The Chicago Bears announced on Wednesday they've signed former Green Bay Packers safety M.D. Jennings.
Following his third season in the NFL, Jennings was scheduled to be a restricted free agent, but when the Packers didn't offer him a tender by Tuesday's deadline, he was free to sign with any NFL team.
Jennings was a big reason the Packers experienced a very poor season at the safety position this past season, failing to get a single interception from any player.
Starting all 16 games, Jennings made a career-high 74 tackles, had one sack and only one pass defensed while taking part in 855 snaps, according to ProFootballFocus.com.
The Packers will now be looking for a safety to plug next to Morgan Burnett and replace Jennings in the starting lineup. Many of the options available in free agency, however, are now gone after a flurry of activity on the first day of the new league year. Players like Jairus Byrd, T.J. Ward and Mike Mitchell all found new teams.
In-house possibilities at the position include Sean Richardson, who started to steal away playing time from Jennings last season. Head coach Mike McCarthy also called Micah Hyde "an option" to play at safety after sticking at cornerback his rookie season.
Chris Banjo will be back in the mix after previously signing a one-year deal as an exclusive rights free agent earlier this season.
Barring a mid-tier signing like Chris Clemons, who's still available in free agency, the Packers may have to look toward the NFL Draft and perhaps as high as the first round. Some of the top safeties in this year's draft class include Deone Bucannon of Washington State, Calvin Pryor of Louisville and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama.
The Packers will face Jennings twice next season as a member of a division rival, although they didn't make a long-term commitment to Jennings, signing him for just one year.
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