That the Packers even were able to fetch a draft pick for Reynolds is a surprise. Still, the financial ramifications are large.
Reynolds' unamortized signing bonus is $1.3 million for 2004 and again in 2005, and all of that will count on this year's cap. On the bright side, the Packers deleted Reynolds' $455,000 salary for 2004, the $500,000 he was due for 2005 — the final year of his contract — as well as a $217,250 roster bonus that was due July 15. The bottom line is Reynolds would have counted $1.97 million against this year's cap but instead will count $2.6 million. The books for 2005, however, will be clean.
"We are taking our medicine this year," Andrew Brandt, the Packers' vice president of player finance, told the Associated Press.
Reynolds was supposed to provide medicine to a feeble pass rush. Classy until the end, Reynolds never panned out. The work ethic was there. But the lightning speed to beat tackles around the corner never showed up. At about 255 pounds for most of his career, he was too light to shed blockers once engaged, and he lacked the strength and arm length to win leverage battles.
Reynolds was selected 10th in the first round of the 2001 draft pick, a lofty selection the Packers were able to make by sending quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to the Seattle Seahawks to move up seven spots. The winner of college football's prestigious Lombardi Trophy, which goes to the sport's best lineman, Reynolds ranked fourth in Florida State annuls for sacks with 23.5. In his draft swan song, Ron Wolf raved about Reynolds' ability to get to the passer.
But that college production never translated to the professional level. He was slowed by a knee injury and subsequent surgery during his first two seasons, and showed up on the game-day roster sparingly.
He was healthy last year but again was invisible on game days, making the game-day roster just five times. Those five games came in the first seven contests of the season. In a breakdown by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Reynolds participated in 111 snaps last season, recorded just two tackles and never got close to sacking a quarterback. He was activated for the playoff game against Seattle and was manhandled by sturdy Seattle tackles Walter Jones and Chris Terry.
All told, his career stats look like that of an undrafted free agent: three seasons, 17 tackles, three sacks, 18 games played out of 54.
Reynolds showed some flashes of potential this off-season, especially during the first minicamp. But it was more of the same old in June, with Reynolds repeatedly being manhandled by offensive tackles who likely won't sniff the final roster.
So even with the Packers likely a darkhorse at best to land free agent Jason Gildon, the former Steelers linebacker and that team's all-time leading sacker, the Packers officially pulled the plug on Reynolds.
Brandt declined "out of respect to the Colts" to divulge anything about the pick, including the year, round or even if the pick is based on Reynolds making Indianapolis' final roster. Common sense, however, dictates the pick will be in the draft's later rounds.
Reynolds' relatively low cap number — his rookie contract was $9 million over five seasons — likely played a huge role in the Colts making a deal rather than wait for Reynolds' inevitable release. That the Colts play on artificial turf may play into the hands of Reynolds' fleet feet. Reynolds' older brother, Diron, is the Colts' defensive quality-control coach.
Reynolds, who never publicly complained about his lack of opportunity, remained optimistic to the end. During the June minicamp, Reynolds said "I never doubt my ability."
"I know what I can do and I've been great on every level, so I don't see any reason I shouldn't be great on this level. And I know I will be — it just hasn't happened yet.
"Some people are late bloomers and some people start off early. It's just happening a little later for me. Later than I thought, but eventually it's going to happen for me."