Packers Do The Right Thing and Pay Greg Jennings
Wednesday, the Green Bay Packers and wide receiver Greg Jennings announced a three-year contract extension that will make Jennings one of the highest paid wideouts in the game. Let’s see how he got there….
The year was 2006 and the Green Bay Packers had just completed their first day of rookie camps. First year Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was asked how the Pack’s latter second round selection, Greg Jennings, had fared in the team’s camp. McCarthy simply replied, “Oh, we didn’t miss on that one”. The rest is history.
Coming out of college, Jennings entered the draft after breaking just about every receiving record for the Western Michigan Broncos. He was projected as a second-to-third round pick behind the likes of Santonio Holmes, Chad Jackson, Derek Hagan, and Sinorice Moss.
His great route running and even better hands made him a perfect fit for the Packers’ West Coast Offense where he would later thrive. The two knocks on Jennings going into the draft were his lack of size (just 5’11”) and his speed (4.42 forty at the combine). Fast forward three years and you’ll find a guy that has as much game speed and quickness of anyone else in the league and a guy that can go up for a jumpball with the best cornerbacks in the league.
Like McCarthy said on that first day of camp, Jennings was everything but a miss. In his first season, he caught 45 balls for 632 yards and three touchdowns. In that season, he caught Brett Favre’s 400th touchdown and was named to the AP’s All-Rookie Team. Over the next two years, Jennings would amass 133 catches, 2302 yards, and 21 touchdowns as one of the most productive receivers in the league. In Dallas two years ago, he also caught Aaron Rodgers’ first touchdown pass ever.
Maybe even more importantly than all that Jennings has done on the field, it has been his actions off the field that make his contract extension that much sweeter. In a world full of Chad Johnson’s, T.O.’s, and wide receivers that care more about the box score than the standings, Jennings is truly a breath of fresh air.
Not once has he called out a quarterback, demanded the ball more, or showboated after showing. On the contrary, the first thing Jennings does after a score is find his wide receiver counterparts and celebrate with them.
During interviews, Jennings sports a huge smile and talks about how exciting it is to play with Rodgers, get better, and watch his teammates get better as well. He is everything that you could ask for in a wide receiver.
It’s only a matter of time before veteran Donald Driver hangs his cleats up and passes the wide receiver torch to Jennings, but with the way he holds himself there should not be much of a drop off. It is very easy to see the effect that Driver has had on Jennings.
In that same sense, Jennings will now focus his attention to breeding young receivers like Jordy Nelson and James Jones, making sure they play to their full potential and do it the right way.
The Packers now have the potential to create one of the best scoring tandems in team history with Rodgers and Jennings now signed for at least the next four years.
Jennings reminds me a lot of Larry Fitzgerald who doesn’t have the size of a Terrell Owens or the speed of a Chad Johnson. Still, he puts in his time week in and week out, works his tail off, and most importantly has fun playing the game.
All these things combined equaled a big pay day for Jennings, and it could not have happened to a better guy.
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