Donald Driver Could Be Expendable

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Donald Driver

It would be an unpopular move, but...

The talk of [intlink id=”64″ type=”category”]Ryan Grant[/intlink] competing for a roster spot with [intlink id=”1280″ type=”category”]Dmitri Nance[/intlink] and possibly being released shines a light on another Green Bay Packers veteran — receiver [intlink id=”76″ type=”category”]Donald Driver[/intlink].

The 36-year-old Driver, who says he wants to play until he’s 40, can still produce, but he’s coming off his worst season since 2001, when he started only two games. Driver had 51 catches for 565 yards and only four touchdowns in 2010.

He’s scheduled to make $4.8 million in both 2011 and 2012 on a contract extension he signed just last year. It seems unlikely the Packers would ask Driver to take a pay cut only a year after extending his deal, but Grant took a $1 million pay cut earlier this month.

What really clouds the waters is the emergence of a couple young receivers — Tori Gurley and Chastin West.

The Packers coaches and quarterbacks love Gurley’s size — he’s 6’4″ — and the undrafted rookie has made his share of plays during camp.

West, who was on the practice squad last season, seems to be a strong contender for a roster spot after his impressive performance against the Cardinals last week. Even [intlink id=”25″ type=”category”]Aaron Rodgers[/intlink] is singing his praises.

“I think everybody saw toward the end of last year what kind of player he was becoming. He makes a strong case to be on this team. He’s been making it since last year,” Rodgers said.

If you look at the whole group receivers, you know the Packers have some big decisions to make. The team typically keeps five receivers, although they may have to go with six this year.

[intlink id=”138″ type=”category”]Greg Jennings[/intlink], [intlink id=”22″ type=”category”]Jordy Nelson[/intlink], [intlink id=”204″ type=”category”]James Jones[/intlink] and [intlink id=”1616″ type=”category”]Randall Cobb[/intlink] will certainly be on the team. That leaves one or possibly two roster spots for Driver, Gurley and West and assumes [intlink id=”596″ type=”category”]Brett Swain[/intlink], the Packers fifth receiver last season, will be released.

While releasing a popular player like Driver would be a public relations problem for the Packers, it makes sense from a business standpoint.

Do you pay a player who’s regressing close to $5 million per season or do you keep a guy who makes dirt, is young and is only going to get better? That answer is pretty obvious.

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

34 Comments on "Donald Driver Could Be Expendable"

  1. Kirby

    It was really be sad to see Driver go…he is one of the greatest Packer players of all-time on and off the field! That being said I would understand if the Packers decide to go with one of the young up and comers instead of him. With Jennings, Jones, Nelson, and now Cobb the Packers are set for the forseeable future. Driver needs to be given the opportunity to break the Packers receiving mark though it would be horrible if he didnt…only needs like 40 some yards! I trust in MM and TT to make the right call!

  2. Matt

    post the video of driver’s catch against the niners last year. thats worth $5 mil! i’d like to see one of these young guys pull that off

  3. ay hombre

    Great point about Driver and the receiving mark. It really ups the ante in a lot of ways.

    If the team asks Driver to take a pay cut and he refuses would Thompson dare cut him before he gets the record? Does Driver dare risk getting cut by refusing a pay cut?

    Hopefully Donald knows he’s only worth $4 million on an emotional level.

    Take the emotion out of this equation and he should take a cut if asked.

  4. robbie

    yea it was his worst season how many games did he miss last year and he had that hamstring thing idk that i would keep gurly over driver and def not swain…experience serves a purpose too ya know….he isnt going to get 1000 yards this season but i can GARANTEE he will do something big in a couple big games for us this year things i have no idea if gurly or anyone else can do which he still did last year

  5. Phillthy Phill

    I can’t believe im hearing this from my fellow football/Packer fans!
    We have all complained about how football has lost its allure with no more dynastys and no more heros. These number games and guys that are popular for a year must be weighing heavy as well on fellow fans of the most history rich team in sports. We have an athlete whose like an old boxer, sure he doesn’t have that power, that agility of these young guys, but he still has ‘it’ That ‘it’ keeps his name in our hallowed halls, that ‘it’ makes for legacies such as the lambeau leap or the cheesehead mystic. I understand the game, today, is faster bigger stronger, but dammit let us keep our heros if only for another moment. The Tauschers, Hendersons, Howards, and Freemans of the last few decades would thank us. We celebrate these no names in the large picture, hometown heros, community leaders as Packer fans. We even think of letting go of one of the best Packers of all time for an untested UFA? For shame my fellow Brat and Cheese consumers. Its these people that ACTUALLY make the game great, for this let us show fans, neigh, the world, that there is still a place, for the truly beloved of actual idols.

