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The back and forth on Jennings, Finley in Green Bay

Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. No.

Enough!

As free agency inches closer by the day, as the NFL combine winds down this week, as a negotiating window between free agents and teams opens March 9, the back and forth on what previously seemed certain gets more convoluted.

This applies specifically to the situation in Green Bay surrounding wide receiver Greg Jennings and tight end Jermichael Finley.

Let me address Finley first:

Remember that the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal reported in mid December the Packers had decided to part ways with Finley after the season. The reason for this divorce was said to be Finley's dropped passes, inconsistent production and a little bit of an attitude toward his work and place on the team.

Well, over the weekend the same newspaper, indeed the same reporter, reported  the certainty of December has become muddled in February. Yes. No. Yes. No.

Apparently, the team is "torn" whether or not to get rid of Finley -- most likely by simply cutting him.

So that, by definition means he might stay. So that, by definition means we will have wasted many minutes, words and brain cells on this topic. For nothing.

Bottom line here is Finley might remain with his team even as many Dolphins fans considered him a possibility for their team.

(You remember the post I put up a few days ago about how fans and media often react faster than the teams relative to rumors of players becoming available? Now you see why teams take a more systematic approach.)

So Finley might not be available.

The Packers, meanwhile, are not denying the rumor that Greg Jennings, a couple of weeks from hitting free agency and an almost certain target of the Dolphins, might be franchised.

That rumor was floated over the weekend by The NFL Network.

And Green Bay GM Ted Thompson, who once interviewed to be Miami's GM although he didn't get the gig, didn't dispel the rumor in any way.

"We think it’s a good way to manage the NFL if you’re able to retain your own players," Thompson said at the NFL combine, "We’d very much like to do that, and that includes Greg."

So the player who was certain to hit free agency now might be franchised. Yes. No. Yes. No.

Of course, this begs the question: Why?

The Packers clearly are not in a cap position to invest the approximate $10.4 million cap hit on Jennings it would cost. They have talent at wide receiver. Jennings is coming off an injury-filled season. And he's going to be 30 years old.

So he's the franchise tag target?

Well, there's this theory from yours truly:

Perhaps the Packers are fully aware there will be interest in Jennings, including from the Dolphins and want to somehow work in a way to get something in return for the player. The only way to do that is to tag him and then let another team work out a trade for the player and sign him to a new deal.

Why is this possible?

Well, the Packers might want to get, say, a fifth-round pick out of the deal. And a team that knows it will be chasing Jennings might not mind giving up such a pick in exchange for the certainty of getting the player in trade rather than fishing for him in unrestricted free agency.

That alone might convince the Packers to tag Jennings, if only temporarily.

There's also the possibility the Packers simply don't want to lose a good player but also don't want to commit to him long-term because of his age and recent injury history. So a one-year franchise tag keeps him in Green Bay but doesn't commit the team to the major guaranteed money Jennings is seeking.

Both are possible.

By the way, the same newspaper and again the same reporter that reported the back and forth on Finley today tweeted that Joe Philbin isn't a huge fan of Jennings. I buy that. But that's because I don't think Philbin is a "huge fan" of many players. He's frankly a cup of coffee short of a coma. The guy doesn't get too high about anyone. And he doesn't get too low about anyone.

He simply is ... steady.

He's not jumping on tables for anybody.

The Dolphins plan to talk to Jennings at this point. That has not changed.

Now, you want my opinion on this Jennings matter? If not, you are finished. Go to the comments section. If so, read on.

Opinion:

I don't think the Packers are going to tag Jennings because 1. They can't spare that kind of cap space. 2. They don't usually play games like that. 3. Having Jennings at over $10 million in 2013 would mean he's making more than quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is scheduled to make $9.25 million, and that is not good for your cap structure.

Remember we had this very discussion last year with Matt Flynn. Would the Packers tag Flynn to get something, anything for him before he hit free agency? Ultimately, the team didn't tag Flynn.

Jennings may obviously be a different case. But I don't see Thompson as being a different person. Just a guess.

I suppose the point of all this is we don't have certainty on Jennings or Finley. Two months ago Finley was off the Packers. Now, he's possibly on the Packers. A month ago, Jennings was done in Green Bay. Now, he might get tagged.

Yes. No. Yes. No. 

Comments

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odin,

Although the operative word is PRODUCTION as you stated given that V.Burfict after being the Combine weak link last Yr. had himself one HELL of a Rook campaign in Cin. along with Maualuga who was to slow by all accounts playing MLB at USC and is a really solid and steady Pro for them as well on one of the best young D's in Football basically led by a couple of guys some teams wrote off after these glorified Money Try-outs.

Polian said today Teo won't be able to play on 3rd down in the NFL and it will be hard for teams to justify taking him in the first round. Also he did mention how disappointing his speed was.

He has never in his life drafted a good playmaker.

Posted by: Fire Ireland Now | February 25, 2013 at 11:09 PM
=========

This must be Lil Smalls Twin Brother. Genetic issues and all.

Ireland Drafted Reshad Jones and he's turn into a Good Playmaker.

