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Jennings and Driver, Good as Gone?

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Jennings and Driver, Good as Gone?

Barring some unforeseen shift in both negotiation and opinion, the Green Bay Packers have likely played their last contest with both Greg Jennings and Donald Driver.

The Packers returned from Saturday's 45-31 season-ending loss in San Francisco to clean out lockers and speak to the media, and neither player sounded even remotely confident in continuing their NFL careers in Green Bay.

"At the end of the day, the Packers are going to do what's best for the Packers," Jennings said, according to Scott Venci of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "That's not going to change, whether you are No. 4, No. 80, No. 85. They are going do do what's best for the Packers. As the other half of the businessman sitting at the table, I have to do what's best for myself and my family."

Jennings, 29, is an unrestricted free agent this spring and will be free to sign with whichever team he chooses. His four-year, $26.885 million deal signed in 2009 expires after this season. While it is expected that Jennings will find one last big deal, the Packers aren't likely to be the franchise obliging his monetary request.

Driver, a 14-year veteran who was drafted by the Packers in 1999, sounded just as pessimistic that the Green Bay would extend his career there another season.

"I haven't made a decision on what I'm going to do. I'll probably leave out of here today or the first thing in the morning," Driver said. "Don't know what's going to happen. I feel like I can still play. I feel I've proven that. Just going to see what's out there for me.  If the Packers want me back, I'll come back. It may not work here, but it may work somewhere else."

Driver also made it clear that his goal remains to play in the NFL until he's 40 years old, or two more full years. Driver turns 38 in February.

Green Bay is unlikely to award him that opportunity.

The Packers gave Driver a one-year, $2.3 million deal in May of last year. The contract included an initial roster bonus of $1.2 million, which all but guaranteed Driver would make the final 53-man roster. However, what followed was Driver's most unproductive season since his rookie season in 1999. The veteran caught just eight passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns, and Green Bay made a healthy Driver inactive in both Week 17 and the NFC Wild Card Round and four of the last six games.

Now, both Driver and Jennings could be wearing different uniforms in 2013.

When asked if there was a difficult part about leaving the only franchise he's ever known, Jennings instead sounded ready to take on another challenge in another city.

"I don't know if there is a difficult part," Jennings said. "Like I said, I'm excited for the future. Football is going to be football I'm excited for that."

As recently as 2009, the Packers received 1,000-yard seasons from both Jennings and Driver. Overall, the two have combined to catch 1,168 passes for 16,674 yards and 114 touchdowns over 21 total seasons in Green Bay.

With 743 receptions and 10,137 yards, Drivers ranks first in Packers franchise history in both categories. Jennings is seventh in both receptions (425) and yards (6,537).

The Miami Dolphins, who are led by former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, could be a potential landing spot for both players. Free agency begins in early March.

Photo: Scott Venci, Green Bay Press-Gazette

Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at zachkruse2@gmail.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (53) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Tyler Hodge's picture

St Louis might be a potential landing spot for Jennings. They need a big time receiver

KennyPayne's picture

2 great Packers thx for the memories. Think the Pack is really going to miss GJ. End of an era.

cow42's picture

2012 stats (combined)...

44 catches
443 yards
6 touchdowns

Packers will be fine.

Cobb, Jones, Nelson, Ross, Boykin is still more than most teams have. You can win without having a deep receiving corp. Just ask...

SAN FRANCISCO
SEATTLE
BALTIMORE
WASHINGTON
NEW ENGLAND
MINNESOTA
CHICAGO
DENVER
HOUSTON
INDIANAPOLIS

What you need... is BALANCE!

pooch's picture

Rid of,Jennings,hawk,woodson,sign a stud on defense,linebacker,safety,defensive tackle,something out there,we more than have enough recievers,God trade for Joe Thomas,what a dream that would be,need o line coach,o.c.,d.c,Mike Singeltary D.C.,maybe he could teach D how to play defense

Jim - KBK's picture

Agreed, lets shore up the O-line, hopefully with Sherrod & Bulaga(?). If we can do that we can use two receiving TE's. Would love to see Quarless and some of Smith.