    • nurseratchett

      AMEN. Thank you for this post, Phill.

      If TT EVER seriously entertains Donald Driver’s exit from the NFL as anything other than a from draft to retirement Packer, I will lose a shitload of respect for him as well the organization who’s rich history is my proudest bragging point about being a Pack fan.

    • Chris K

      Oh please….. go cry on someones shoulder behind a tree. This is the nfl and if another player can help us gain salary cap so we dont lose a josh sitton or jermichael finley , or jordy nelson or scott wells and meanwhile we dont lose much with his play then you have to do it!

      think you should go watch another rocky movie or something…..

      The guy(DD) doesn’t have the best hands and there’s a reason he’s not getting big downfield passes anymore….. B/C he cant get open like greg and jordy!!!

      Another typical emotional fan who doesn’t look at the big picture as Ted Thompson ALWAYS preaches

      • nurseratchett

        Emotion and loyalty go hand in hand. I won’t apologize for either.

        “Oh please….. go cry on someones shoulder behind a tree.” LOL! I have heard witty comebacks like that since 1980’s John Hughes films!

  6. Greg

    Double D is super Savvy, it’s apparent when Aaron is going through his progressions, often bailing rodgers out with awkward/ away from the body catches. too much experience!!!

  7. Boston

    Logically it maybe makes sense to let him go, but he’s my favorite athlete of all time and I really would like him to stick around forever, as unreasonable as that may be.

  8. Chas

    Keep James Jones and send DD packing! That would be the biggest slap in the face to a guy who has taken more than his fair share of hang out passes from Favre, in which he would take a huge shot from a DB or LB. Makes no sense at all. If the team can keep two punters on a roster there better be some damn room for DD.

  9. Shawn iltarion

    I don’t buy any of it. Some young guys have flashed, but DD is still among the 4 best WRs on the team. He is good enough on the field to be worth $2 million, and he is worth about $2 million in the locker room. So, there you go.

  10. nurseratchett

    Sometimes you absolutely have to keep players who transition from big producers on the field to leaders in the locker room. Can you put a price tag on the experience not to mention the “go pack” attitude & be-grateful-not-boastful demeanor he projects on & off the field? Donald Driver epitomizes what sportsmanship & “team” are all about. You remember that one game last season, don’t you? You know, the game where Driver & Woodson got hurt, but cheered on the sidelines like a couple of freshman who got to dress varsity in their first high school game? No bench pouting for Donald. Do you want to replace that with some of the wannabe’s I watched tonight? Guys who celebrate a catch my old ass could make (wide open in the end zone & it hit him right in the numbers)? What will that guy bring to the locker room? Chris Johnsonesque hold out drama would be my guess. Or maybe just Sharpies in their socks.

  11. Jeff

    This is ridiculous, Driver is still a starting level receiver who has proven himself in big moments (unlike guys like Jones), the best thing for these young guys would be to sit behind and learn from Driver for at least one more year. I would not support this move if it ever becomes a serious consideration.

  12. Vijay

    Donald Driver is no Chastin West! How ridiculous does that sound!! You are forgetting about his other ‘team first’ intangibles…and the leadership in the locker room w/ DD.

  13. Chris K

    Donald Driver is NOT worth being on this team no matter he means to this locker room at 4.8 million dollars… I dont want to hear his intangibles, locker room presence, unselfishness, media guy. fan-favorite…. That doesn’t mean it validates 48 million dollars.

    Plain & simple. IF, and a big IF, he re-constructured to say a 2.5 or below average then yes he could stick around one more season…

    BUT lets not forget the real big picture: This is going to happen again next season with another up-and-coming player. When do you draw the line??
    Ted Thompson may not be popular for some of his decisions but if you listen to him as recently as this year he has preached in conference calls and alike that it is better to lose a player a year too early than a year too later when he no longer can help.

    It also helps that this player is really progressing, take all that emotional ranting out of the equation and many people can see why it would be benficiary to get Donald to take atleast a 2.3+ million dollar paycut. His play does not justify it.
    THis is the NFL people!!!

