With the New York Giants having bounced the Green Bay Packers out of their Super Bowl title defense Sunday, the what-went-wrong analysis has begun in earnest in Wisconsin. Jason Wilde has a story on ESPN Milwaukee in which some Packers players and coaches look back and wish they hadn't let defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins leave via free agency. Jenkins, as we know here on the NFC East blog, signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Eagles last offseason. Now, he's due a $5 million roster bonus in March, so if the Eagles decided for some reason they didn't want to pay that, it's possible he could be a free agent again, and Jason asked him if he'd want to return to Green Bay:
While it appears unlikely that the Eagles will let him go, Jenkins and his family still own their duplex in Green Bay. He said he watched his former team a lot during the season -- "It was hard not to because between the Packers and (Tim) Tebow, that was all that was on TV," he said -- but he sounded Wednesday like he had moved on with his life without the Packers.
Would he consider a return engagement in Green Bay if the opportunity arose?
"I'm going to stay away from even commenting on that one," Jenkins replied. "You kind of move on. Right now, I'm an Eagle, and that's my mindset. I'm going to continue to be an Eagle until they don't want me to be an Eagle anymore. That's my main focus right now. I'm not worried about any of the other ifs, ands or buts."
Any lingering personal regrets aside, it's really hard to imagine the Eagles deciding to part ways with Jenkins, who was one of their best and most consistent defensive players this season, and a rare voice of leadership in the locker room. Jenkins' coaches loved him. His teammates loved him. And he played extremely well.
You never know what kind of decisions are going to be made once it comes time to fit new players under the salary cap or commit long-term dollars to young stars like LeSean McCoy or even, I guess, DeSean Jackson. But if the Packers want Jenkins back, my guess is they're out of luck. The Eagles might have some regrets of their own from last offseason, but signing Jenkins isn't one of them.