Michael Jenkins' impact on James Jones
July, 30, 2011
By Kevin Seifert | ESPN.com
Mike DiNovo/US PresswireIt doesn't appear James Jones will be headed to Minnesota.GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A synergy of sorts settled moments after ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that free agent receiver Michael Jenkins had agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings. As I sat in the media room at Lambeau Field, I wondered: Does this mean James Jones now has a better chance of returning to the Green Bay Packers?
Backtracking a bit: We've discussed the natural connection between the Vikings and Jenkins, whose career with the Atlanta Falcons overlapped that of new Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. Jenkins will be the only Vikings offensive player who will know the scheme from the moment he steps foot in training camp. He'll be a reliable target for quarterback Donovan McNabb amid a veteran group that will be struggling to catch up schematically.
The Vikings, of course, have a big hole to fill after bidding farewell to free agent Sidney Rice. They've had at least some discussions with the agent for Jones, who remained unsigned as of Saturday evening, and have a long history of signing former Packers players. I'm not sure if Jenkins' signing rules out Jones' candidacy in Minnesota, but it almost certainly means the Vikings wouldn't feel compelled to commit big money to him.
So what does that mean for the Packers and Jones? According to ESPN's John Clayton, the New York Jets are still courting him. The Arizona Cardinals have interest as well. The Packers haven't bowed out of the conversation, according to Clayton, but it's not clear if they're willing to pay top dollar for a player who likely would be their No. 3 receiver.
General manager Ted Thompson didn't shed much light on the situation a few moments ago in his annual pre-camp news conference. Asked about the possibility of re-signing some of the Packers' unrestricted free agents, Thompson said: "Rest assured that the fans should know that we're doing everything we can to be a good football team."
I asked Thompson if he would be influenced from an unusually strong lobbying effort by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who said earlier this week that James should be the team's top priority in free agency. Thompson's reply: "All of our players and all of our free agents are very well liked in the locker room and I get little things like that from time to time."
Thompson asked reporters and fans to "hang with us" through the frantic first days of free agency. So we'll do that. We've got nothing better to do on a Saturday night, anyway. Back with you after practice.