Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Black and Blue all over: Jennings' contract, Part II
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
The Winnebago returned late Tuesday night to Black and Blue headquarters -- only to find more NFC North news. Green Bay and receiver Greg Jennings are close to a three-year contract extension that adds at least $27 million to his current deal, according to ESPN.com's John Clayton and others.
There is $16 million in guarantees within the contract, which has yet to receive final approval from the NFL management council. Here is coverage from the Wisconsin State Journal, Green Bay Press-Gazette and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The $9 million annual average will make Jennings one of the NFL's highest-paid receivers. Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald tops the list at $10 million per year. Just as important, it allows the Packers to cross another name off their list as they enter the difficult period of a young team maturing into contract-extension territory.
Jennings joins quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the "locked up" category. The Jennings deal makes clear to the Packers locker room that strong performers and good citizens will be rewarded. Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson is loathe to spend money on the free-agent market, but he is methodically opening the wallet for his own players.
There are a couple questions remaining in the wake of this near-agreement, and we'll get to them as time permits. Among them:
- Who is next? Safety Nick Collins?
- Why only a three-year duration?
- Which, if any, promising young player is going to get left out of this process?
For now, however, let's take a quick spin around the division:
- Packers backup quarterback Brian Brohm considers last season a "humbling experience," according to Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal.
- The editorial board of the Duluth News Tribune has a sinister explanation for why Minnesota wants to sign quarterback Brett Favre: "By putting number four in purple, Vikings owners are seeing only one color: green. And everyone knows which kind."
- New Detroit nose tackle Grady Jackson has yet to participate in offseason workouts after undergoing knee surgery in February, according to John Niyo of the Detroit News. Jackson wasn't at the opening day of the Lions' minicamp Tuesday and coach Jim Schwartz said: "We're probably a little bit behind where I'd like to be with it. But we're making progress. We'll get him on the field as quick as we can. Grady's obviously not a spring chicken -- I don't think spring or chicken would apply. But we're just trying to limit wear and tear, just trying to be smart with him."
- The Lions' first minicamp practice started slowly but heated up, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
- Schwartz said quarterback Daunte Culpepper has "put the rest of the league on notice that he's back." Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Free Press has the story.
- Here's more coverage of Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler's appearance at a football camp in Williamsburg, Va. Cutler told Tom Robinson of the Virginian-Pilot: "I went to the Pro Bowl last year, and you'd think [Denver is] probably gonna be the place where you're gonna stay the rest of your career. So it's funny how things work out."
- Bears receiver Devin Hester defended Cutler against accusations of immaturity, writes Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune. Hester: "Can't judge a book by its cover. If you haven't sat down and talked to him, how could you say something like that? He's calm in the huddle. He makes us laugh and he jokes around before the ball is snapped. That's the kind of quarterback who is relaxed and says, 'Let's play ball.'"