There has been a lot of talk about the Packers dipping their toes into free agency to pick up a veteran receiver. Wes Welker’s name continues to be mentioned, and Green Bay is rumored to be a possibility as a place for him to land.
There even some that think that the Packers should welcome the bridge burning prodigal son Greg Jennings back into the fold. Yeah, you heard that right, Mr. Walking on Eggshells, didn’t want to work with “The guy they have now” as a legitimate possibility of suiting up in green and gold again.
And then there’s the other WR free agents just waiting around with the rest of the kids praying not to be the last one picked for kickball: Michael Crabtree and Reggie Wayne come to mind.
This seems to happen every year during free agency. Fans and pundits alike start drafting wishlists on name recognition alone, fantasizing about snagging that “It” player that will make all the difference in the upcoming season.
But free agency started almost a month ago, and these receivers are still on the market for a reason. They are the equivalent of day old bread. Sure, there are some uses for it, but it’s just going to turn moldy faster than you want. And they are stale as hell.
That’s the problem with free agency wish listing. Everyone remembers how the players were impact performers on their respective teams, often fantasy football superstars. But those accomplishments all occurred years ago, and what’s standing around in the pick me line is a shell of the former player. They are older and more battered then when we were all jockeying in position to outbid each other in fantasy drafts. And that worn-around-edges mystique is clearly not lost on the actual general managers around the league.
Wes Welker shined under two juggarnaut AFC quarterbacks. Heck, he’s scored me plenty of fantasy football points in years past. But I even knew two years ago that if I had him, he’d just be a fill in for when Jordy was on a bye week. He was dependable and unstoppable around the time the Packers won their last Super Bowl, but several concussions later he is sadly a walking poster child for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
And then there’s Greg Jennings. When he’s not blocking people (raises hand) that like to remind him about egg shells, the apparently crap educational system in Wisconsin, the poor excuse for a quarterback he thinks they have and all of the other bridging burning utter nonsense that he has spewed from his mouth, he’s reached a laughable level of desperation. Since the other 31 teams in the league have not come sniffing, he decided to generate some own hype for himself on April’s Fools, complete with teasers on Twitter that we should tune in to see where he signed. (I’ll save you the irritation, it was an April Fool’s joke that took you to a blank page. Really freaking hilarious. And even more desperate for attention.)
But if you can manage to ignore his level of undeniable locker room toxicity and vitriol he has for Green Bay, there’s a good reason no one has signed him. He’s hit his expiration date for an being an impact receiver. At 32, Jennings is a bit of a dinosaur and his performance has dropped off significantly. He’s not the same receiver that scored two touchdowns against the Steelers to help propel the Packers to a victory in Super Bowl XLV.
The same could be said about any of the receivers left on the market. Quite frankly, there’s not much left in the tank. To add to it, their asking prices is still rather high for day old cupcakes. They were cut by their respective teams because their cost to benefit ratio was to high, but that’s not going to stop them for asking potential suitors for the largest pile of cash they can possibly get.
And if we know anything about Ted Thompson, he’s not one to be dazzled on name alone. He isn’t beholden to big names, and when he dips his toe into the free agency pool, it is for very specific reason. Last year the Packers needed to shore up the defense, so he saw a good deal in both Julius Peppers and Letroy Guion. Before that, the big free agent was Charles Woodson.
Honestly, the Packers don’t need any help with the receiving corp. Last year proved it is as stout as it was in 2010 even without the likes of Donald Driver, James Jones and, oh, that guy they used to have named Gregg. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb anchor the receivers, and Davante Adams came on strong as the season progressed. When Jarrett Boykin seemed to no longer effective, the Packers didn’t rush to replace him.
Rather, the team appears to be in a good place to build their receiver corps, like they always do, from within. Badgers’ standout Jared Abbredaris looks to return from an ACL repair. While he may have no pro playing time under his belt, he is one step ahead of any rookies that may join the receivers with his year of bookwork and team meetings. He is well versed in the Packers’ offense and hopes to make an impact this coming season.
And then there’s Jeff Janis. He’s had little regular season on-field experience but he shows flashes of promise in last year’s training camp. Factor in his potential and draft a receiver or two in the later rounds, and the Packers will definitely get more value for the dollar with young talent than paying inflated costs for a veteran receiver past his prime.
Needless to day, it’s not as though the Packers are being ridiculous in passing on these players. I don’t see any of the other 31 teams falling over themselves to sign them. As the opening of free agency moves further in the past and each day grows closer to the 2015 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers will be turning the page on signing free agents–their own whom have worn green and gold included–and focusing all attention into filling the roster with new talent exiting college this year and entering the league.--------------