about the likelihood of hitting free agency after this season, but that doesn’t make it any less devastating for Number 85 devotees like myself. Jennings would like top-receiver money and rightly so. The Packers will likely decline and rightly so. They have astronomical paydays coming up for Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews and there simply isn’t enough money to go around. Or as Jennings put it before the season: “We’ve got a great quarterback who’s basically going to back up the Wells Fargo truck and say, ‘Load me up.’”
When asked if his guess was based on purely financial reasons or the fact that the Packers have such a strong receiving corps, Jennings said it was “a culmination of both.” He understands the financial side of it and is paving a smooth exit from Green Bay with his attitude. He also praised the Packers for putting together a group of guys at the receiver position that are so talented that they could potentially withstand the loss of a top 10 receiver like Jennings. They have Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jermichael Finley (if he stays) and the little used though still in fantastic shape Donald Driver, as well as a young crop of guys they’re excited about, including Jarrett Boykin and Jeremy Ross.
Jennings is and always has been a Green Bay guy in his attitude and work ethic and he has been careful to keep the likely upcoming divorce amicable. “It’s business,” he’s said over and over. He’s made it clear that he’d love to stay in Green Bay but, as he said before the season, “I’m not naïve.”
While the receiver has openly discussed his contract situation, Jennings has not tried to paint the Packers organization as stingy or unfair in any way or gain advantage through the media. He really seems to love the Packers and their fans and the fans love him right back – which is why it will suck so much to see him playing in a different uniform.
We’ve had most of the season to come to grips with the situation. The writing was on the wall when Jennings and the Packers failed to negotiate a deal during the off-season. Jennings was adamant about shelving talks during the season:
What I told my agent is, ‘I don’t want to hear about anything unless we’re getting serious. Don’t call me about every little detail. I don’t want to hear about it.’ My focus is making sure that I’m prepared to practice every day, to play if we have a game. That’s the bottom line. At the end of the day, I do not want to be a distraction. He knows as well as the Packers know, ‘Look guys, if you don’t get it done before training camp, I’m not being a distraction to this team.’ I will not do that. I will not – will not – be a distraction. I will not be selfish. There is a point when you have to be a little selfish in terms of negotiations, but we’re trying to focus on a goal here as a team. You’ve got to let your ego diminish. If we don’t get it done, I’m focusing on football, and it is what it is. I’m not naïve to that.
And that’s why we love you, Greg. Best of luck to you. Would one more Super Bowl ring will change your mind?