Stick Around Son, you just might learn something(NOT - ROTFLMAO).

odinseye | February 25, 2013 at 11:16 PM

As the Scouting Director at Dallas Ireland actually did a good job finding guys for them to draft or sign as Rook FA's (Romo, M.Austin, J.Ratliff, A.Gurode, K.Kosier ect..)

My issue with him is being in charge of building the entire thing from the ground up. He has in this capacity woefully underwhelmed but given he's back and seems to have a more competent group of Coaches around then I guess I will cross my fingers he finally got it or he will be toast regardless in 2014 given his heavy bounty to deal from if this team tanks.

This isn't Loria and the shaddy Marlins in a Sport with close to ZERO Governing Commission. Ross gets his piece of the League revenue and has to put 90% into the pot so then why would he not look to field a winner when his real money comes from his Stadium on Sundays? If Ireland doesn't get it done Ross will in my estimation pull the plug early after next Yr., as in the minutes after week-17.

I was watching ESPN2 review of the combine. Lot's of speedy sure handed receivers and we have picks. There is no need to pay up for Wallace(most drops in the NFL last year), I think some of these guys will be better and much cheaper.

Cheapskate Ross and the Dolphins are WORSE then the Marlins. At least the Marlins have 2 recent WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!

The Marlins are a better hung group too. The fins draft tiny package players.

Fin4,

With your memory, I wouldn't be surprised if you remember how hard I hoping for us to draft Maualuga. I had a few pegged for that spot and I wouldn't have minded us landing him.

Teo **COULD BE** similar in that he hasn't graded out real well, hasn't tested real great, but he goes out and gets the job done on Sundays.

I won't ever compare him to Zach, but Zach was one of the Big Under Dog stories. I love it when that happens and when it turns out they're Dolphins, even better!

Someone earlier said Ireland and Philbin will be gone if they don't have a good draft and get us at least to the Wildcard Game. I disagree with them, I think Philbin is safe unless there are some kind of crazy extenuating circumstances. In other words, I believe Philbin is safe regardless.

Ireland is a different story. If he doesn't improve this team big time with this off season, he's gone. The ONLY thing I'll disagree with you on is where you said Ireland will be gone **MINUTES** after the season ends. I don't believe he'll last that long. I think he'll be gone in **Nano-Seconds** after the last game-lol.

Polian said today Teo won't be able to play on 3rd down in the NFL and it will be hard for teams to justify taking him in the first round. Also he did mention how disappointing his speed was.

Posted by: Carl | February 25, 2013 at 11:43 PM

Polian knows more than I do, thats for sure.

As slow as Teo clocked, he did manage to rack up some int's.

Will he be like Mualuga or Zach?

Or will he be like that Linebacker the Seahawks drafted some years back? Brian......something or other.....?

Time will tell because SOMEBODY is going to take him and hope for the best.

Yep Carl, the WR's in this draft class made it interesting. For not having any so-called Top Tier, Blue Chippers, this group put on a good showing at the combine.

I had a rough idea of where I was ranking most of them Pre-Combine. Now it's all muddled up again.

I know it's an excercise in futility, but every year I prepare a "Big Board" with all the information available to me. I don't know why, it's a sickness I guess, but when it comes to Arm-Chair GM-ing, I'm a Junkie.

The point I'm trying to make, with this groups performance, I've had to ALMOST start all over on my rankings. Alot of surprises and alot of guys helping their cause quite a bit. It's been great(I just hope that ALL the groups aren't this confusing-lol).

Bozworth!

Dooh!

Carl I'm fairly certain the Fins pick up a high profile free agent WR this off season. Ireland needs a player that makes an impact right away. Not to say a rookie wideout can't make an impact, but an experienced wideout stands a better chance of doing so.

Posted by: Darkoak | February 26, 2013 at 12:44 AM

Depends on how you define impact.

Hartline/Bess combined for only two tds recieving last year. Probably as many as 5 wr's in this current draft I believe can come in, and year one get 5 tds recieving.

Hell, if Hartline/Bess combined for 5 tds in 2012, depending on which game you measure, we easily finush 9-7 instead of 7-9.

Yes, only 3 more total tds between both and we could have easily won 2 more games last season.

Yup, a total of 3 more combined tds from Hartline/Bess and we're 9-7 instead of 7-9. Possibly even 10-6.

10-6 would have tied us with the Bengals for last wildcard spot. We're in the playoffs because we beat the Bengals 17-13 last year.

We had 4 losses last year by 5pts or less. The things that makes you go hmmm....?

I'd say 8-10 TD's and close to 1200-1500 yards receiving would equate to "impact" in my mind.

We also lost the 1st Pats meeting only 23-17. Another td in that game we upset them.

Amuch better set of td scoring wr's and we could add as many as 5 wins(12-4) to our 2012 win total. Just food for thought for those thinking Hartline/Bess werent that bad.

Darkoak,

A wr like that in 2012, we're easly 12-4. We lost 4 games by less 5pts and one to the Pats by only 7pts.

darkoak,

Without Reggie Bush's 8tds in 2012, we're probably 4-10 or 5-11. Yet, many here are quiker to say keep Hartline and let Bush walk.

Food for thought.

