NFL Free Agency Rumors: Latest Cullen Jenkins Rumors and Speculation

Matt SteinCorrespondent IIMay 27, 2011

NFL Free Agency Rumors: Latest Cullen Jenkins Rumors and Speculation

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 31:  Cullen Jenkins #77 of the Green Bay Packers in action against the New York Jets on October 31, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The Packers defeated the Jets 9-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    One of the biggest free agents that the Green Bay Packers could lose is Cullen Jenkins.  Even though he struggled with injuries last season, he was still one of the most effective lineman the Packers had at getting to the quarterback.  He recorded seven sacks in just 10 games for Green Bay.

    While it is still to be determined if Jenkins will actually leave Green Bay, most signs are pointing to him playing for another team next year.  At the age of 30, Jenkins should still get plenty of interest, especially considering his level of talent.

    Here is a look at the current rumors and speculation concerning Cullen Jenkins, including where he might end up and who the Packers could replace him with.  Hopefully he can stay, but if he can't, hopefully he doesn't go to the Minnesota Vikings like every other Packer.

Will Jenkins Stay or Will He Go?

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    ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 15:  Cullen Jenkins #77 of the Green Bay Packers looks on against the Atlanta Falcons during their 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Georgia Dome on January 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    The biggest question surrounding Jenkins is whether he will be staying or leaving once free agency begins.  The consensus appears to be that he probably won't be wearing green and gold this upcoming season.

    Both Yahoo! Sports and ESPN have stated that Jenkins doesn't expect to be part of the Packers next year.  So, unless things change drastically once free agency begins, it looks like Jenkins will most likely be searching for a new team.

Where Could Jenkins End Up?

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    GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 13: Orlando Pace #76 of the Chicago Bears tries to block Cullen Jenkins #77 of the Green Bay Packers on September 13, 2009 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bears 21-15. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    There are numerous teams in need of a talented defensive end like Cullen Jenkins.  Last year, Jenkins thrived in Dom Capers' 3-4 defense, so expect a team that runs a similar type of defense to be the best fit for him.

    Two teams that instantly come to mind are Washington and Houston.  The Redskins would probably be the most interested as their defensive line was horrid last season.  Even though Houston already has Mario Williams and J.J. Watt at defensive end, they are transitioning to a 3-4 defense for the first time.  Both Williams and Watt could make the move to outside linebacker, which would leave an opening for Jenkins.

    Wherever Jenkins does end up, it will probably be with a team running a defense similar to the one ran in Green Bay.

How Could Jenkins Stay with Green Bay?

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    GREEN BAY, WI - 2009:  Cullen Jenkins of the Green Bay Packers poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by NFL Photos)
    NFL Photos/Getty Images

    Look at how happy Jenkins looks.  How could Green Bay not want him to stay?

    Well, in all seriousness, the Packers don't really have a need for Cullen Jenkins anymore.  The only way in which Jenkins could end up staying in Green Bay is if he took a major pay cut. 

    During the season he proposed just that and attempted to sign a long-term deal with a lower salary with the Packers, but Green Bay declined. 

    All signs point to a Green Bay not wanting Jenkins.

Who Will Replace Jenkins?

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Cullen Jenkins #77 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after a sack of quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears in the first half in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Green Bay has two young lineman who look ready to step in and replace Cullen Jenkins.  Both Mike Neal and C.J. Wilson are under the age of 25 and both players have loads of talent. 

    Neal missed most of last year due to injuries, but Wilson played very well in his limited action.  Either player would make a serviceable starter for the Packers, but more than likely, they will split time early on.  Their ceilings are extremely high and they could both become special.

    Losing Jenkins will hurt, but his replacements look ready and able to take over.

Are the Packers Better off Without Jenkins?

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears attempts to avoid a sack by Cullen Jenkins #77 of the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter of the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Anytime a team loses a player that has ability like Jenkins does, it hurts the team overall.  It might not be felt right away, but over time, Jenkins will be missed.

    Green Bay will enter the 2011 season with one of the best defenses.  Their defense is led by superstars Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews.  However, for Green Bay's defense to be effective, there must be pressure on the quarterback.  That is what Jenkins did best and the Packers will miss that.

    In the long run, Green Bay will probably be better by giving Neal and Wilson the chance to develop.  Right now, the Packers should miss Jenkins' ability to get after the quarterback.

Can Green Bay Still Win the Super Bowl Without Jenkins?

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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06: Cullen Jenkins #77 and Mason Crosby #2 of the Green Bay Packers run onto the field prior to Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Will Green Bay still be a Super Bowl contender without Cullen Jenkins?  The answer to that question is absolutely.

    The Packers should be dominant on both sides of the football.  On a team overflowing with talent, the loss of Jenkins really shouldn't hurt too bad.  The offense is led by Aaron Rodgers who has a plethora of weapons at his disposal.  On defense, Green Bay has one of the best secondaries to go along with the near unstoppable Clay Matthews. 

    This is a young team that matured greatly over the course of last season and they will only get better.  Green Bay should enter the season as Super Bowl favorites and not disappoint.