Monday, February 25, 2013

Are The Packers Choosing Between Jennings and Finley?

This is pretty big news for the Green Bay Packers, so I'm going to add my own post to what Jack wrote earlier. While I haven't been expecting the Packers to use the franchise tag on WR Greg Jennings, or keep TE Jermichael Finley, this new report makes it clear that the Packers are considering both options:
The initial report came from Ian Rapoport, who's a great NFL writer but not someone I consider a go-to guy for Packers information, but the link to an article by beat writer Bob McGinn confirms it. Plus, McGinn goes into a lot more detail about how the Packers are trying to choose between Jennings and Finley.

The reason they should want to keep either or both of them is that it would take what was a strength, depth at receiver, and turn it into a problem. While they're fine with Nelson, Cobb, and Jones as their top three receivers, there's no proven players (or high ceiling players) behind them on the depth chart. The Packers could change that by adding a receiver in the draft, but it would still present a problem for 2013.

The reason they want to part ways with both players is that they are too expensive. Bob McGinn points out that Finley's cap salary is $8.75 million in 2013, which is behind only QB Aaron Rodgers, and the salary cap charge for the franchise tag on Jennings should be close to $10 million.

There was some mention about using the franchise tag to trade Jennings, Bob McGinn recalled the time they traded DE Corey Williams after he received it, but I think they would only tag Jennings if they wanted to keep him. As I discussed above, without Jennings and Finley, their receiver depth is thin, especially considering all the injuries they've had at receiver over the past couple seasons. There's some sense in keeping Jennings for one more year, even at an overpriced 2013 salary, because a one-year deal avoids the risks inherent in a long-term contract.

In the end, this is interesting, but their offseason doesn't hinge on this decision. The most important things they need to do this offseason are extend Rodgers and LB Clay Matthews, and upgrade their defensive front seven. Keeping a deep group of receivers together is not as important. They could consider using a second or third round pick on a receiver, there are nine receivers with a 2nd or 3rd round grade according to NFL Draft Scout, and one of them must interest the Packers.

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