Two years ago, the NFC was set to be turned over on its head. The Green Bay Packers were the newly-crowned Super Bowl Champions and the Philadelphia Eagles wanted a piece of that Super Bowl action. In order to make that possible, the Eagles grabbed their enormous checkbooks and went straight for the free agency in hopes of building a contender after losing to the Packers in the Wild Card round just a few months prior.
The feat was impressive and Philadelphia stacked their roster in every way possible. Players like Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Ronnie Brown and Vince Young were brought in with a host of others to stack the deck against the rest of the NFC. Among those "others" were former Packers, fresh off of their Super Bowl victory. Those players were tight end Donald Lee and defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins. Jenkins left Green Bay to sign with the Eagles on a five-year, $25 million deal.
When word got around that Jenkins was signing to Philly, many of us knew that would be a blow to our (2010-11) run defense which was only ranked 18th stopping the rush and was second in points allowed (240). Jenkins was set to anchor a Eagles D-line that was already talented while the Packers looked for someone to fill the void that he left in the middle.
Then, backup quarterback Vince Young called his team the "Dream Team" and everything good just...um, kind of got shot to hell. Over the course of the next two seasons, the Eagles would go 12-20 without even touching the playoffs. (8-8 in 2011 and 4-12 last season.) The defense was bad, especially over the course of their eight-game losing streak in 2012 from Week 5 to Week 13.
Given all of that, the Eagles have decided to make significant changes within their organization. Among those casualties, there was Cullen Jenkins, who was released on Monday. In his two seasons with Philadelphia, he started all 32 games and recorded 9.5 sacks and 54 overall tackles. The 32 year-old Jenkins restructured his contract last offseason in hopes of staying in Philadelphia longer but that only afforded him the 2012 season. Now he will have to look for another place to call home.
To cut to the chase here; Jenkins would be a great fit to return to Green Bay. As Tex mentioned yesterday, Jenkins is already familiar with Dom Capers' 3-4 defense and could potentially hit the ground running as he transitions his way back into green and gold. At this point in his career, Jenkins has proven himself durable and would serve a great cause in the locker room as someone who has been around the block and won a championship with the team. With the departure of veteran leaders like Donald Driver and Charles Woodson, the Packers could stand to have a guy like Jenkins back in town.
I believe that at 32 Jenkins probably isn't the player that he once was, but I do believe that he is still capable of being a solid starter in Green Bay and could sign for a relatively low price. After being apart of a overall under-performing defense, then getting cut, Jenkins' value as of now could allow a team like the Packers to bring him in for a good deal.
With younger players like Mike Neal, C.J. Wilson and Jerel Worthy all getting better, a player like Jenkins would definitely be able to step in a provide solid work as a starter until one of the younger guys are ready. Similar to how Charles Woodson was really good until Tramon Williams stepped up at cornerback. Last season, Jenkins posted a respectable 4.5 sacks on a pretty bad defense, at least in the front seven.
I believe releasing Jenkins for Philadelphia was a good, cost-cutting move for the future of that organization. I also, strongly believe that bringing him back to Green Bay is a move for the future as well, in a different way. Bringing him in to kind of "bridge" the transition on the defensive line would be a smart move for the Packers, who were ranked 17th last year in stopping the run. The Packers allowed about 120 yards per game on the ground.
What do you think? Would bringing Jenkins back to Green Bay be a good move for the Packers, or should they just move on without him?