Jim - KBK's picture

Oops, meant Williams and re-read. I was thinking a more balanced passing attack. You are saying balance all around.
Agree with that too. I think we have the talent in many "O" skill positions where we can shuffle around and promote.
Just get big mean bodies in the draft this year. Regardless of O or D. Need to get more physical on the lines.

KennyPayne's picture

Well those who want to "WIN" like Minny, Chic., and Washington are simply having a different conversation. My goal for a team that has a top 3 QB is to at least make it to the NFC Chamionship not to be dominated in the divisional round.

Even then if you want to win on a big stage without a deep receiving corps, you better have a great D (SF, Seattle) a dominant running game (SF, Seattle, Wash. And Houston) or both the Pack has neither.

Also, Atlanta has a sterling receiving corps (White, Jones, Gozalez) and NE is not too shabby with Welker, Gronk, and A Hernandez.

cow42's picture

NE just spreads the ball to anyone with a RB,TE, or WR # on. The whole is better than the individual parts BECAUSE THEIR LINE IS SO GOOD THAT EVERYONE HAS TIME TO GET OPEN.

That's all I'm saying.

I jut don't think a team needs to be loaded at wr in order to be successful. The world is brimming with 5'10" fast dudes that can catch and run. There aren't many 300 lb'ers w/ feet and bend.

kennypayne's picture

Agreed about NE spreading it out to all - impressive what they did today without Gronk.

Also, fully concur that the NE line is elite. Mankins is the guard I'd like Sitton to be.

pooch's picture

Add Woodson and Hawk to that list,17million salaries,go F.A and sign a stud on D

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Who?

Devil Doc's picture

Anothny Spencer.

Bearmeat's picture

He's not a stud. He's plateaued out in Dallas. Perry has a higher ceiling.

Not worth the $. Just like most FA.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Agree completely.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Ah, no.

Rotten Commish's picture

unfortunately I think they will need to cut Woodson, Hawk, Finley just to sign free agents: Matthews, Rodgers, Raji. Rodgers will get a $10M per year raise.

Kevin VG's picture

Does anyone know the franchise tag price for Jennings? Is it ridiculous for a one year contract at that price? I'm sure we will be fine without Jennings, but I like his abilities and what he can bring to the offense.
Also, people are saying sign a stud defense player in FA. Who are the big names hitting FA this year?

cow42's picture

$10 mil - ish, I'm guessing.
-
-
-
-
-
Dashon Goldson
Anthony Spencer
Paul Kruger
Connor Barwin (I've loved this dude since his combine)

A-rodg's Mustache's picture

Would take Kruger or Barwin in a hot minute. More Kruger than Barwin. But Would not mind Golson either.
We REALLY missed a Nick Collins type saturday night.

Bearmeat's picture

TT would have to dump Wood, Hawk, Jennings, Driver, and put resigning either Clay or BJ on hold. Just to afford ONE of those guys. And that's not even considering that ARod is something like the 15th best paid QB in the NFL right now and his deal is up after 2014.

The $ doesn't work out for a veteran team to be able to afford FA AND pay their guys in house. TT will always pick the latter.

cow42's picture

I have zero problem dumping every one of the guys you listed along with Finley to get Krueger or Barwin.

CSS's picture

Barwin is an absolute tease. His actual play on the field is nowhere near the athletic ability he flaunted at the combine and in workouts. Fools gold.

pooch's picture

REGGIE REGGIE REGGIE dont know

MarkinMadison's picture

The NFLPA projects that the 2013 cap number for a WR will be $10.35 M. IMHO that is too much to pay for Jennings given the other needs on the team. Reasonable minds may differ. Certainly the Packers WR corps looked better with Jennings than without him, but the hard fact is that he is 29, missed 8 games this year and 3 games in 2011.

DD, what can you say? He can probably still play somewhere, but we really don't know because he was hardly on the field this year. When he was, he did not look as sure handed as in the past. All the broken fingers from #4 and #12. I'd head South if I was in his shoes.

