Who knows where it all started, but you can bet your last dollar----the main factor was money. Stop for one second, and name the three players who made the biggest impact in the Packers run to win Super Bowl 45. Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, and Clay Matthews. James Starks comes in at #4 on the list, and gets the “unlikely hero” award for a four game playoff stretch, where he gave the Packers a real running threat. Let’s compare the offseason contracts signed by the “Big 3”. Is it Money makers vs. underpaid playmakers? Or just a reality check when it comes to productivity vs. longevity?
- Aaron Rodgers $110 million. $22 per year.
- Clay Matthews. $66 million. $13 per year.
- Greg Jennings? $47.5 million. $9.5 per year.
The common word around Titletown, was that the Packers were not going to go higher than $7 million dollars per year for Jennings, and why would they? He was (and still can be) one of the most underrated and talented WR's in the NFL, but that’s when he is 100% healthy. But the harsh reality is that Jennings hasn't been there, when Green Bay needed him the most in the past two seasons. The team went 15-1 back in 2011, and it was clear the Packers offense was never the same after he got hurt. They then lost to the lowly KC Chiefs on the road, and were then beaten by the N.Y. Giants at home in the first round. Last year Jennings played the rehab “game” in a contract year, ultimately to have a second opinion on his abdominal strain, and then have surgery costing him quite a bit of time during the middle of the season. His sister also created “Twitter drama”, and that was just another distraction near the end of the season. So what’s the beef? Well, Jennings wasn't offered the big contract extension he wanted, prior to the regular season. So, Jennings gives a bunch of quotes to his newfound friends in Minnesota this summer, and the “he-said-she-said” stories begin. The only problem is......Rodgers didn’t take the bait. Who did? Donald Driver.
The Packers all-time leading receiver endeared himself to fans around Packer nation, as a 7th rounder who simply out-worked the competition, and made the most of every opportunity. Double-D also found fans around the entire country with his big smile and impressive moves on “Dancing with the Stars”. Driver might have been one of the lowest-key consistent stars ever, in the NFL. And he also found some brief, but big time, stardom through the made-for-TV dance competition. So, no matter how old or slow, he was not going to get cut last year during training camp, before the season started. As it played out, Driver barely made any impact on the field, and didn't even suit up at the end of the year.