Wednesday whys: Jennings was a priority
Why did the Packers reward Greg Jennings but are in a standoff on a contract extension with Nick Collins?
These are interesting times for the Packers and a couple of former second-round picks, Jennings and Collins. I negotiated their rookie contracts in 2005 and 2006, respectively, and am admittedly biased as a fan of both and a friend of Jennings.
The deal with Greg had to get done. Like Aaron Rodgers a year ago, the Packers made it a top priority to lock in the centerpiece of their future -- and they paid dearly to do so. Jennings was going to break the bank; the only question was when.
Jennings has long been a priority for the Packers, dating to last season. In my biased opinion, he’s been the most underrated receiver in the NFL, due in part to his mild-mannered, high character ways in a position filled with selfish divas. He’s been a quiet and classy team player in Green Bay and a favorite of the two people who matter most to his career, GM Ted Thompson and Rodgers.
Jennings and agent Eugene Parker waited patiently for the right deal. Earlier this spring, when I worked with Eugene on Jason Peters’ contract with the Eagles, Eugene kept asking if I could go up to Green Bay for a few hours and help Greg’s deal get done. I told him that Greg would get top dollar; the Packers would not let him enter his final year without a deal. They did not. More on the particulars of the deal in a future column.
Collins is a bit of a different story. Having played four years on a rookie contract, he expected to be re-upped by now. The last year we were allowed to negotiate five-year deals in the second round was 2005, and although it was met with a lot of resistance by agents, we were able to procure that length for both Nick and our other second-rounder, Terrence Murphy (Murphy played in only a handful of games before having to retire because of a neck issue discovered after an injury on a kickoff return).
Although Collins’ 2009 pay has been escalated to more than $3 million, it’s merely a pittance compared to what he’s seeking long-term. Moreover, Collins’ representative – Sportstars – is the same group that represented Ryan Grant last year in his dispute with the team.
Grant was rewarded as early as the Packers have ever rewarded a player in terms of years of service, and he owes part of that money to a former Packer named Brett Favre. The messy Favre divorce was front and center throughout the summer, and with the Packers needing something positive coming out of their offices, they did something very out of character and extended the contract of Grant, an exclusive rights player with no free agency leverage for years to come. Timing is everything in life; just ask Ryan Grant.
Now the Packers have shown their hand as to who was first priority this year. Collins has waited longer than Jennings and far longer than Grant and made a Pro Bowl only, in his mind, to be stuck on a five-year rookie contract that isn’t even allowed anymore.
Never a dull moment in Titletown, speaking of which….
Why are there reports that Brett Favre has already agreed to a contract with the Vikings?
Brett has been on national television referring to the Vikings as “we,” and no one from the Vikings has ever denied that there’s mutual interest in this happening. As mentioned here many times, Brett wants to play – as he did last year – and the Vikings want him to play for them, as they did last year. It’s d