MarkinMadison's picture

2013 D Free Agents of Note

Paul Kruger, OLB, Ravens - 26, 270lbs. 9 sacks, 1 INT and 6 PDs this year

Terrance Knighton, DT, Jacksonville - 26, 6'3" 330lbs. Could allow you to put Raji out at Pickett's position. Pickett could then rotate in as a backup for either Raji or Knighton.

Dannel Ellerbe, ILB, Ravens, 27, 92 tackles, 4.5 sacks.

Anthony Spencer, OLB, Dallas, 28, 95 tackles, 11 sacks.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Barf.

A-rodg's Mustache's picture

Why Fitz?
Immetiate help for a team with a win now mindset from its fanbase.

Bearmeat's picture

Agreed. Barf. Not worth the $. None of them.

Evan's picture

Especially when the Packers have a laundry list of their own guys to resign.

Rodgers and Matthews and Raji, yes. But you know Shields is going to get RFA attention too. And James Jones soon enough.

Also, how many off-seasons are people going to get their hopes up for a big FA signing. It's not going to happen.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

I don't see any of those players being a noticeable upgrade over our current stable, if all healthy/available.

I'm all for bringing in some juice via F.A., all for it - but nobody listed there gets me excited. Like Meat said, it's all about the $$$. And those guys will get over paid, but not by Ted.

CSS's picture

Fitzgerald=logic bomb for the win.

Bugeater's picture

If Donald isn't gonna take those jersey's he can send them my way!

Mojo's picture

Just reading between the lines, but it appears to me Jennings does NOT want to come back to GB even if they offer him around the same as another team would. His comments about the business aspect of the NFL is a veiled shot at the GB hierarchy. I wonder if he doesn't care much for QB1 either. Seems to imply numbers 4 and 80 were given a raw deal(which I totally disagree with). Plus he might just not care for the city of GB - the weather et al. Also, I wonder how much of what his sister spouted orginated from him. He never really disavowed anything she said.

On another note, I've been watching the Houston - NE game. It's amazing how much of the NE offense is generated on short crossing patterns and check-downs. They're more than content with 5 to ten yard passes and YAC. They then mix in a number of runs. Simple - but they seem to score on every other drive. And because most of their passing game is short to medium, their stiff of a QB rarely gets hit, much less sacked. Just think the Pack might want to look harder at that type of attack. Of course NE has a pretty good o-line.

Liz's picture

My point exactly. Stop going for kills on 3 and 5. I get that NE likes TEs and slot sets and we like to spread and have the WRs to do it. But on those third and manageable short quick pass.

MarkinMadison's picture

I heard a radio person say recently that they thought DD was the source of Shannon Sharpe's negative comments about #12. Finley's agent goes off. GJ's sister goes off. What's up with all of this? He seems like an o.k. guy on his radio show.

cow42's picture

Problem is - that short stuff works best against defenses that have to bring extra people to get pressure. If you don't bring extra rushers at Brady you'll never get him... because his line's unbelievable.

Pretty much any NFL team (and a couple of NCAA teams) can put pressure on Rodgers with just 4 guys... that means 7 dudes are flooding the secondary... they don't even have to worry about a possible run.

Also - NE runs a ton of routes that cross the entire field. Rodgers would get sacked 3 or 4 times before Finley got from the right sideline to the left.

The difference is in the lines.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

That's the vibe I'm getting from Jennings. No idea why. Green Bay drafted him, made him a millionaire, got him a ring, and the fan base loves him. Maybe there's some behind the scenes stuff going on, or maybe he's not the great guy I thought he was all these years.

I watched that game too. The Pats offense is a fast paced machine. I think our skill position players are as good as a whole, but the difference is Brady has a fantastic O-line, makes the whole thing possible. Just thought I'd mention the O-line, as I don't see anybody else had.

imma fubared's picture

So does Wilson, Kamerdink, Mannings etc. They all have time to pass. They have a luxory of going deep that Rogers no longer has.

Sherod wasn't that good when he played, Newhouse is a bust, Beluga has a hip injury and they can be very problematic for big people and Saturday is hanging them up so the O line has to be the priority at a time when the defense needs to shuttle some dead weight: Walden, Zombo, Hawk, Neal.

All of the above will take at least two drafts at least to get back to a balanced team.

