Less than 24 hours after the Vikings traded for Mike Wallace, the team released Greg Jennings.
The Vikings signed Jennings to a five-year, $45 million contract two years ago — after Wallace spurned them and signed with the Dolphins. And now that the Vikings have seized this opportunity to add Wallace, Jennings, whose production didn’t match his high salary, became expendable.
The Vikings were about $8-9 million under the salary cap after trading for Wallace last night. The speedster has a 2015 base salary of $9.9 million and is under contract through 2017. He is scheduled to make $11.5 million in each of the contract’s final two years.
By releasing Jennings, the Vikings will free up at least $5 million in cap space. If they designate him as a post-June 1 cut, they can save $9 million in space but dead money will carry into 2016.
The Vikings signed Jennings to a lucrative deal in 2013 because they were desperate to add a veteran pass-catcher for Christian Ponder, their “quarterback of the future” at that time. Jennings was solid despite having to run routes for four different starting quarterbacks in two seasons here.
In 2013, he caught 68 passes for 804 yards and four touchdowns. In 2014, he caught 59 passes for 742 yards and six touchdowns. His chemistry with then-rookie Teddy Bridgewater seemed to be growing down the stretch, as he caught four touchdown passes in the final six games.
But the Vikings felt they needed to upgrade the position and dealt for Wallace yesterday.
It is not known if the Vikings asked Jennings to take a pay cut before releasing him.
Now the 31-year-old, who started his career and won a Super Bowl with the Packers, is a free agent.