Free agency: Who will be back in 2011 and who won’t?
With rumors that the NFL Players Association and owners are nearing an agreement that would begin the 2011-2012 NFL season, it is time to look ahead at the Packers’ free agency situation. Since teams are not allowed to talk or negotiate with free agents, there has not been much buzz on which Packers will be back in Green Bay when the season begins. However, here is a look at each free agent and what his odds of staying in Green Bay are.
1. Cullen Jenkins, Defensive End: After a spectacular 2010 campaign in which he racked up seven sacks, Jenkins could be in line for a massive payday when he hits the open market. While excelling in the Packers’ 3-4 defense, Jenkins has also proved himself as a defensive end in 4-3 schemes during his first five seasons in Green Bay (2004-2008). A year ago, Jenkins freed up rushing linebackers with his size and also used his speed to get to the quarterback, all while playing the majority of the season with a broken hand. The Packers drafted defensive ends Mike Neal and C.J. Wilson a year ago and still have Ryan Pickett, Justin Harrell, Howard Green and Jarius Wynn on the roster. Seventh round pick, Arizona State rookie Lawrence Guy, could also break the rotation and the Packers could look at a cheaper defensive end in free agency. Those players, combined with the massive contract Jenkins should receive from another team, makes it likely that Jenkins’ tenure in Green Bay is over.
2. James Jones, Wide Receiver: While the casual fan probably remembers Jones more for his costly drops, his value to the Packers’ offense in 2010 was immense. After tight end Jermichael Finley was lost to a knee injury, Jones improved his play and finished with career highs in receptions (50), yards (679) and touchdowns (5). Unfortunately for the Packers, those numbers for the third, sometimes fourth, option in an offense show that Jones is a starting wide receiver in the NFL. With Greg Jennings signed long-term, Jordy Nelson blossoming and the second round selection of Randall Cobb, Jones should get a chance to start…it just won’t be in Green Bay. If Jones decides winning is more important than money, there is a chance he comes back. But the smart money is on Jones taking the money elsewhere.
3. Brandon Jackson, Running Back:
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