Rashad Jennings is a 32-year-old free agent running back coming off a season in which he averaged 3.3 yards per carry. With that in mind, it’s not difficult to see why he remains unsigned in late July as NFL teams begin to report for training camps. However, Jennings has been in touch with teams about possible opportunities, and is holding out hope to get a job this fall.
Why are we talking about this on a Green Bay Packers blog? Because the Packers are, perhaps surprisingly, one of the teams who has talked to Jennings. That’s what the running back said today while being interviewed on SiriusXM NFL Radio:
In all likelihood, the conversation between him and the Packers would be limited to the team expressing interest in bringing him in if the team suffers unexpected injuries at the position. Ty Montgomery is established as the starter, and the team has a glut of intriguing rookies set with diverse skill sets ready to back him up. Each of those players should be a better athlete than Jennings at the present time.
However, if something were to happen to Montgomery, it would make sense for the Packers to give Jennings a call based on his intangibles. Not only is he a solid receiver — he has caught at least 29 passes in each of the past four seasons — but he also has a fairly light career workload, at least by 32-year-old NFL running back standards. In fact, he has just 1,121 career touches on offense (930 carries and 191 receptions), and he has never had more than 224 in a single season. Furthermore, he played the last three years with the New York Giants, the last two under former Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo, making a potential transition to Mike McCarthy’s offensive scheme simpler and quicker.
Still, Jennings is a back on the wrong side of 30 whose production declined significantly last season. After averaging 4.4 yards per carry and 10.2 yards per reception in 2015, those numbers dropped to 3.3 and 5.7 respectively last season.
Don’t expect the Packers to bring Jennings in for a serious tryout unless something happens to Montgomery or more than one of the young backups. However, after last year’s injury issues at running back, it’s a good thing that Ted Thompson seems to be establishing a safety net just in case there is a repeat.