December 30, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers nose tackle Ricky Jean Francois (95) sacks Arizona Cardinals quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) during the third quarter at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Cardinals 27-13. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Is Ted Thompson serious about all these free agency rumors?

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Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson, the eternal enigma wrapped inside the proverbial mystery, has been the center of attention the past couple of days, what with all the talk surrounding potential free agent wide receiver Greg Jennings, and the rumors surrounding defensive linemen Chris Canty and former Packer Cullen Jenkins.

When’s Ian Rapoport rumored that the Packers were considering slapping the franchise tag on Jennings, everyone said, “what?!?”

But the free agent news continued mounting the past 48 hours as the names of Canty and Jenkins were raised and joined today by that of Ricky Jean-Francois, a defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, who, if not signed by the start of free agency, will become unrestricted.

Cullen Jenkins

So, we know a bit about Canty and Jenkins, but who is this Jean-Francois guy?

Chris Canty (99) during the second half of the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at the MetLife Stadium. Alan Maglaque-USA TODAY Sports

Well, he was drafted in the seventh round of the 2009 draft out of LSU and has been a defensive end backup for the Niners. With 49 tackles and three sacks in 51 games, he was a good enough player to be included in the Niners’ line rotation and saw the field enough to stick with them for four years. However, last year, he played in just eight games, registering two sacks, 12 tackles and 10 assists. He might be one of those players who could be an underachiever and needs a fresh start with a new team.

What’s really interesting to me in all this is that free agency is even being mentioned alongside Ted Thompson’s name. Yes, he dipped into the chase for free players last year, but it hasn’t been his mode of operation overall in the past. Of course, we know him as the draft and develop king.

So, why the recent change? Well, it might be that Thompson sees a real need on the line, not only because the Packers were really poor against the run last year but because it looks like second-year player Jerel Worthy won’t be ready for training camp and might not even make it back to the field before the start of the 2013 regular season. Jean-Francois is also known as a run-stuffer.

As we get through the NFL Combine and move into the month of March and the official start to the NFL season, the interest will begin to rise across the league. It looks like we here in Packers Nation may also have our ears to the rails as we continue to listen for any other free agent rumblings.

Stay tuned …

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Tags: Chris Canty Cullen Jenkins Free Agency Ricky Jean-Francois Ted Thompson

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