Greg Jennings: Teams That Really Need to Sign Star Receiver
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As NFL free agency kicks off Tuesday, teams will be on the hunt for players who will boost their chances of making a playoff run. A need that many teams have is at the wide receiver position.
Two teams have already made big moves, with the Seattle Seahawks moving to acquire Percy Harvin and the Baltimore Ravens shipping Anquan Boldin to the team they beat in the Super Bowl, the San Francisco 49ers.
With the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Wallace likely to join the Miami Dolphins, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the biggest name available at receiver becomes Greg Jennings, who has spent his entire seven-year career with the Green Bay Packers.
His tenure is coming to an end after a disappointing 2012 season saw him battle injuries and have his lowest catch-total as a professional. Despite that, a number of teams will be hot on the trail of the Western Michigan product, who has been a standout contributor in his NFL career.
Which teams should be most active on this front?
The Colts took great strides under first-year head coach Chuck Pagano, surging to an 11-5 record before bowing out of the playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl champion Ravens. Rookie Andrew Luck did well to justify being the top overall selection in last April's draft.
Jennings told USA Today that he would like to play with a top-level quarterback at his next destination, and Luck has that kind of ability. And with former Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton taking the same position for the Colts, he'll look to slot Jennings into a familiar system for Luck (via B/R).
With Reggie Wayne now 33 years old, and Donnie Avery enduring a difficult season, the Colts need another top-level wideout to complement Wayne, and Jennings can be that guy. Plus, he can help the franchise groom top youngster T.Y. Hilton to create, perhaps, the next Manning-Harrison-type duo.
New England Patriots
Just a few seasons ago, the Patriots were well situated at the position, possessing a dynamic duo in Randy Moss and Wes Welker. But Moss is long gone and Welker has been left "miffed" at various in-season happenings; his future with the club is up in the air (via NESN).
Plus, with Brandon Lloyd a possible exit, the team's receiving options almost seem limited to its tight end duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Enter Jennings, who will certainly have a top-class quarterback to work with should he join the Pats.
Jennings' abilities as an outside threat will make him a great complement to the inside presence of the tight ends, with Julian Edelman available to play Welker's underneath role. And Tom Brady would relish having a threat he can air it out to down the field.
I suppose it might seem odd for Jennings to bolt straight to a division rival, especially one whose quarterback group consists of Christian Ponder and Joe Webb. But they got the job done well enough to support Adrian Peterson on the ground and make the playoffs.
Ponder made good strides in his second NFL season. With Harvin now on his way out and not much else available at the position, Jennings should be a top target for Leslie Frazier and company.
Having a top-class veteran presence at receiver not only gives Ponder a reliable target to throw to, it'll also help him develop into a stronger quarterback. Throw in a top-rated wideout from the upcoming draft, and this could lead to yet another strong season for the Vikings.
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