<
>

Jennings maintains flexibility in new deal

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
By one measure, only two NFL receivers have more lucrative contracts than the one Green Bay's Greg Jennings inked Wednesday. And here's even better news for Jennings: He's in line for another huge payday in the prime of his career.

Wednesday's finalized agreement adds at least $27 million in new money to Jennings' contract over the next three seasons. Only two NFL players have a higher annual average than $9 million: Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald ($10 million) and Detroit's Calvin Johnson ($9.25 million).

(Some consider Carolina's Steve Smith to have a five-year deal worth $53.75 million, giving him an average of $10.75 million. But that deal has also been reported as a six-year deal worth $43.85 million when you peel away incentives. So we'll give Smith an asterisk for now.)

Many of you have asked why the Packers didn't insist on a longer-term contract for a player who is currently 25. Mostly, it's a huge victory for Jennings. Now he will have a chance at free agency before he turns 30. The only explanation I can offer is the Packers would have had to pay more guaranteed money in order to extend the deal for the more typical five or six years. As it is, $16 million of the $27 million is guaranteed.

Based on Jennings' comments Wednesday, any insistence on additional years might have been a deal-breaker.

Jennings: "That was pretty much our game plan if there is to be career after this contract. Again, I can't tell the future, but that was definitely the game plan, to make it a situation where I would have another opportunity to go to the table and redo a deal."

For those interested, New England's Randy Moss and Dallas' Roy Williams also have contracts that average $9 million annually.