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Cullen Jenkins: Trade Bait?

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Cullen Jenkins: Trade Bait?

We have the best readers here at CHTV. Seriously.

Regular readers of our comment sections will recognize the handle "CSS" - who just happened to have the exchange outlined below with Tom Pelissero during Tom's chat about the defensive line today over at the Green Bay Press Gazette:

I may get killed for saying it, but Jenkins is great trade bait. Much better 4-3 end (my opinion) than a 3-4. He has a ton of value and the Packers can slide in Jolly or Raji.

I agree one hundred percent.

And I agree one hundred percent with Tom's response:

I don't think that's a crazy idea at all, especially in this labor climate

CSS is right - Jenkins has more value on a 4-3 line. Not only that, the guy wore down something fierce as the season went on and disappeared against the better offensive lines he faced. And how could one forget Jenkins' complaining after the second Viking game? (A game, I might add, where he was simply owned)

Look, I love "Big Sexy" as much as the next fan, but he is not a natural fit at defensive end in the 3-4 and could possibly generate some interesting discussion in trade talks. Thompson would be wise to at least test the waters there. He's got to expect (everyone does, actually) that Raji will be on the field a hell of a lot more this year - they're paying him way too much to ride the pine.

Now don't get me wrong - I don't think they should just throw away quality line depth for a mid-round pick, which is what Pelissero seems to think Jenkins might fetch. I don't advocate trading for tradings sake. But all it takes is the right team, ie Owner or GM, to value a versatile defensive lineman who's a great fit for a 4-3 front to drive the compensation up past what he's probably worth. If Thompson can find someone willing to give up a 2nd or even a 3rd - he would be foolish not to entertain the possibility.

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Fan friendly comments only: on Comments (25) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

CSS's picture

I'm really not an instigator, Aaron, I simply had to ask the question:) I love Jenkins, I just don't know what kind of an asset the franchise will have in Jenkins by the time he's due another contract. If a franchise will give you a '2nd round pick' for Corey Williams there's no reason you can't get equal value from some franchise for Jenkins (much better than Williams).

Love him, love him, love him...but strike while the iron's hot, eh?

packeraaron's picture

Couldn't agree more CSS - of course, as Tom noted, a big reason the Browns went for Williams was because of his age. But you're right - Jenkins is a far superior player and if we've learned anything we've learned that there will always be GMs who are willing to be foolish with their draft picks. As you say - all it takes is one.

Dilligaff's picture

The Packers are at the point that they may have to make some adjustments that may appear to be a step back to move forward. Just look at what the Patriots have done over the years, trading and releasing quality players that seem questionable at the time, but they are always competitive and never over reach themselves like Washington does. I see the Cullen Jenkins situation much like AJ Hawk, why lose the ability if we can get a 2n/3rd/4th pick this year on a player that may be lost the following year due to their contracts. Losing any trade value. IMO Jenkins performed better in the 3-4 than AJ. It would really be nice if we could have another jesus meeting and during that time a laying on of hands would some how heal Justin Harrell and he would be a major contributor next year. Thus making a Jenkins trade even more inviting.

Ruppert's picture

See, this is why you guys are visionaries and I'm not. This is a great idea, and I wish I would have thought of it. Who picks ahead of us in the first that really needs D line? Could we send Jenkins and #23 to move up high enough to snag one of the top 2 or 3 OT prospects?

Dilligaff's picture

The thing that Jenkins has over Jolly is the ability to get to the QB, Jolly is great against the run, but lacks any true speed or burst to get into the back field like Jenkins can. Although Jolly understands his limitations and has knocked down some passes.

cow42's picture

Yeah - let's trade all our good players before they get old and/or before we have to pay them.

Draft picks ALWAYS pan out... no risk there.

Why try to win the Super Bowl NOW. Much better idea to plan for the future... the future... the future... the future...

