Packers, Jennings, Jackson in Holding Pattern

Jennings (Jeff Hanisch - USA Today Sports)

The contracts awarded in free agency on Wednesday seem to bode well that Green Bay can get receiver Greg Jennings and running back Steven Jackson at a reasonable price. The Packers are the favorites for both players, barring the appearance of an additional suitor.

During the Scouting Combine, there were reports that Greg Jennings was seeking a contract worth upward of $12 million per season.

Last week, Steven Jackson voided the final year of his contract with the Rams, which was worth $7 million.

Neither player, it appears, will be pocketing that kind of money — whether it's with the Green Bay Packers or some other club.

Jennings reportedly is being courted by Green Bay and rival Minnesota. The Vikings have more cap space and a dire need at receiver after trading Percy Harvin. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers and a team that looks better positioned to make a run at a championship.

Jennings, clearly shaken by the uncertainty, went to Twitter to say, "I didn't know that cold weather actually makes your fingernails grow faster? That's interesting ..."

On Tuesday, a source who had been in contact with the Rams told Packer Report that Rams officials believed Jackson would sign with Green Bay. On Wednesday night, an agent repping one of the better backs in the draft told Packer Report in an e-mail that he was under the impression that the Packers were "closing in" on Jackson.

Just where things stood between the Packers, Jennings and Jackson on Wednesday night is a mystery, with Green Bay apparently hoping the passage of time would mean a better contract and the players hoping another suitor or two would enter the picture to drive up the price.

After Miami struck quickly in handing Mike Wallace a five-year deal worth $60 million — a $12 million average for a player three years younger and with 714 more yards and three more touchdowns over the past two seasons — the receiver market has gone cold.

Though they're different types of players, the contracts awarded to the third- and fourth-best unrestricted receivers on the market, Wes Welker and Danny Amendola, are worth significantly less than $12 million per year. The ultraproductive Welker, 31, signed with Denver for two years and $12 million on Wednesday. The injury-plagued Amendola, 27, replaced Welker in New England on Wednesday and got $31 million over five years.

Jennings, who will turn 30 on Sept. 21, has missed 11 games over the last two seasons, including eight in 2012. His per-catch average of 10.2 in 2012 is down sharply from his averages of 17.4 in 2007, 16.2 in 2008, 16.4 in 2009 and 16.6 in 2010.

Outside of Ahmad Bradshaw, there isn't a running back in the same class as Jackson on the unrestricted market. A tier below are Reggie Bush, Shonn Greene and Rashard Mendenhall. Bush signed with rival Detroit for four years and $16 million, Greene signed with the Jets for three years and $10 million and Mendenhall settled for one year and $2.5 million.

Jackson, who will turn 30 on July 22, has eight straight 1,000-yard seasons. He's missed just two gams over the last four years.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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