Greg Jennings will sign with the Dolphins, the Miami Herald has confirmed, seemingly erasing the team’s No. 1 need just a week before the draft.
The deal, which was first reported by Fox Sports, is for two years and $8 million, according to ESPN.
Jennings, who spent six seasons with Joe Philbin in Green Bay, visited the Dolphins weeks ago and provides the locker room with the veteran leader it has lacked at the receiver position.
Jennings has caught 552 career passes for 8,083 yards and 63 touchdowns for the Packers and Vikings.
The Dolphins had the league’s youngest group of receivers, averaging 23.3 years old, but have now added a two-time Pro Bowler who is entering his 10th NFL season.
Jennings, Kenny Stills and Jarvis Landry will presumably be the team’s top three receivers this fall.
The news shakes up countless draft projections, because the Dolphins had convinced most everyone in football that they were poised to take a receiver early in the 2015 NFL Draft.
And they still might.
There are three receivers — believed to be Amari Cooper (Alabama, by way of Miami Northwestern), Kevin White (West Virginia) and DeVante Parker (Louisville) — they would have conviction selecting with the 14th overall pick.
But there’s a very good chance all three will be gone by the time the Dolphins go on the clock at 14 — assuming, as most do, that they don’t have the ammunition to move up.
So what then?
They are under no pressure to select a wideout, given their newfound depth at the position. They can take the best player available.
But if they do still target a receiver?
Some say they will take a shot on Central Florida’s speedy Breshad Perriman, who on Wednesday visited Dolphins headquarters.
But a more likely scenario, the Miami Herald has learned, is the Dolphins will try to trade back in the first round — assuming an elite talent at another position doesn’t fall to them.
By doing so, they could still select a player like Perriman or Southern California’s Nelson Agholor, and also recoup at least some of the draft assets lost in the Stills and Mike Wallace trades.
Either way, it is believed that the Dolphins hope to come away with one of the top nine receivers in this year’s class: Cooper, White, Parker, Perriman, Agholor, the University of Miami’s Phillip Dorsett, Oklahoma’s Dorial Green-Beckham, Ohio State’s Devin Smith or Auburn’s Sammie Coates.
The Dolphins have done their due diligence. All nine have met with the team in recent weeks.
Dorsett, who could sneak into the late first round after wowing scouts at both the Combine and UM’s Pro Day, participated in the Dolphins’ camp for local prospects.
Florida State’s Rashad Greene did, too.
League rules allow teams 30 visits with non-local players, and the Dolphins have dedicated more than a quarter of theirs to receivers.
And no player has risen so far so fast in the draft projections as Perriman, who shocked scouts when he ran his Pro Day 40-yard dash in the low 4.2s.
The analytics website 3sigmaathlete.com, which grades prospects’ athleticism using a complex formula of measurables, has determined that Perriman would be in the 94th percentile of NFL receivers.
Physically, he grades out in the same range as Cowboys star Dez Bryant.
Perriman, the son of former UM receiver Brett Perriman, has size (6-2, 212) to go with his speed.
And while scouts do have some concerns about his route-running and hands, he is still expected to go in the middle of the first round next Thursday night.
“Perriman is a big, strong, aggressive receiver armed with NFL pedigree who will use his size and strength to make the catch,” draft analyst Bo Marchionte wrote on CBSSports.com. “… He has a very deceptive stride that lets him break down a defender’s cushion and get deep.”
Said Perriman during February’s Scouting Combine: “As a big receiver, you have to go up and get the ball at its highest point, and you have to be able to wall off defenders.”
And, if you can, run one of the fastest 40 times of the year.
Possible Dolphins receiver targets in NFL Draft
University of Miami
NFL Draft at a glance
8 p.m. Thursday, April 30 (ESPN, NFL Network). Dolphins pick: 14th overall
7 p.m. Friday, May 1 (ESPN, NFL Network).
Noon Saturday, May 2 (ESPN2, NFL Network).