There’s an interesting dichotomy in how a football team is run and how people react to the game itself. On the field, things happen faster than the time it takes Jerry Jones to get his glasses cleaned. Players like DeMarco Murray go from unknown to fantasy waiver wire darlings overnight. Likewise, we’ve seen players go from franchise savior to car wash attendant in the blink of an eye (See also: Russell, JaMarcus). Because of that, us fans tend to react equally as quick. I make it a point to listen to post-game radio shows and last year, when, after pretty much tea-bagging the rest of the league to the tune of 13 straight wins, the Packers actually lost a game? You would have thought Rodgers ripped off a Mission Impossible-style mask midway through the game to reveal he’s actually Bubby Brister. One game and that’s how irrational fans got.
Thing is, the most successful franchises in the NFL operate in a completely obverse way. The Packers. Giants. Pats. San Fran. Pittsburgh. All of them managed in a levelheaded, calculated manner. Ever see Ted Thompson in a press conference? The man doesn’t goddamn blink, let alone make knee jerk reactions. You think he’s going to go reaching for the panic button the second something goes awry?
But it feels like that’s exactly what Bob McGinn, longtime writer at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is doing when last week he suggested the Packers would be, “Wise to deal Greg Jennings.” Now, disagreeing with McGinn is a lot like slapping the pope. And for the most part, there’s very little to disagree with him on. But this is one that just doesn’t add up. Here’s why:
1.) “In reality, keeping Jennings would just be a quick fix.”
Remember when everyone thought the 90’s Packers would be Super Bowl contenders for the next decade? Then eight years later when Brett Favre was crying and retiring, we all looked back and realized just how fast his prime had evaporated throwing to ‘playmakers’ like Robert Ferguson and Bubba Franks. The point is, when you have the opportunity to fix something, you do. Because you may not get another chance anytime soon. It may be a ‘quick fix’, but with just four touchdowns before yesterday’s Saints game, the Packers are obviously in need of some offensive help. Quick.
2.) “If handled properly, could keep the Packers in the Super Bowl hunt for years.”
Um, what? Here’s currently what trading any player in the NFL will net you in return:
- A 2nd round draft pick or (usually much) lower
- Another player that’s 50 cents on the dollar of what you’re giving up
These are the reasons why no NFL teams make trades anymore. Unless, of course, you’re Dan Snyder or Jerry Jones. And we’ve all seen what raging successes the Skins and Cowboys have been. The fact is, Jennings would command at best, a 2nd round draft pick. And that’s assuming someone like Snyder would be dumb or drunk enough to overlook his recent rash of injuries. So what exactly, would a 2nd round draft pick give you that would keep the Packers “in contention for years?” More importantly, what would a 2nd round pick give you that Jennings, a top-5 WR at his best, doesn’t? Do the Packers have other needs? Sure, but that leads me to…
3.) “They can’t go all-in on Jennings because of their abundance at WR.”
This is by far the biggest myth about the Packers right now. When your best WR at the moment is Jordy Nelson, you don’t have an abundance. I know everyone likes to start throwing that Wes Welker label around as soon as some whitey receiver has a good game or two, but anyone who’s watched Aaron Rodgers this year have to rhumba in the pocket for 10 seconds only to resort to a check down throw in disgust can tell you — their receivers are not getting open. So not only is this droid army of wide receivers a misnomer, it’s one that was created rather hastily based in large part, because of last year’s production. Nelson in particular (15 TD’s 68 catches 1,200+ yards) had an electric 2011, which just exacerbated the ‘Holy shit, no one can stop these guys’ narrative that everyone expected to carry over. Fact is, Nelson had three other seasons in which he caught a COMBINED six touchdowns. So either last year was an aberration, or a sign of things to come. Based on his numbers so far, I think we have our answer. So this leaves us with a decrepit Donald Driver, a stone-handed Jermichael Finley, a young Randall Cobb and James Jones, who, I’m not sure even knows he’s playing football half the time based on his lapses of attention.
So, about trading your best WR again? There’s a myriad of other things McGinn brings up — money, age, injury history, etc. But the fact remains that unless you’re dealing with a headcase (Brandon Marshall) an aging headcase (Randy Moss) or someone who was never that good to begin with (Roy Williams), a talented, high-character receiver like Jennings can prove to be a the difference between an offense that can’t be stopped, and the one that needed ever ounce of effort it could muster to beat the Seahawks. So maybe Jennings is the guy that keeps you, “In the hunt for the Super Bowl for years.”