Packers sign Jennings
“We didn’t feel like there was any need for me to sit out and choose not to participate. That was not the route I wanted to go,” Jennings said Wednesday after the team formally announced the deal and wrapped up its three-day mandatory minicamp.
Jennings reportedly received $16 million in guaranteed money on the deal, which adds three years to his contract. Jennings was set to receive a $535,000 base salary in 2009, the final year of the deal he signed as a second-round pick from Western Michigan in 2006.
Jennings will be an unrestricted free agent again following the 2012 season. The extension reportedly could be worth as much as $31 million if Jennings plays at a Pro Bowl level. Last year, Jennings, who caught a career-best 80 passes for 1,292 yards and nine touchdowns, was an NFC Pro Bowl first alternate behind Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona’s Anquan Boldin, Carolina’s Steve Smith and Atlanta’s Roddy White.
“We’re excited for Greg Jennings’ future here; there is no doubt,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “I think Greg is a young man that has developed here in Green Bay and I can’t say enough about him personally. I like the way he goes about his business, and he is definitely well deserving of this contract.”
Jennings promised the blockbuster deal wouldn’t make him complacent and vowed to take his game to a higher level, acknowledging that fans will likely expect more.
“My expectations are higher than anybody else’s, I guarantee you that,” Jennings said. “Money is not going to change the player that I am. It probably will change the outlook of fans, thinking that I should produce more, but I should produce more anyway.”
So that’s not a concern of mine.
“I’m going to come out here and be the same guy, and if not the same, I want to be better. And that’s me. I like to improve on anything there is that I do from year to year.”
The Packers still have a large class of soon-to-be unrestricted free agents, a group that includes eight starters: Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins, linebacker Aaron Kampman, nose tackle Ryan Pickett, left tackle Chad Clifton, left guard Daryn Colledge, center/guard Jason Spitz, safety Atari Bigby and defensive end Johnny Jolly.
Tackle Tony Moll and return man Will Blackmon will also be unrestricted free agents after the season.
After Jennings reached his deal, Collins said: “It’s about time. Somebody deserves something.”
“There’s a lot of guys coming up on free agency next year,” said Collins, who skipped virtually all of the offseason program and organized team activity practices but did report for the mandatory minicamp. “ I’m just glad somebody got it. Greg, he’s a great guy and he deserves it. Hopefully things will work out for me.”
Collins hinted that he won’t hold out of training camp, although he wouldn’t say definitively.
“I’m not saying I’m not (coming to training camp), put it that way. I’m here now, and I plan to be here for the rest of the offseason,” Collins said. “I’m not going anywhere. My family’s here. I’m here now. I’m not worried about my contract. I can’t control that. If things work out, they work out. If they don’t, I’m still here.”