The early rumors swirling around Packers Nation immediately after former Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins was cut loose by the Philadelphia Eagles was that he would make a great fit with his former team – the team he helped lead to a Super Bowl XLV win.
Yes, the Packers brass collective eyebrows may have been raised when news of Jenkins’ departure from Philly come over the airwaves, but those brows, in my estimation, turned into a more determined look when Chris Canty was let go by the New York Giants. There are a couple of reasons for this. First Jenkins left Green Bay once and the Packers may not have the interest in the former player that the fans seemed to have. Not only that, but the Packers were hot on Canty’s trail back in 2008 before he went to New York and never left. The offer by the Giants that year was so good that Canty decided that the Big Apple was the place he wanted to be.
So, when the Giants decided that Canty was too expensive for their tastes, the Packers took notice and made the effort to touch base.
Packers officials haven’t done the same with Jenkins, who has most recently been connected with interest from the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. Jenkins has already visited with the New York Giants. In addition, there was talk about the possibility that the Packers had been interested in Ricky Jean-Francois – a defensive lineman with the 49ers. That interest seems to have cooled.
Looking statistically at Jenkins and Canty, Jenkins has played one more season than Canty and overall has been the more productive player – but not by much. The stats here indicate that both players have had similar careers: Canty has played in 113 games during his career, while Jenkins has been in 125; Jenkins has 38.5 sacks, Canty 19; Canty has had two forced fumbles, Jenkins 6; but interestingly, Canty has had more tackles – 191 with 82 assists – to Jenkins’ 188 and 72.
Very comparable numbers overall; very comparable players.
So, why the interest by the Packers in Canty and not Jenkins? Maybe personal preferences, maybe the Packers’ brass see more of an upside for Canty than they do with Jenkins and feel he would be the better value overall for the team.
Would the Packers pursue Jenkins if it doesn’t work out with Canty? Are they holding Jenkins as their ace in the hole? Well, they haven’t expressed that view – publicly anyway.
If it doesn’t work out for Canty and Jenkins signs elsewhere, there may also be the possibility that the Packers pursue San Francisco’s Ricky Jean-Francois, though after the initial media blast about the Packers’ interest in him last week, there hasn’t been much talk about that happening.
It will be interesting following the paths of all these players as the free agent season progresses over the next few days.