CSS's picture

He just turned 29, has 1 year left on his contract and will likely fetch a top 10 Defensive Line contract after the 2010 season. If/when the Packers extend Jolly and Pickett this year you have a substantial amount of money locked into 3/4ths of your defensive line. Good GM's make trades like this one-year early, not one year too late. (See Bill Belichick and Richard Seymore).

Look at it this way as well. You're in no-mans land at #23. If you don't intend on trading up and/or a player doesn't fall to you this is a GREAT draft for starters and value in the 2nd round. Jenkins can net you a 2nd, you pay less, have a kid for 3-5 years under a rookie contract and he's 7 years younger.

I'm not advocating for it, not saying they do it, but you're hardly mortgaging the present. You make bold moves as a franchise if you want to perenially be a playoff team.

cow42's picture

i just don't see trading away your best players as "bold". i see it as "stupid".
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"Good GM’s make trades like this one-year early, not one year too late. (See Bill Belichick and Richard Seymore)." - THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT THE PATS HAVE WON MORE RINGS IN THE LAST 10 YEARS THAN THEY KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH. they can look to the future because their RECENT past/present has been so sweet.
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I'M SICK OF WATCHING OTHER TEAMS PLAY IN THE SUPER BOWL! I WANT IT NOW!

Dilligaff's picture

cow42, its not something you want to do, yes we would love to keep all our players, but the competitive rules of the league does not make this possible. For me this is what makes the NFL so interesting all year round, this chess game of coming up with a 53 man roster with all these variables of age/contracts/talent/draft to come up with a winning combination for the present and the future. The teams that scheme for a one year shot (ignoring the future) either hit or miss, usually end up in a 3 to 5 year funk trying to rebuild with no clear shot.

bomdad's picture

Cullen is a fine 3-4 end. He plays the screen like no other, and pushes the pocket. How many games did he play as the regular 4-3 end, because he was always hurt for part of the year? He's core, and trading him before a superbowl is a dumb idea.

PackersThad's picture

When I started to read this post, I started to recoil in horror! Trade "Big Sexy"!! That's blasphemous! You don't want to give the players in the locker room the appearance that anybody can go at any time. That's a morale killer....
But then I thought about it... And I decided that if we could get a second round (at the MINIMUM upper third) round pick for him, I would consider it.

But if we could package our 23rd pick, and CJ for a top ten pick, or a pick to get one of those snazzy new OT's, I think that is strongly worth going for.

How far do you think we could go up in the round by trading the 23rd pick, tagging kampman, and trading him and CJ...are there any teams with two mid first round picks that would be interested in that?? Just wondering aloud!

Ron LC's picture

A trade of Jenkins makes sense if, and only if, the compensation is a known quantity. No draft picks please.

AdaminEngland's picture

Sounds good in theory but It assumes Raji will step up, Jolly will still perform with a big contract and that the backups can fill his place. I'm a great believer in good depth on the line which allows more versatility in rotation and means guys are rested more and are not spent by week 12. I'm not sure in BS's absence guys like Wynn can be relied upon in a rotation.

aussiepacker's picture

this unfortunately is a buisness as well as a great game and if you remember all the talk before last season was to see how kampman went and the tag him at the end of the year and trade him. But his acl injury pretty much put a end to that and now we will likely lose kampman with no compensation. So what happens if cullen gets injured or if he becomes unhappy in the defense again and wants to go to a 4-3 team after the year anyway. So why not get something for him?

CSS's picture

I don't recall myself or Aaron ADVOCATING a trade of Jenkins. What some of us have said is that the timing and circumstances are right. Managing a roster is extremely difficult and this was nothing more than a speculative 'what if'. Is it more interesting to make blanketed cliche statemtents like: "TT needs to spend more money on FA!" (always leaving out who from where and at what cost). Or pretend we're draft experts by, one-year later saying, TT should have drafted that guy! (Yet nobody accurately stated who and why at the time of the draft).

