In the first in a series of looks at each of the Packers' free agents, we take a look at wide receiver Greg Jennings and his chances of returning to Green Bay.
In the first look at the members of the 2012 Green Bay Packers who are free agents during the 2013 offseason, we will examine the biggest name of them all: wide receiver Greg Jennings. The veteran's 2012 season was marred by that nagging groin injury that forced him to miss eight games, making his numbers and production drop significantly. Now just shy of age 30, Jennings is reportedly looking for a contract in excess of the deal just signed between Dwayne Bowe and the Kansas City Chiefs, which pays Bowe $56 million ($26M guaranteed) over five years.
After making back-to-back trips to the Pro Bowl in 2010 and 2011, Jennings' injury cut his statistics in 2012 by more than half in many major categories. He averaged 69 catches, 1108 yards, and nine touchdowns per season from 2007 to 2011; in 2012 he caught only 36 passes for 366 and four scores, while playing in only eight games and starting five.
Adding insult to injury, Jennings' role in the offense was relatively phased out during his absence, as Randall Cobb took over slot receiver duties and James Jones became the go-to receiver in the red zone. If any team is willing to pay up for Jennings, it will likely be due to his solid finish to the season which saw him put up 15 receptions for 165 yards and three scores in the final two weeks of the season (though one of the other Packer wideouts was absent for each of those two games).
In the short-term, the Packers appear to have as dynamic and deep a receiving corps as there is in the NFL. Jordy Nelson, when healthy, is an excellent deep threat while Randall Cobb is incredibly versatile and James Jones has become a strong red-zone weapon. Wide receiver could become a need position in a few years as Jones will be a free agent next season with Nelson and Cobb the following year, but for right now the unit is in good hands (pun intended).
Likelihood of Re-Signing
It's poor. Jennings simply wants more money than the Packers appear willing to give to their oldest receiver (now that Donald Driver has retired) when there are three talented younger options at the position. With Aaron Rodgers' and Clay Matthews' contract extensions coming up soon, spending more than a few million in cap space on a 4th wide receiver (a luxury in today's or any era's NFL) just isn't prudent. The only possibility that Jennings comes back is if he finds the market for his services far weaker than he expects and can't get a deal done for more than 2 or 3 years at around $8 million per year. Personally, I believe that someone out there will give him more than $10 million annually and he'll leave Green Bay as one of only a few great receivers to ever leave the Packers in free agency.
Estimated odds of re-signing: 10%