It’s now a foregone conclusion defensive end [intlink id=”163″ type=”category”]Cullen Jenkins[/intlink], who will be a free agent when the lockout ends, has played his last game for the Green Bay Packers.
General manager [intlink id=”20″ type=”category”]Ted Thompson[/intlink] made no effort to sign Jenkins to a contract extension, even when Jenkins’ agent approached the team before the start of the 2010 season. On Wednesday, Jenkins, who had a career-high seven sacks in 2010, revealed he would have taken less money to remain in Green Bay.
“Heading into last year, I’ve always been up there and always been a Packer, and I wanted to stay a Packer,” Jenkins said. “So we approached the team and wanted to get some type of security, some type of longer-term deal before the season so I would know I would be there. It wasn’t about money, it was about security, about trying to see if we could work something out.”
Asked directly if he’d have taken less money to stay, Jenkins replied, “Yeah. That was the thought then. I knew in going to them, I know Green Bay, I know the market, I know how they handle business, and the thought was if we could get something reasonable worked out, I knew I would take less than what I could’ve gotten in free agency. But they never approached me with anything and never got any type of negotiations going. It’s just how the business is. They had a lot of younger guys and felt they could move forward in that direction.”
Jenkins’ age and injury history are the biggest factors in the Packers’ decision to move on. The defensive end is now 30 and has missed 17 games over the last three seasons.
The Packers will move forward with a defensive line that currently features veterans [intlink id=”252″ type=”category”]Ryan Pickett[/intlink] and [intlink id=”1337″ type=”category”]Howard Green[/intlink], youngsters [intlink id=”473″ type=”category”]B.J. Raji[/intlink], [intlink id=”1042″ type=”category”]C.J. Wilson[/intlink], Jarius Wynn and [intlink id=”1033″ type=”category”]Mike Neal[/intlink], rookie [intlink id=”1628″ type=”category”]Lawrence Guy[/intlink] and first-round bust [intlink id=”100″ type=”category”]Justin Harrell[/intlink].
Neal, who went on injured reserve after only two games in 2010, is the leading candidate to replace Jenkins in the starting lineup.
Jenkins, meanwhile, will not be without suitors and he may not have to move far from Green Bay. The Chicago Bears are keen to steal the 300-pounder away from their division rivals.