The Green Bay Packers decided against extending a qualifying offer to M.D. Jennings, making the team’s starting safety for the past 26 games a free agent.
The Packers could still re-sign Jennings at a lower price than the $1.431 million it would’ve cost to place a right-of-first-refusal tender on the restricted free agent, but the interest level is uncertain.
Jennings, 25, started all 16 games at safety last season but failed to generate a turnover. He made 74 tackles but gradually lost playing time as the season wore on to Chris Banjo and later Sean Richardson.
The Packers have made it clear they want to improve their defense this offseason and safety might be the first place to start. They signed Banjo to a one-year, exclusive-rights agreement two weeks ago and have veteran Morgan Burnett and Richardson both signed on for next season.
None of Green Bay’s 16 unrestricted free agents signed elsewhere during the start of free agency on Tuesday afternoon, but ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky is reporting tight end Jermichael Finley is traveling to Seattle for a visit.
The sixth-year tight end is expected to have his surgically repaired neck examined by the Seahawks’ team doctors on Wednesday morning. Seattle could be an ideal fit for Finley with the team in need of a tight end and former Packers executive John Schneider serving as general manager.
ESPN's Adam Caplan is also reporting center Evan Dietich-Smith will visit with Tampa Bay. The Packers remain interested, but it remains to be seen if they’ll be willing to pay what the market might dictate for Dietrich-Smith.
Dietrich-Smith's camp has been quiet throughout free agency, but some reports have also linked him to possible interest with the New York Giants.