Evan's picture

Newhouse is not a bust.

Jamie's picture

I'm sad that GJ and DD can't be Packers for life, but I'm not sad to see them go based on the way things played out.

Let's be real, GJ changed after we won a Super Bowl. He started self promoting like a mofo with his "Be Great" schtick. It stopped being about the Packers, and all about Greg Jennings.

I mean the guy gave interviews this entire season talking about how he wasn't going to be retained. How is that healthy for team chemistry? How is that conducive to winning a Super Bowl? It's not, it's all about Greg Jennings.

It's one thing to make all the money you can next season, but why not just give one interview in the offseason, and then not talk about it until the season's over? And your telling me GJ's sister's comments weren't influenced by GJ? Please.

As for DD, the game has simply passed him by. The fact of the matter is that he was given snaps earlier in the year and he was either not getting open, or dropping the passes thrown to him. He just has this idea in his mind that he can play at the same level til he's 40, but that's just not based in reality.

A-rodg's Mustache's picture

+1 for the comments about GJ. Hes become all about "him-smelf". Being great is about doing it more than once. Once is an abberation. Great is the 80's niners and the 00's Pats.

Plus this attitude of his has been coming for a long time. Anyone remember his guest apperance on criminal minds or NCIS? He wants the Jennings Brand. Good guy at one time, big head now.

Personally I think we see DD in South beach possibly with GJ.

And ur right, from gregs mouth to valencias trwitter is not too far fo a stretch to connect the dots.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

+2 on both counts.

Bob Tundra's picture

It will be a sad day if, and when, Jennings and Driver leave GB. They both gave us so much through the years and helped make GB a great team. If they do leave, I do not want them to go to an NFC North team like the vikings. I cannot stand the thought of either of them in purple. It'd almost be like Favre all over again.

Point Packer's picture

Very sad about this being DD's last game as a Packers. Greg too, but really DD. He is a great Packer and will be remembered that way.

imma fubared's picture

Throw in Findley, Hawk, Neal, Zombo, Walden, Williams, Saturday and maybe a few others too.
Time to rebuild the D to give Mathews some support.
Hopefully his performance or lack on in the 9ers game was a fluke. If not, this team is in deep do do next year.

Charlie M's picture

Neal does not need to go. At all. 4.5 sacks in 9 games. I can't believe I'm saying this but I wouldn't be upset if Tramon was cut. He'll turn 30 in March and is making 6.2 in 2013 and 7.2 in 2014. One of the things I loved about him before he hurt his shoulder was his physicality. He's just not the same player anymore, it doesn't appear.

pooch's picture

Paul Kruger would look awesome in green and gold

Devil Doc's picture

A list of 50 players that are FA this upcoming offseason:

http://nfltraderumors.co/nfltr-features2013-nfl-free-agents/

Wouldn't mind seeing a play for Anthony Spencer (29), or maybe some of the OL on that list. I think Danny Amendola could be a solid addition, he's a poor man's Wes Welker.

I try not to get excited about FAs anymore though...build through the draft right?

Evan's picture

It's funny. Eight weeks ago everyone would have agreed that the Packers biggest needs were center and RB. EDS and Harris seem, to me at least, to have changed that quite a bit. I like Harris a lot. What do people think of EDS? To my untrained eye he seemed to play well.

Their biggest needs imo are: Interior OL, DL, LB, WR. But above all that, they need an infusion of nastiness and toughness.

Devil Doc's picture

I still think they need a RB. Not many teams have a RB that can carry the load by themselves, and you see more RBBC. I think the Packers need to do the same thing.

Evan's picture

Yeah, I agree with that. Someone complementary. But I just don't think it's a top priority as it was two months ago.

Joe's picture

I've assumed all year that Donald would be gone, but I still can't understand why they didn't put him in and toss a couple passes his way when the game was esentially over. (Down 21 with 3:30 to go).

dawg's picture

Jennings got a big head, let-em go!
NEEDS: OL coach, OL,DL, LB's and a hard hitting safety.
This team needs an attitude! See SF-NE.
Bishop even stated, this team needs a new mind set.

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