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Greg Jennings: Green Bay Packers Made Right Move Not to Franchise Tag Star WR

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 30: Greg Jennings #85 of the Green Bay Packers is congratulated by Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers after the pair scored a touchdown during a game against the Minnesota Vikings on December 30, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Packers 37-34. (Photo by Andy Clayton King/Getty Images)
Andy King/Getty Images
Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIMarch 6, 2013

The Green Bay Packers did not use their franchise tag on star wide receiver Greg Jennings this season, which means that come March 12 at 3 p.m. ET, the veteran can sign with any team that wants him.

It might seem like a shame for the Packers, that Jennings has to leave, but the reality is that the franchise made the right move not to tag the WR.

For money, for the team, for the future—it was the best move for Ted Thompson and the Packers to make in light of what's to come in the near future.

The reality is that the Packers don't need Jennings, per se. They have a number of other strong receiving options—who shined through last season in Jennings' absence—and with the healthy return of Jordy Nelson, are poised to be a very strong receiving corp in 2013.

With Aaron Rodgers under center as well, even the most average of receiving options can become dynamic threats in the red zone sometimes.

The NFC North champions are more than equipped to handle whatever comes their way in the 2013 injury-wise and receiver-wise without keeping Jennings. It's not like they desperately needed the wide receiver to stay and be their only option out wide, like the Minnesota Vikings currently find themselves dealing with regarding Percy Harvin and his new contract.

Green Bay didn't need Jennings to stay, but especially not when it became clear just how much money the Pro Bowl wide receiver would command in 2013.

Darin Gantt at Pro Football Focus reports that had Jennings stayed on would have cost the Packers $10.537 million, and that's for one season! That type of money is astronomically high for a receiver who is yet to truly prove himself away from a brilliant quarterback.

Larry Fitzgerald, by comparison, is only on $14.1 million and the Cardinals wide receiver has arguably the best hands out of anyone in the NFL.

Thus $10.5 million on a guy who's coming off an injury year and isn't in the class of guys like Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson simply wasn't worth it. Not when, like we said, there's plenty of guys capable of doing the exact same job already in the squad for Green Bay.

Yet the most crucial reason why the no-tag was the right move by the Packers was for the salary cap that it would have chewed up if they did so. Currently sitting at $22 million under the cap, Green Bay would have to used a large chunk of that on the wide receiver to try and get a new deal done—something that wouldn't bode well for the future.

2011-12 Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers and star linebacker Clay Matthews are both due for new contracts at the end of next year, and big ones at that. If Joe Flacco's deal is anything to go by, Rodgers alone should see a huge deal coming his way from the franchise.

To fill up that necessary cap space by keeping Jennings, who hadn't completely set the world on fire in the past 18 months, would have been a disastrous move by Green Bay. It could very well have seen either Rodgers or Matthews leave, and that is perhaps the last thing that the Packers want.

So in light of their financial position, their current depth and the ramifications that it would have had on the franchise, not tagging Greg Jennings was the right move by Green Bay. Yes, it means that they see a star wide receiver go in free agency and potentially hurt them during the 2013 season, but that would be nothing compared to the hurt of losing Rodgers or Matthews in 2014 if it came to that.

Once again, Ted Thompson made the right move for Green Bay.

Like there was another option.

 

Did Green Bay make the right move not to franchise tag Greg Jennings?

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