Yup and that kind of production is what Ireland will pray he's probably overpaying for. I'm not sure how the team feels about Rishard Mathews. If they feel he's ready for prime time, and we make a big splash in FA for a wideout, we may not pick a WR in the first 3 rounds.

Darkoak,

It took Reggie Bush 3 games to fully recover from the knee injury. Or he easily cracks 1,000 yds rushing and maybe adds 2 more tds.

So with over 1,000 yds tushing and 10 tds, would you also qualify Bush as an "imapct player"?

He would have pretty much matched your wr criteria for it.

Rishard Matthews is listed as 6'0 217 lbs. He ran a 4.47 forty at the 2012 combine. He's not going to blow the top off of a defense, but that firty time isnt to shabby for a 217 lb wr.

He's deinitely worth keeping and developing.

We gotta draft at least 1 wr. It would be plain foolish not to with 5 picks in the 1st 82 players.

A starting RB will typically get 25-30 touches a game. Best wideouts that produce get maybe 8-10 targets a game. It's a little different, in that the wideouts do it in bigger chunks and with less touches.

I'm not sure there is a wideout in FA this year that matches the criteria I mentioned, maybe Wallace if he lives up to his potential and his talents are game planned perfectly.

I'm not a big fan of using free agency to correct a teams weaknesses, if you pick the wrong player it messes the team up financially and development wise. Ireland is on the hot seat, he's going to spend.

Rishard Matthews 2012 combine scouting report:


Strengths


Matthews is a very strong receiver in traffic and, although he has trouble separating and getting open against defenders, he is reliable to make the contested catch and get up field with the ball. He has a good feel within his routes for defenders around him and is able to get his hands on balls with some flashy production. He is not that athletic but has good balance and is able to break arm tackles.

Weaknesses


Matthews is a slow mover who labors in space. He does not display quickness off the line and struggles to get his feet moving. He can get jammed and off-routed because of this, and it will be difficult for him to overcome at the next level.

So there's nothing to suggest Rishard Matthews will be a pro bowler anytime soon. Seems to match the mold ofthe wr's(Hartline/Bess) we already have.

Solid, but far from spectacular.

Now I see why it took so long for Matthews to see the playing field. What was it, the last 2-3 games?

Hey as long as he can come in on 4 receiver sets he may fit the bill. That's assuming we snag a difference maker in free agency or the draft.

Darkoak,

We gotta have more than 1 wr capable of "SCORING TDS".

Even with a Wallace, he'll get doubled and the same wr's striggling to get separation and not scoring tds will still be exposed.

Why even draft a qb 8th overall if youre only going to give him kibbles and bit and 1 lovely hors duerve to throw to.

Im fine with Hartline/Bess yardage production. But it means crap if they cant finish that production off with tds. If you guys are fine with that fine.

But if the team continues to striggle to win games(TDS COUNT MOST) then dont complain about the losing ways.

Plus, A great wr is great to have, problem is there arent enough for everyone to have one. As great as Megatron was in 2012, the Lions wr corps was pure crap afte Calvin Johnson.

As great as Megatron was, the Lions finished 4-12 last season. I much rather have 2-3 very good wr's, than only 1 great wr. Odds ar you'll have a much more difficult wr corps to deal with.

Everyone needs to be able to sore. Unless something's changed about the game. That is still how you eventually win.

Not claiming it's a perfect situation be any means.

Green Bay has been a fine example the least 2-3 season. Not one truly beast wr, just a bunch of wr's that know the way to the endzone.

Gimme a wr with 5 receptions 50 yds 3 tds in the same game. And I'll take that production over a wr with 15 catches 300 tds and 0 tds that game.

The guy with the 5 rec 50 yds and 3 tds is most likely to be the team that "WINS" that game.

Irland needs to draft da'rick Rogers in the third round. This guy will be a steal in this draft.

Irland needs to draft da'rick Rogers in the third round. This guy will be a steal in this draft.

Posted by: Mark from Charlotte | February 26, 2013 at 02:07 AM

I say we can draft Patterson in rd 1, Hunter in rd 2, and Rogers in rd 3 and have the full Volunteers lineup at WR!

All of you guys are crazy if you think Teo is going to call out of the first round. He might fall to us with the 12th pick. But if he fall past that teams might be willing to trade up to get him. Remember teams act like they hate every player this time of the year unless they know how much you like a player and try to convince you to trade up to get him. And every year after the draft. Always says how they had to look at the whole body of work and not just one game or the combine. So everybody needs to remember that. Also MLB is a position of need. And we could very easily get other positions filled with our other draft picks....... THOUGHTS?

Jeff row,

Teo's draft status is in real trouble and that is no B.S. The slow 40 time and alabama game confirms that he is a two down linebacker in the NFL. You dont spend a #1 pick on a two down linebacker. Ive been an Ireland supporter- one of the few on these message boards. If Ireland drafts Teo at 12, I will officially be on the FIreland band wagon.

Don't bother with Finley. We don't need a TE who has the droppsies. Trade down in the draft and get Tyler Eifert! He is a differnce maker. Keep Bush and Long. We can't keep letting our franchise players walk. Third place just ain't good enough every year.

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