Greg Jennings had it all in Green Bay: an offense-savvy coach, one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and receivers around him to attract coverage.
But he threw that all away for the one thing that most players seek, while overlooking why he was able to obtain it in the first place. In other less confusing words, Jennings sought his big payday, and that is exactly what he got this offseason.
The Minnesota Vikings signed the 30-year-old Jennings to a five-year deal with a maximum value of $47.5 million, and a guaranteed $18 million. After two injury-plagued seasons where Jennings felt that he was becoming overshadowed by young Green Bay receivers like Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, and James Jones, he decided to part ways with one of the best offenses in the game.
That decision alone makes sense if he still wants to be looked at as a premier receiver, but what does not make any sense is why he would sign with the rival Vikings.
Minnesota is led by third-year quarterback Christian Ponder, and that is precisely the problem with going to the Vikings. Last season, Percy Harvin ranked first in receiving yards for Minnesota; he tied for 60th in receiving yards in the NFL with Brandon LaFell. For the record, he was behind players like Brent Celek, who spends half the game blocking, and Chris Givens, who spends half the game on the bench.
But seriously, the problem is that Ponder is not the type of quarterback you want to play with if you want to continue to be a premier wide receiver. Now, I don't think Ponder is completely awful. He is deadly accurate on the short and intermediate throws, but the major problem for receivers on his team is that he is inept when it comes to the deep ball. He does not possess the arm strength nor the accuracy to make the big-time throws. There is a reason Kyle Rudolph, his tight end, was the second best receiver on the team last year.
And Jennings left Rodgers for that? The production differential is striking. This season, Jennings is good for nothing more than a couple catches and a handful of yards per game. The chemistry is obviously not there yet because Jennings is only catching about 50 percent of the balls thrown his way, but could that just be an excuse for the fact that Ponder will never be able to get it done?
At 30, Jennings should have only signed with a team that had a great quarterback and is a contender. The Vikings are neither of those things.
Another issue is Ponder's inability to throw touchdowns, which has been Jennings' specialty. Ponder has thrown two touchdowns so far this season, one to Kyle Rudolph and one to Adrian Peterson.
When Minnesota hits the red zone, it has been Adrian Peterson time. They are feeding him the rock, in turn taking scoring chances away from Jennings. By signing with the Vikings, Jennings is becoming another forgotten receiver in the NFL, which does not do his early career success any justice.
He left Green Bay to maintain his positive legacy, but by signing with Minnesota, he is probably worse off. At the age of 30, he should have only signed with a team that had a great quarterback and is a contender. The Vikings are neither of those things. You know what would have been a great place for Jennings? The New England Patriots. Or even the Pittsburgh Steelers. Or what about the San Francisco 49ers!?
There were so many better options than the Vikings and it is now obvious that he blew it. He is stuck with Ponder like a bad marriage and there is nothing he can do but put on a fake smile and consider divorce again.
Jennings is at the point in his career when each year is extremely valuable. He does not have many left at his high-level of play and he can't waste them with a guy like Ponder.
Unfortunately, he made his bed, and now he needs to lie in it. This is yet another example of the saying, "You don't know what you got until it's gone." Somewhere, Jennings is watching Packers highlights with tears welling up in his eyes.