The sheen of winning Super Bowl XLV hasn’t quite worn off, but the Green Bay Packers front office is going to have to make some important offseason decisions very soon.
The biggest of those may be what to do with defensive end Cullen Jenkins.
Jenkins enters the offseason without a contract and the Packers didn’t make an effort to extend his deal during the season. Part of the reason may be his injury history.
Although Jenkins is the Packers best pass rusher as a down lineman, he’s missed significant time because of injury in his career, including six games this season.
When he’s active, he’s a valuable player. Jenkins racked up seven sacks this season and took some of the pressure off Clay Matthews when he was in the lineup.
Regardless of his injury history, Jenkins is likely to receive a substantial offer if he hits the open market. He’s a proven pass rusher and those type of players are always overpaid in free agency.
If that happens, the Packers are unlikely to match.
Clouding the situation somewhat is the Packers depth along the defensive line. Defensive end Mike Neal, who spent most of his rookie season on injured reserve, will return. Defensive end Johnny Jolly, who was suspended indefinitely by commissioner Roger Goodell, is now eligible for reinstatement. The Packers added defensive tackle Howard Green — a midseason waiver claim — and he played well. C.J. Wilson will continue to improve in his second season.
Does that make Jenkins expendable? Possibly.
If the Packers don’t give him a new contract before free agency begins, whenever the new collective bargaining agreement is finished, I wouldn’t bet on Jenkins returning.
I have always loved to watch Jenkins play as I feel he just steps away from being one of the best down lineman rushers in the league, however the injuries are a little too much for the Packers. Especially, when his injury this year came from trying to punt the ball in pre game warm ups. Pretty dumb.
I say if you can get him for a reasonable price, you keep him. If you cannot, then let him go and make the young guys play. Maybe we get someone in the draft to help out as well. Seems to have worked in the past…
C.J. Wilson will do fine as his replacement. Every time he was in the game you noticed Wilson have an impact. Cullen was great but we need to focus on other positions.
Unfortunately, I think someone will overpay him. That’s why free agency many times doesn’t work out. The team that over values the player is the one that gets them, and makes the GM look stupid. It makes the player look like a bust for doing what most of us would do, take the best deal. For every Julius Peppers there is an Albert Haynesworth.
Good bye, Jenkins. Should we keep him at a discount? Absolutely. But should we pay a premium for him? No. Mike Neal showed flashes this season, and Jerius Wynn and CJ Wilson played hard. We built this team by giving young guys a chance, and we will do it again. This is probably the only big contract Jenkins is going to get; so he will probably be looking to max out. A three technique DL who can actually get after the passer is a hot commodity in the NFL. He will probably get at least $8 mil a season.
Good bye, Daryn Colledge. You had your last false start for the Packers. Nick McDonald, TJ Lang, or Spitz will be in that spot next season. Someone will be impressed with his durability and his ring and give him a decent contract, aka. Adam Timmerman.
Both players helped the Packers win a Super Bowl, and no one can ever take that away from them. They will be welcomed by Packer Nation for the rest of their lives.
I would still put it over 50% that the Packers resign James Jones. He had a rough season this year, but he and A-Rodge have always had good chemistry. He is Packer people, and I don’t think he’ll command a high price. I think teams would rather draft young talent at WR than fill the position through free agency, and I don’t believe any team will think James Jones deserves #1 WR money.
I don’t think James Jones is necessarily ‘Packer People’…in late season interviews and at the return to titletown celebration, he seemed more distant and removed. He wasn’t even on stage when the wideouts were celebrating the trophy @ Lambeau. Greg Jennings had to beg him to come up on the stage and join the rest of his corps. That being said, management hints have already concluded that Colledge and Jones will be re-signed and that Cullen will leave for a better offer. This is all predictable. Nice thing is that none of us feel screwed because as long as we have our coaching intact, it doesn’t matter if Cullen leaves us (though we’ll miss him)
I think James Jones wasn’t distant as much as he was probably embarrassed. I mean think about it. Every announcer, radio guy, idiot like you and me that have opinions, literally everyone in the sporting world thinks of him as a dropper. How often did Joe Buck bring up his past drops? Aikman? Rome? Me?
