PHOENIX — That the Minnesota Vikings were the main suitors for Greg Jennings played no part in the Green Bay Packers' counter-offer to the free-agent receiver.
That wasn’t the reason general manager Ted Thompson wasn’t willing to ante up the $9.5 million per year that Jennings got from the Packers’ NFC North rival.
“These are major, macro decisions you make,” Thompson said Sunday at the Arizona Biltmore hotel, where the NFL annual meetings begin Monday. “I don’t think you make them based on whether we play somebody next year or not.”
Tell that to the Packers’ coaches, who now have to deal with Jennings twice a year.
“I think everybody was hoping it would work out,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “You didn’t want to see him go in the division, (to) the Minnesota Vikings, but he was in a clear-cut business situation. When you’re there, you do what’s best for you and your family. I respect what he’s done. I’ll let the smoke clear, and I’m sure we’ll talk in the near future.”
Jennings' departure may not have been the foregone conclusion that most thought it would be as last season wore on. The Packers were deeply involved in the negotiations up to and even during Jennings’ visit to Minnesota on Thursday and Friday, but they wouldn’t make the same financial commitment.
“Free agency is a difficult thing to predict,” Thompson said, “and it didn’t work out.”