In an excellent article for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bob McGinn says they should. We'll break down his reasoning in a moment, but I happen to think the Packers should keep him around at least through the end of the season.
It's no secret that Jennings is in the last year of his contract, and he's offered no assurances that he would re-sign with the Packers, let alone consider taking a hometown discount to remain in Green Bay. Contract talks between the two parties haven't got anywhere to this point.
Not surprisingly, that is the crux of McGinn's argument for trading him. With players like Clay Matthews, B.J. Raji, Aaron Rodgers, Marshall Newhouse, Morgan Burnett and Jermichael Finley all becoming unrestricted free agents after 2014 (except Rodgers, who is up after 2015), can the Packers really afford to pay Jennings market value?
The answer to that is probably no, unless the Packers are willing to pay him just under what the top receivers in the league like Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson are making. Not exactly chump change.
If the Packers aren't willing to pay the big bucks—and they are already pretty tight to the cap—can they really risk the possibility of losing him for simply a compensatory pick at the end of the season?
McGinn thinks the team can get a second-round pick for Jennings. Given that it already has a surplus at wide receiver, and that Jennings has proven to be injury-prone of late and is already 28, it's a move the Packers pretty much have to make.
At least, according to McGinn.
Jennings also has fantastic chemistry with Rodgers. Though the team is pretty loaded at wide receiver, you can't tell me Rodgers wouldn't miss his favorite target, or that the offense would be better with him gone.
If the Packers were a borderline playoff contender who didn't have Super Bowl aspirations, I would wholeheartedly agree that the team should ship him out. However, they aren't. They are a team with a Super Bowl window that is wide open.
If Jennings helps them win a Super Bowl this season, is anyone going to lose sleep over getting a compensatory pick (probably a fourth-rounder) instead of that second-round pick (if they can even get that)?
I don't think there is any way they would get a first for Jennings, and I wonder if—given his age and current injury issues—teams would even go to a second.
The thinking might be, "Why should I give up a high pick when I might be able to wait and just sign him in the offseason without losing a draft selection?"
I think this is the rare situation where the team has to simply accept it is going to lose him after the year and take the compensatory pick. If they believe they are a Super Bowl contender—and I don't see why they wouldn't be—they have to gun for the title this year. There are no guarantees that this window will stay open for multiple years.
McGinn is right. From a business perspective, trading Jennings is the right move. However, this is about more than just straight business; this is about winning a Super Bowl this year.
For that reason, I don't think the Packers should trade Jennings.
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