It came as no great surprise that the Packers did not exercise their right to tag one of their free agents with a franchise or transition designation for purposes of keeping them off the free agent market.

There was some scuttlebut that the Packers would use the franchise tag on WR Greg Jennings, but that proved to be just posturing between the team and Jennings' agent and when the deadline came at 3 p.m. the Packers were one of 24 teams who did not use the tag.

As a result, Jennings will become an unrestricted free agent on March 12, free to sign with any team in the league. On March 9, his agent can begin negotiating with other teams, but no deal may be signed until after 3 p.m. on the 12th.

For Thompson, this is the third straight year he didn't use either of the two tags and the sixth time in nine seasons. He used the franchise tag on DL Ryan Pickett in 2010 and DL Corey Williams in 2008 and the transition on TE Bubba Franks in 2005.

To put the franchise tag on Jennings, who ranks in the top 10 on the all-time Packers reception list, would have required that the Packers offer him a one-year, $10.537 million contract that would count against their salary cap starting on the 12th. Once Jennings signed the contract, he would be guaranteed the money.

Sitting at about $22 million under the cap and needing to get mega-sized contracts done with QB Aaron Rodgers and LB Clay Matthews, spending that kind of money on a receiver who turns 30 in September and missed 11 games the past two seasons because of injury isn't in the Packers' budget.

Even without Jennings, the Packers are loaded in the passing game with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones and tight end Jermichael Finley. They are also high on young receivers Jarrett Boykin and Jeremy Ross.

Jennings and Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace are probably the top two receivers in free agency. Wallace, 26, is coming off a down year, but he's younger than Jennings and stands to strike it rich in the free agent market based on his big-play ability.