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Wednesday, March 30, 2011
ChatWrap: No Jenkins with, without Jolly*

By Kevin Seifert

We started off Tuesday's SportsNation chat with a question I've been seeing pretty regularly since Houston police arrested Green Bay Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly last week. Here's how it went:
shane (atl)

i know everything in some way ultimately depends on the cba, but what are the chances of the packers resigning cullen jenkins? i felt he has been a huge part of their defense (when healthy) for years, and now that he is finally getting recognition instead of his over the hill brother, it seems he wont be returning. please tell me im wrong.... also what's the likely fate of the very very stupid johnny jolly (talkin jailtime, i know football is out of the question anytime in near future)?

Kevin Seifert (2:02 PM)

I didn't think there was much of a chance the Packers would re-sign Jenkins before this latest Johnny Jolly news, and I still don't. The Packers were looking at Jolly as a bonus if he did return. Their plan, and this fits along with what they've done at many other positions in recent years, appears to be to plug in some of the young players -- Mike Neal, C.J. Wilson, maybe Jarius Wynn -- to Jenkins' position. Stranger things have happened, but I think they would have re-signed Jenkins before the lockout if they wanted him back.

Jolly has been in jail since Friday awaiting a Wednesday morning court hearing. He's expected to see significant jail time, and I'm guessing the Packers have trashed any plans they might have had for him in the short- or long-term future. *Update: Jolly was denied bond and will remain in jail until at least April 20, the date of his next hearing.

Again, I think the Packers would have re-signed Jenkins during their exclusive window in February if they wanted him back. I don't think Jolly's potential presence played into their decision not to. Instead, it was the presence of Neal, Wilson, Wynn and possibly more names to come from the 2011 draft.

Jenkins was highly productive last season and certainly has some good seasons remaining. But look at the Packers' defense right now. By my count, they've signed seven of their 11 starters to market-level, multi-year contracts in the past two years. You would figure that linebacker Clay Matthews is next, followed at some point by nose tackle B.J. Raji.

Not even the most aggressive NFL teams can have a proven and well-paid starter at every position. Given the landscape of the Packers' contract situation, and their relative depth at defensive end, you can see how Jenkins might be an (unfortunate) odd man out.