Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Packers Give Greg Jennings 3-Year Extension
GREEN BAY -- Greg Jennings played it coy when asked after Tuesday morning's minicamp practice whether he was on the verge of a new contract with the Green Bay Packers.
"What did you hear? Who's your source?" the Packers star receiver joked with a gaggle of reporters at his locker. "It could be. And it could not be."
Turns out, it was.
An NFL source confirmed Tuesday evening that Jennings and the Packers had indeed reached an accord on a multi-year contract extension, although the source said there were still some final details being ironed out. WITI-TV, the Fox affiliate in Milwaukee, first reported that the deal was "done" via a Twitter post late Tuesday afternoon, but the source said the contract had not yet been signed and sent to the NFL offices as of Tuesday evening.
According to ESPN.com, it's a three-year extension that will run through 2012 and includes $27 million in new money -- and could be worth as much as $30 million if he performs at a Pro Bowl level. Jennings will receive more than $16 million in guaranteed money, according to the report.
The deal puts Jennings among the highest-paid wide receivers in the NFL. Atop that list is Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, who signed a four-year, $40 million deal in March 2008 that reportedly included a whopping $30 million in guaranteed money and a $15 million up-front signing bonus.
A second-round pick from Western Michigan in 2006, Jennings was set to make $535,000 this season in the final year of his rookie deal, despite catching a career-high 80 passes last season for 1,292 yards and nine touchdowns. He was a Pro Bowl first alternate behind Fitzgerald, fellow Arizona wideout Anquan Boldin, Carolina's Steve Smith and Atlanta's Roddy White last year.
The extension had been close to being a done deal for about two weeks, but Jennings didn't agree to terms until Tuesday, the source said.
Before the news broke, Jennings vowed that he would not hold out if the negotiations dragged on into training camp, which begins July 31.
"I've got one year on my contract left. Until next year, until that year's up, then I'm in a contract situation," Jennings said. "Regardless of if we get a deal done or not -- this is me being honest -- I'm going to play ball. I'm not the holdout type of a guy."
It won't be an issue now. And by getting the deal done, Jennings avoids the uncertainty associated with the soon-to-expire collective bargaining agreement between the NFL Players Association and the league.
If a new deal isn't reached before March 2010 and the 2010 season becomes an uncapped year, players with four years of experience like Jennings won't become free agents as scheduled; instead, without a salary cap, free agency would not be granted until a player had accrued six credited seasons.
Jennings acknowledged that he has talked with Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins, who is also entering the final year of his rookie contract and has made it known that he wants an extension.
"I've talked to a few guys, Nick in particular. But you know, every situation is a little different. Everyone goes about it a little differently," Jennings said. "Some people give different advice than others."
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers praised Jennings' handling of the contract situation, saying, "He's been professional about it. The team has shown that they're going to take care of the guys for the most part. He's a guy who has been here."
Not that Jennings minded having a little fun by downplaying how close the deal really was to happening earlier in the day.
"Whether a deal is done, in the making, or not in the making, I'm going to be out here practicing, playing hard, trying to give our team the best chance to win. Period," Jennings said. "It's not hard to be patient. I've waited this long. There's no sense in me rushing things now. Good things come to those who wait."
Courtesy of Jason Wilde Wisconsin State Journal