Polian weighs in on Rodgers' contract, Jennings' future

Mar. 5, 2013

ESPN NFL analyst and former Indianapolis Colts General Manager Bill Polian answered questions about NFL free agency Tuesday on a media conference call. Here were his responses to questions about Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings:

Q. The market for elite quarterbacks was set in some way when Joe Flacco signed a six-year, $120 million dollar deal with Baltimore. I was wondering if I could get you to comment on what that means for Aaron Rodgers going forward? He has two years left on a six-year extension he signed in '08. Is the onus on the Packers now to do something for him now that Flacco has set this market?

Polian: Well, the answer to that is maybe. The collective bargaining agreement provides rights for both sides. On the one hand, it provides a right for the players to have free agency. On the other hand, it provides, after a specified time and in Aaron's case, it's at the expiration of his contract. In the club's case, it provides the right to use a franchise tag for up to three times on a player, and specific types of tags, if necessary.
Both of those are counter balances which I think it's fair to say both sides. I'm talking about management counsel in the union now felt at the appropriate time to encourage the signing of long term deals. That is the union's desire, and in some cases that meets with the club's desire.

That is the landscape. It has nothing to do with anybody else. The only time anybody else's contract enters into it is when there is a comparison is as you sit down and start negotiating. The question is when do you start negotiating? And that is the purview of the club.

Assuming that the player is willing, which he almost always is, that becomes the purview of the club. So they're going to make each individual club is going to make his own decision on that. In Joe Flacco's case, they did what you would expect him to do. They negotiated in the summer prior to his entering free agency, and ultimately on the eve of free agency, they got a deal.

That is the most common thing that happens in the league. I'm not saying that's going to happen with the Pack, because certainly Mark (Murphy) and Teddy (Thompson) and Mike (McCarthy) are more capable than I at making the right decisions for their team. But that is the way things work because that is the way the collective bargaining agreement designs them to work.

We can't predict what's going to happen. But that is what the landscape is.

Q. What are your thoughts about Greg Jennings? Is he worth $10 to $12 million a year? Do you see him as a viable long-term, No. 1 receiver?

POLIAN: Well, worth is in the eye of the beholder. He's got two things that sort of mitigate against a huge contract. One is an injury history and the other is that he's 30 years of age and relief receivers, and I would categorize him as one, tend to begin to turn down at about 33 or 34.

So, how long a contract do you give him, and what is his potential to continue to play at a high level, given the injury and age history? Each individual club has its own individual metrics that would tell them that, and so I think that that's where it's going to go. I'm as anxious as you are to see who may step up for him.

But there are two concerns. There are clubs, we were one of them, that said if a guy's 27 years of age or above, we're probably not going to go for a long-term deal at big money. But if you feel you're one quality receiver away and the physical exam turns out to be okay, you might do it. Again, that is what makes free agency interesting.

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