STANISLAW's picture

The thing is a Jenkins is a proven pass rusher and he might have tailed off at the end of the year because he was in a 4 man rotation - those guys must have been burned out by week 16. Plus he's a 4-3 end not a 3-4 one so he's out of position (but yet played admirably)

You don't trade quality d-linemen unless someone throws real value at you and 'maybe a 2nd' is nowhere near his real value. It would have to be a "1" or two "2's".

McLaughlinMitch's picture

Only issue I'd have with trading Jenkins is, if you start Jolly, Pickett and Raji that's three 330 guys on the D-Line. When you compare that to Pittsburgh's line or the successful New England line from earlier in the decade (Seymour, Wilfork & Warren), they had DEs ranging around 300, not 330.

Ruppert's picture

It's not that we're all dying to get rid of Jenkins. Far from it. I'd love to keep him around. If we didn't have a huge, gaping hole at OT coming around the corner, this wouldn't even be an issue. Personally, I'm just trying to think of SOMETHING that might help out that situation better than a 23rd pick in the first round (or later). I do not believe there will be a single OT available as a UFA that's an upgrade.

Oppy's picture

Jenkins isn't a bad or poor fit for a 3-4 DE. He's proven that he's more than competent. It's just that in a 4-3 he'd get to use his pass rush skills, something he doesn't get to use much in the 3-4..
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I get it- that makes him valuable to teams who run a 4-3, so why not take advantage, right?
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Do NOT move Cullen Jenkins just because he's valuable trade bait.. Our D-Line just came off a campaign that saw them as the #1 rush D in the NFL. THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO WILLINGLY DISMANTLE AND TINKER WITH THE D-LINE.

PackersRS's picture

When only one DLineman can generate pass rush on your team, you trade him away, dammit!

We don't want anybody harrassing the opposite signal caller. We like 51-45, 500 yard games!
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We need MORE Jenkins so they can rotate and stay healthy. When Mike Montgomery needs to back Jenkins, we have a serious problem.

packeraaron's picture

PackersRS - that's just it, you can put on game after game where Jenkins was a non-factor in the passing game. Fans remember his domination of lesser opponents but not his being dominated by quality ones.

PackersRS's picture

I agree, Aaron. But who was? The others were inefective against EVERYBODY! When he had rotation, he was much more effective.

Brett Cristino's picture

I really like Jenkins, always have, but he seems like the type of guy who is going to bolt at the drop of a hat when he becomes a FA after next season. Because of that, I wouldn't be against seeing what we could get for him on the trade market. Maybe try n pry Jammal Brown from NO?

Dilligaff's picture

Would the Packers be in a better position to win it all in 2010 if we stayed with the old scheme? It just hit me that we need a pass rusher to take this defense to the next level and Kampman is more than likely walking away. The same talk is happening this offseason with the Peppers talk as in the past. In theory if we stayed with the old system and drafted a DE like what Mathews did this year there would be no Peppers dreaming.

As much as I like watching Mathews play, how much have the Packers gained by eliminating Kampman's DE position? What if with our old system TT had drafted two players like Raji and Mathews who improved our old scheme.

IMO Hawk for sure is a better LB in a 4-3 system. Kampman is Mathews and better in a 4-3 system.

In our old defense in 2008, does any body know what the highest yardage given up in one game during that year? I don't recall a game like the Steelers/Cardianals where we gave up over 500 yards.

I guess before we crown TT as a genius, he still has a lot to prove next year that this switch was worth it. There are 3 things working against the Pack next year:

1 - Everyone has a year of tape on how we run this defense and the Steelers and Cardinals showed how to play against it.

2 - Still have to find another serious pass rusher in our front 7, no matter how much we improve our secondary the better QBs in the league will tear us apart, even if we find a Woodson twin.

3 - Schedule is not so forgiving next year, much harder.

Aaron Rogders's picture

What are you smoking Dilligaff?

Our secondary had backup backups towards the end of the year. And if you really watched the game, you would see that there was a ton of blown coverage and players getting out of their zone. Plus there was no such thing as offensive pass interference. Capers had an epic fail in preparing the new guys in his defense.

Kampman was really the only guy that didn't fit well with the 3-4.

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