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Should Green Bay Packers weigh Greg Jennings trade?


Greg Jennings has begun the final year of his contract and there doesn't seem to be much conversation between agent Eugene Parker and the Green Bay Packers. There are a few opposing thoughts on how to handle the situation.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Bob McGinn suggested trading him before the Oct. 30 deadline.

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Green Bay Press-Gazette columnist Pete Dougherty wrote the franchise tag should be considered.

Jennings is in line for a big-time deal in 2013, whether it's from the Packers or another team. He's averaged 73 catches, 1,155 yards and 8.5 touchdowns per season the past four years and is one of the NFL's best route-runners and playmakers. There's no question whether Jennings deserves, as the kids say, racks on racks on racks. The question is: Can the Packers afford to splurge at their deepest position?

In the next two years the Packers will have to pay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, linebacker Clay Matthews and nose tackle B.J. Raji. All three will command some of the highest dollar amounts of any player at their respective positions.

Wide receiver Vincent Jackson signed with the Buccaneers for five years and $55.55 million, with $26 million guaranteed, during the offseason. Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald has an eight-year, $120 million deal with $50 million guaranteed. The figures in Jennings' deal likely will fall between the numbers of those two.

McGinn argues the Packers could land a second-round, and maybe a first-round, draft pick and save money to spend on the aforementioned trio and other members of the roster. High picks are precious in a draft-and-develop program.

Dougherty approached it as a tag (probably $10 million in 2013) or walk decision.

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It all comes down to general manager Ted Thompson. Jennings isn't giving a hometown discount on what will likely be his last major contract considering he turns 29-years old next week. Can Thompson make the math work to sign Jennings, Rodgers, Matthews and Raji to long-term deals? (I'm no capologist...) The team cannot lose the latter three.

If it's impossible to keep all four, Jennings is the odd man out with Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley as other pass-catching options. But the Packers are a Super Bowl contender right now. If that's the ultimate goal, can you trade your No. 1 receiver in the midst of this season? That's a future vs. present balancing act.

You hate to see a Pro Bowl selection leave via free agency, but it happens. Especially when a team has developed premier talent. Ask the New England Patriots. Ask the Indianapolis Colts. Can't always pay everyone.

I'd make one last run with Jennings in 2012, hopefully get a second ring in three years, make my best offer in the spring and live with the consequences. (Granted, I've yet to be offered a general manager position...)

Best case scenario, a fifth Lombardi Trophy eases the pain of seeing Jennings in a different jersey in 2013.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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