    Ted is good for a reason

  14. Randy R

    Everyone here makes valid points (although phillthy (i thank drank too much and he’s getting emotional)….1st i’d like to say, when a player leaves, that doesnt mean he is no longer a hero. The NFL is far too competitive to make emotional decisions. If that was that case, we dont let Favre go and he gets laid out by our poor offensive line and we dont win the S B. (Good call TT) Now Driver had a average of 37 yards a game last season, he also dropped more passes than ever, and he dropped 2 last night. I love Driver, but business decisions come before emotional decisions. You also risk losing both West and Gurley by keeping DD, Swain is gone, thats a given. In todays NFL..too make milions, you have to produce or your team falls behind, If there is ANY way that can be worked out to keep DD…I say keep him. But i’ll tell you what, were receiver rich…and we have a O line that can barely give Rodgers 2 seconds to pass…Cant run block!!!. I dont care how many times MM denys we have a run problem…45 yards rushing last night, and 10 of those are from Rodgers (pathetic in the NFC North)…FIX THE LINE…Clifton got pushed back last night like he was 50 years old, (knees are gone) and what happens to LT’s when they cant block?…they hold..Chastin West TD called back…..I love you Donald but your a luxury we may not be able to afford…FIX THE GOD DAMN LINE!!!!!…..When Clifton’s skills go….should we keep him around just because he’s been a good lineman for a long time?….Thats not how you keep winning people. I’m glad TT is running things, or we’d be back to the 70.80,s where we only hired ex Packers for coaches…That was loyalty…..But that was also 20+ years of losing wasn’t it?

  15. ay hombre

    I bashed Randy several times for previous comments, but that’s as spot on as could be. Driver gets over 4 million and Lodgers is on his ass all game.

  16. ay hombre

    I bashed Randy several times for previous comments, but that’s as spot on as could be. Driver gets over 4 million and Rodgers is on his ass all game.

    • Shawn iltarion

      Fix the line? The two guys who gave up sacks were Chad Clifton, who made the Pro Bowl last year, and Josh Sitton, the recognized best OL on the team. So, what is there to fix?

      Dwight Freeney is one of the best pass rushers in football. Tommie Harris on turf looks to be rejuvenated. Sometimes the other guys make plays too.

      It would be a little premature to announce Clifton’s retirement party after he gave up two sacks to one of the best pass rushers in football during a preseason game. Everyone relax.

      Driver knows how to work the middle of the field and still is a threat after he catches the ball. If Santana Moss is worth $5 million a year, then DD is worth $4. He’s not going anywhere.

      West only plays on the outside and is not ready to take DD’s spot. So, unless Cobb or Jones are, I don’t see who is supposed to replace him.

      • nurseratchett

        I disagree with you about the line; Rodgers decreased sacks this season was in no small part due to his improvements with quicker release. He still gets knocked on his ass WAY too much. 3 sacks and something like 17 knock downs in the superbowl alone?

  17. I Got Woodson

    It doesn’t matter if Driver is a bit overpaid this year — he’s one of the top 3-4 WRs on the squad right now and we’re trying to win another one right now.

    What if we cut Driver and that move is the reason we don’t repeat? Would that be worth $2 million more in cap space? I like to build for the future as much as anyone, but considering how hard it is to win it all (and how good the team is this year), shouldn’t we be keeping the guys who are best right now?

    It might be different if you couldn’t find decent WRs easily, or if West or Gurley (who I love) were the next big thing. But those guys just look OK, and we know Driver is still very good. There’s a great chance we’ll repeat, so let’s go balls deep.

    • Abe Frohman

      he is one of the three or four best WR’s on the team – but he’s paid like a #2 receiver. THAT is the problem. It’s not his production – it’s his production for the money that is the issue.

      I love DD. Maybe he has a few good years in him. Maybe not. But do you want to lose Finley, or CM3, or Sitton, or lord knows who else just to keep him for one or two years? I would understand the decision to move on if it came to that. I think he would, too.

      Remember, his salary is guaranteed if he’s on the roster for the first week of the season.

  18. Randy R

    iltarion…Clifton could never run block, thats not news..watch all of these preseason games and put a stop clock on how much time Rodgers has for a play to develop, actually do the same for the last couple years. Our run blocking is horrible. Stitton is our best linemen right now, i never said different. I said we have line problems. bury your head in the sand if you want to. When Rodgers gets hurt, i’ll talk to you again.

  19. Randy R

    Maybe you dont watch the games…But DD has turned into a 5,6 yard possesion receiver, except for the catch against the weak 49ers, he doesnt have many yac any more, thats not how he’s used.

  20. FerdaPack56

    To me Driver is still the most sure handed guy on the team. He may or may not be but he has made so many big catches over the years and sacrifices his body so you know he is gonna do what it takes to convert on a tough play. Gotta keep him, see how this year goes and have the talk in the off season about whether another year is in the cards.

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