San Diego Chargers: Why the Team Must Pursue Free Agent Greg Jennings

Soven BerySenior Analyst IJanuary 4, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 30:  Greg Jennings #85 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a touchdown catch against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field on September 30, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Sanits 28-27.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Only a handful of NFL teams enjoy the luxury of preparing for playoff games in January. Most of the other squads turn their attention to the 2013 NFL draft or free agency in these months. 

Sadly, the San Diego Chargers are one of those teams figuring out how to get back into the postseason next year.

Under Norv Turner, they finished with a disappointing 7-9 record. San Diego boasted a defense ranked 18th defending the pass and sixth against the run.

But it was the offense that let this team down. Philip Rivers never got off the ground and finished 2012 with 205.9 passing yards per game, 24th in the NFL. The running game wasn’t better as Ryan Mathews led the 27th-ranked rushing attack. 

Now Turner is gone, but the same offensive struggles remain. 

Free-agent wide receiver Greg Jennings could help ease those struggles for the Chargers. He would especially help Rivers have an above-average target. The Bolts only mustered 3,295 total passing yards this year, and a big reason for that was a lack of pieces around Rivers. 

Danario Alexander led San Diego in receiving touchdowns this season with seven trips to the end zone. Alexander also topped the team with 65.8 receiving yards per game. The only problem is that he wasn’t even a Charger to begin the season and was signed off the street on October 18. 

Malcom Floyd had a disappointing season in 2012 that seemed to define a passing game that sputtered and could never produce. 

If the Chargers want to contend in the AFC West then they need to revamp their receiving corps. 

Enter Jennings. 

The Green Bay Packers wideout enjoyed three seasons of 1,000-plus receiving yards from 2008-2010. Last year, he went for 949 yards and nine touchdowns in only 13 games. The injury bug caught up with him again as the 29-year-old sat out half the season with a groin injury. 

Suddenly, questions rose about whether Jennings could be dominant again. 

He put those to rest in the season finale against the Minnesota Vikings, going off for 120 yards and two scores. 

Prior to that game, the Pack faced the Tennessee Titans. No. 85 was commanding in that match as he had seven receptions on nine targets for 45 yards and a touchdown.

All in all, Jennings finished a short season with 36 receptions for 366 yards and four trips to the end zone.  

But when he was away, Green Bay never faltered, and younger targets emerged from the absence of Jennings. With players like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones lining up at receiver in Lambeau Field, this year looks like the time that the Pack will part ways with Jennings. 

The Chargers have to pursue the star wide receiver when that happens. 

He won’t be the most highly paid pass-catcher, but he can be incredibly serviceable. The money that will be saved by going after Jennings instead of a Dwayne Bowe or Wes Welker can be used to fill other holes on the roster such as offensive tackle or cornerback. 

Plus, the Cheesehead can produceand a combination of Rivers to Jennings would be lethal. The Chargers quarterback has shown he can produce with the right pieces around him, and San Diego would be foolish to not go after a wide receiver. 

That wide receiver has to be Greg Jennings.