Anquan Boldin and Roddy White likely are keeping a close eye on the details of the contract extension that Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jenningsagreed to Wednesday. Boldin and White, both Pro Bowl receivers, have been in extension talks for months with the Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons, respectively, and each would like to be paid
$9 million-plus per year.
Depending on the perspective, Jennings' new deal might have strengthened or weakened their leverage to do so. Jennings will be paid up to $31 million over four years -- less than $8 million annually -- if he hits certain incentives. The contract puts Jennings among the NFL's higher-paid receivers but not quite in the $10 million-per-year stratosphere of CardinalsPro Bowl wideout Larry Fitzgerald -- the monetary high mark for arguably the best player at the position.
Jennings, entering his fourth season, is an ascending talent who has rapidly placed himself among the NFL's top receivers and, with the length of the contract, set himself up for another sizeable payday. Boldin, 28, and White, 27, already are in that elite group, each earning NFC Pro Bowl honors last season with Fitzgerald and Carolina's Steve Smith. Jennings, 25, didn't make the cut, although he drew consideration and should find himself in the NFL all-star game for years to come.
The fact that they made the Pro Bowl and Jennings did not will be used by Boldin and White as a basis for them to be paid more. So will their value in helping their teams make the playoffs.
Still, nothing drives the market like comparative salaries, and just as in real estate, if three houses on your block sell for a certain price, you should ask for similar value. For Boldin and White, they have to determine what is more in-line with fair market value: Fitzgerald's contract or Jennings' contract? The teams are more like home buyers, trying to strike the most affordable accord.
Like Jennings, White is entering the final year of his rookie deal, which will pay him $2.28 million. Talks with the Falcons have been steady, but there's still a gap to be bridged. Both sides would like to finish a deal by training camp, but if they don't, White could hold out -- something the Falcons want to avoid with quarterback Matt Ryan's favorite target. Like Jennings, White has participated in offseason workouts and showed good faith, but he's also anxious and wants to be paid.
Boldin has $5.75 million and two years left on his contract -- less than a third of what Jennings could earn in that span. Boldin has expressed a desire for a contract more in line with Fitzgerald's for roughly one year. Boldin hasn't attended voluntary workouts all summer and on more than one occasion said he hoped to be traded -- a demand that has softened. The Cardinals have said they would like to work something out with Boldin but in due time.
With Jennings' deal now finalized -- and training camp just more than a month away -- expect Boldin and White to push a little harder to get their deals done but for a larger take than what the Packers' star received. The Cardinals and Falcons can counter by slow-playing talks because Boldin and White are under contract and they now have Jennings' fresh deal in place to use as the negotiating benchmark.