I thought it was a joke at first, but the Green Bay Packers have indeed given Donald Driver, their 35-year-old wide receiver, a two-year contract extension.
Driver was in the final year of his current deal, in which he was scheduled to earn $4 million in base salary and a $2.8 million roster bonus. Terms of the extension haven’t been disclosed, but Driver will be 38 when his new deal expires.
Driver asked the team to renegotiate his contract prior to last season and talks began this summer, according to Jason Wilde.
“I guess you could say since last year, we talked about it. This summer, they agreed to try to get a deal done,” Driver said. “Now, I’m going to retire as a Packer. And that’s something I’ve dreamed of for a long time.
“When it’s all said and done, when I’m done playing, I’m going to be wearing green and gold.”
You’ve got to feel good for Driver because he’s a model citizen and a good teammate, but as we detailed when Driver said he wants to play until he’s 40, not many receivers — even some of the best to ever play the game — were terribly productive after 35.
On the positive side, Driver has had six straight 1,000-yard seasons and is one of the hardest working players on the Packers roster. He also had both of his knees scoped this offseason and says he feels better than he has in years.
Driver’s play over the next two years will ultimately determine whether the Packers made the right move with the extension, but from a business standpoint, history says it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Let’s hope Driver proves history wrong.