If the Green Bay Packers are to exercise their right to use the franchise tag, they must do so by 3 p.m. Central time on Monday.
The only realistic option the Packers possibly have is to place the tag on wide receiver Greg Jennings, under which the Packers would be responsible for paying Jennings $10.537 million for a one-year contract.
That’s a steep price, especially if the Packers are also to dole out large contract extensions to quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews and get involved with a player like defensive lineman Chris Canty in free agency.
There’s always a chance the Packers can pull off a tag-and-trade scenario with Jennings by first signing him to a contract and subsequently trading him away to another team, but the Packers are not in a position of bargaining power.
A team could simply choose to wait to sign Jennings in free agency and not have to give up anything in return.
If Jennings were to leave in free agency, which begins in just over a week (Mar. 12), the Packers can receive a compensatory draft choice in return assuming they do not also sign any unrestricted free agents. The round of the compensatory draft choice depends largely on the size of the contract Jennings signs, but could be as high as the third round.
Not placing the franchise tag on Jennings would not necessarily preclude the team from re-signing him. It’s possible that Jennings doesn’t find much interest in the free agent market and comes back to Green Bay at a more modestly-priced contract like James Jones did a few years ago.
There’s lots of potential scenarios with Jennings that could still play out. By the end of the day, the picture will become a little more clear.
The college pro day schedule ramps up on Monday with several universities holding workouts, including Alabama-Birmingham, Alabama State, Alcorn State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota State and Troy.
Although the Packers may not send a scout to every single one of those pro days, they’re sure to be represented at several.
Chris Steuber of Ourlads.com reports that the Packers will be at Massachusetts where tackle Stephane Milhim will be in attendance. Milhim was the only UMass player to be invited to the NFL Combine, although tackle Nick Speller also played in the East-West Shrine Game.