Three years ago, the Green Bay Packers agreed on a relatively short contract extension with receiver Greg Jennings. The deal resolved a short-term problem by adding about $27 million to Jennings' compensation, giving him an annual average commensurate with elite receives. It also added a challenge: The sides would be back at the negotiating table no later than in the early months of 2013 -- giving Jennings a relatively rare opportunity for a lucrative third contract.
Jennings will be eligible for free agency after this season unless the Packers re-sign him before next March or place the franchise tag on him. Often teams attempt to do big deals before the start of the preceding regular season, but if a deal is near, Jennings sure wasn't letting on during an interview Tuesday morning with ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning."
Jennings said his future is "kind of up in the air" and added: " I definitely want to be here, but understanding the nature of the business, you never know. There is really nothing else I can really say or do. The ball is not in my court at all. I have to play the cards that I'm dealt. Right now it's football. That's my focus."
If the ball is "not in my court at all," as Jennings said, it's reasonable to assume the Packers haven't made what Jennings would consider a serious offer. That doesn't mean they don't want him back, but it probably reflects the coming cash and cap crunch the Packers face as their talented roster matures. As we've discussed before, Jennings joins quarterback Aaron Rodgers, linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive tackle B.J. Raji as key players who are either facing contract expiration in the next couple years or are considerably underpaid.
Jennings has already taken in about $24 million of that 2009 extension and is set to earn about $4.5 million in salary and bonuses for 2012. Stay tuned.