Free Agency Musings on a Frenetic Thursday

The most interesting quote so far in free agency comes from Packer QB Aaron Rodgers, who unloaded this one on Wednesday: ""James is extremely talented and he’s a guy that I think we have to bring back, without a doubt. I mean that with all my heart. He really should be priority number one. We don’t win the Super Bowl without him and we need him."

Nice to hear the loyalty. I mean, Jones has skills. He stepped up big time in the Falcons game, but his moments have always been followed by maddening cases of the dropsies. The drop before halftime in Philadelphia will always be completely inexplicable. You understand what Rodgers is talking about. But you also have to believe a team will overpay for a guy who won a ring and was a major part of a top-flight offense.

But with Finley returning, Nelson emerging and the rookie Randall Cobb intriguing, the Packers should not commit a lot of dollars to Jones. Yes, Driver is starting to show his age, but he also delivered the signature play of the 2010 season (that tackle-breaking TD against the 49ers in the old school uniforms). The only way Jones comes back is if it's at a cap-friendly number--and I don't see that happening.

One report suggests Jones is talking with the Vikings--which makes sense, given the Queens' penchant for acquiring talent from their friendly neighbors to the east.

Another Packer on his way out is left guard Darren Colledge, a dependable, if unspectacular player who will benefit from the camera time last offseason. With Colledge moving on the left guard spot will be a battle to watch. Contenders: T.J. Lang, Nick McDonald, Marshall Newhouse and sleepers Bryan Bulaga (if rookie Derek Sherrod can step in at right tackle, a definite longshot) and Sherrod. They may also find a value replacement in free agency in the next week or two.

Today may also be the day Cullen Jenkins gets paid. The Redskins are circling and appear ready to pounce. (Revised: Redskins deal is dead: the Cowboys and Saints appear to be the current pursuers) We all know, if Jenkins could stay on the field the Packers would have opened the vault. He made a smooth transition from the 4-3 to the 3-4 and is a beast in either system. A big loss for the Pack, who hope that Michael Neal, C.J. Wilson or someone else is ready to step in and fill the void.

With the first practice set for Saturday night, no draft picks have been signed. The new CBA eliminates much of the drama here, so expect the team to focus on that in the next 48 hours.

I'll update this blog as the day goes on and news breaks.


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