His biggest claim to fame is dropping 2 passes in the playoffs that would have resulted in TD’s that would have more or less sealed games up for us. In the middle of that he made us briefly forget by standing on his head versus Atlanta.
I hear he has 2 bad fingers but I refuse to accept that excuse from a wide receiver….especially one that seems to drop a ton of easy passes only to make the impossible catch time and time again.
I feel bad for JJ that he wasn’t up there and had to be called up on stage by Jennings, but I think that was probably more of James Jones being down on himself or a Packer bigtime fuck-up then it being James Jones being distant.
All good points, Iltarion.
Price will certainly dictate and Jones may be willing to take short money that’s more incentive based. He may even be willing to a one or two year deal with the Packers in order to shed his current reputation as a dropper, get some consistency, and then test the free agent market in his prime.
It seems like Cullen Jenkins has few reservations about moving on but he has to take the money so it’s difficult to blame him.
I hope we can keep Brandon Jackson. I don’t know if anyone saw his comments when cleaning out his locker this year not being sure if he’d be back, but he’s been a really good Packer player who in my opinion didn’t get as much credit as he deserved. Maybe Jackson couldn’t handle having 25 carries a game, but anytime he was given significant carries, he performed at a below-average…but reasonable level for our passing offense.
I’m not sure we’ll be able to keep him or not, but he was a beast in protection and is always a legitimate threat out of the backfield. How often does the first guy take down BJax when he catches the ball in space? Not many. I’m sure price will dictate, but I like Brandon Jackson.
JJ hasn’t got incentive and a incentive laced contract will not change that.He should be way pass the level he is in game time,but has convinced himself he’s a #1 in dream time.A sideline WR who only looks good when the matchup is subpar.Big guy afraid to get hit and footsteps are heard when he drops easy balls.Worthy catches are far and few between to justify better than aveage pay.We fans should not have to gasp when the ball is thrown to him after this amount of time.
I am also a Brandon Jackson fan. He does all the little things this offense needs. He has developed into an excellent shotgun/3rd down back. The problem is- he might still feel he can be an every down, big time back. He is a young guy; so, hard to blame him. If another team gives him any kind of shot at a starting position, he’ll be gone. Starks allegedly has better hands than Jackson. So, the Packers will be fine. Starks also has more girth to block with. He just needs to learn how to use it better.
James Jones does a lot for underprivileged kids, which he used to be one, and his wife teaches here in town. He never made any excuses for any of his drops. He is Packer people in my book.
Kuhn needs to be resigned as well. He actually might be the most essential free agent left.
I would like to see Hawk’s contract restructured and extended.
Both of these guys have a lot to do with the personality of this team. You don’t need All Pros at every position. You need solid, hard working guys who can be counted on every week.
Brandon jackson didn’t do enough to make me happy or the coaches. That’s why james starks started over him.
I still believe Bjax has potential; I too appreciate his blocking ability as well as slant & short field pass performance. Still wondering why if he shouldn’t be considered for special teams returns & the 2nd or 3rd back; but then again, I really like John Kuhn (pronounced Kuuuuuuhn!) & think Starks performed well in the post season.
Grant had his issues with drops at times, too. Seems as if with the IR players getting healthy, there will be a lot of competition for starting positions on both sides of the ball. My fear is that the cohesiveness of the team & supportive environment of the locker room that developed at least in part due to the injuries may be negatively affected by that competition…
Ah, to have so many players with so much potential & proven performance. The depth! The roster! Wouldn’t it be nice if these were our worries in EVERY off season?
Who ever the Packers don’t resign will end up on the Viqueens roster next year. A classic case of overpaying for under used players at the end of their career who will ultimately miss half the season(Jenkins).