August 3, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings (85) celebrates a touchdown catch by doing the "Lambeau leap" during the family night scrimmage at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
So last night a bit more good news trickled out of 1265 Lombard with the extension of T.J. Lang. Lang is the second notable player that the team has locked down early this year, avoiding his exposure to the free agent market. Earlier this month the Packers inked Tim Masthay (AKA the Ginger Wolverine) keeping him with the team another four years. As the Packers entered this offseason they were roughly $11 million under the salary cap. This past offseaon marked the triumphant return of free agents coming to Green Bay, but none of these deals were blockbuster (AKA cap busting) deals that tie up large amounts of money. So with these two deals, the rookie contracts, and free agent signings, there should be enough room to maneuver one more good extention for a deserving Packer.
Who should that player be?
There are four probable answers to this question: 1.) Greg Jennings, 2.) B.J. Raji, 3.) Clay Matthews, and 4. Aaron Rodgers. A better question to ask though may be who will that player probably be? After all, when fans looked over the list of potential free agents after this season I don't think Masthay was a name that jumped out at people as the first guy to be given a contract to. It could even be argued that the team could weather losing Lang compared to some of the names mentioned above...yet they got contracts first. Granted, these two deals were probably easier to negotiate and smaller contracts than what these four players will demand. As for the rest of the players, there is no doubt that each one of these guys are going to command a hefty second contract. Each is an elite talent at his respected position. Who is the player that the Packers should give the next big contract to?
Why it should be Jennings - You know that something is going to get done with Rodgers, and he is going to need as many top targets as he can when he's one of (if not the) highest paid players in the game. Jennings is his top target right now and that probably won't change in the near future. Jennings won't command Calvin Johnson money, but he should get Vincent Jackson money. Combine this with the fact that he is the only one of those listed above to become a free agent next year and you have the right recipe for Jennings to be the next in line.
Why it should be Raji - So far the Packers 3-4 defense has been a success, despite a poor showing last year. The secret to this success has been that the team has had a solid to elite NT the whole time Capers has been running the show. The first year it was Ryan Pickett and the last two it has been Raji. When he is on his game Raji is a force up the middle and able to stop the run and push the pocket. If the Packers want to continue to have a solid to great defense they need to keep Raji in the fold as he hist the prime of his career. The best way to do that is to give him a contract early and prevent him for hitting the market where teams needy for more inside men like him will line up to pay him top dollar.
Why it should be Matthews - On Monday I listened to probably the stupidest take I've heard in a long time from one of the local sports talk personalities in Green Bay. His argument was that the best player on defense was Desmond Bishop last year and the Packers will miss him more than most realize. While I do agree that the loss of Bishop is huge, he wasn't the best player on defense last year. Not by a long shot. Matthews may not have had the sacks he did his previous two years, but he was Packers' pass rush single handled last year. He also played the run better than before and able to improve his coverage. With each passing year Matthews becomes more the face of our defense, and the Packers need to ensure that he never leaves town. The best way to do this is to ink him to a deal sooner rather than later because his price will only go up if he puts together another DMVP type season.
Why it should be Rodgers - Because he's Aaron Rodgers and he's getting paid like Kevin Kolb. If I you need me to type more than that then go and watch any collection of Rodgers highlights and then any collection of Kolb highlights and try to explain to me why these guys should be paid the same amount per year.
Obviously having this sort of problem is a good problem to have. It means you have cap space, talented players, and generally good bargains at the moment. The good news is also that this decision does not need to be made quickly, the Packers have until the end of the year in order to use up this extra cap space. Still, the Packers should be able to get at least one more splashy extension done....the only question left is who?
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Who should receive the next big contract extension from the Packers?
Greg Jennings (348 votes)
B.J. Raji (89 votes)
Clay Matthews (425 votes)
Aaron Rodgers (322 votes)
1184 total votes