Sam Shields and B.J. Raji may dominate the deadlines in Green Bay, but James Jones' pending free agency is one of the major storylines for the Packers.
Jones famously almost left following the Super Bowl, but Aaron Rodgers stumped publically in support of re-signing the veteran wide receiver. Whether or not that had an impact on Ted Thompson, the Packers inked him to a three-year, $9.7 million deal.
Three seasons later, Jones is a free agent once again, and the Packers apparently aren't as keen to retain him this time.
According to a report by Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Packers plan to let Jones depart in free agency.
Assuming the report is correct, there are a few possible explanations for allowing Jones to walk. First, this year's wide receiver draft class is among the best and deepest to come out in over a decade. The Packers may find a capable replacement somewhere in the middle rounds.
But perhaps the more significant reason for letting Jones leave is the contract situation for the Packers top two targets. The deals for both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are set to expire following the 2014 season. Both are high on Green Bay's priority list this offseason.
That said, it's probably too early to discount a Jones return. The Packers were initially hesitant to re-sign him back in 2011, but a flat market allowed Thompson to retain the veteran wideout at a very team-friendly price. With a loaded draft class and free agent market at the position, its possible Jones could once again find himself without a big offer. If that happens, Green Bay could pounce once again.