Green Bay Packers: Trading Greg Jennings Is Insane, but He's Not Irreplaceable

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 09: Greg Jennings #85 of the Green Bay Packers runs with the ball while defended by Patrick Willis #52 of the San Francisco 49ers during the NFL season opener at Lambeau Field on September 9, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Just about a week ago, venerable Packers writer Bob McGinn caused a firestorm when he suggested that the team should trade Greg Jennings.

Now, at this point the idea has been well picked over, and while McGinn's overall theory that they might as well get something before Jennings inevitably leaves isn't one I subscribe to, the idea that they can actually part ways with him is dead on.

The Packers can survive the loss of Greg Jennings.

With the emergence of Jordy Nelson and the uptick in Randall Cobb's development, this is a team rife with potential playmakers. 

Now, we know Donald Driver is a shadow of his old self, and both Jermichael Finley and James Jones have way too many drops to be reliable. The guys the staff was hot on before camp—Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel—flamed out.

None of that is cause for concern.

It's not that Jennings isn't an asset to the team, because he clearly is when healthy. It's just that Nelson and Cobb have the potential to be just as good.

Even McGinn makes the argument that Nelson is 1b to Jennings' 1a. They really are close, and get closer every game Jennings misses with an injury.

Nelson can go vertical just as easily as Jennings can, and he's got four inches on the 5'11" Jennings, which makes it easier to go over the top of a corner or safety.

On top of his ability to catch, Cobb can run; he has just scratched the surface of that skill.

Sure, Driver will soon be gone, but how big a role has he had so far, really? And Jones may be a bit unreliable, but he is as prone to a big play as he is to those drops we mentioned. As a third wide receiver (I see Cobb as the eventual No. 2 behind Nelson) he really is only going to be counted on occasionally.

As much as Jennings can bring to the table, the guys left behind are more than capable, especially with Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball.

Consider this as well: the Packers have several critical contracts coming up in addition to Jennings, including Clay Matthews, Rodgers and B.J. Raji. They will already have to make some tough choices (and getting tougher with the level Matthews is playing at).

If there is a spot where a player can conceivably be replaced and the money spent at a more critical and hard-to-fill position, shouldn't that player be allowed to go on his merry way?

The fact is that Jennings could command a ton of money as a free agent. Tagging him is expensive, and the Packers are unlikely to match or beat any offer out there for him. And both cases would be a waste of money.

Better to let him go this offseason and focus the attention on other positions where the depth or impact is more uncertain.

Jennings would be missed, of course, but the impact of his play is already mitigated by his injuries, and the rest of it can be made up for by the very good receivers left behind.

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