Sunday May Have Been Last Hurrah For These Packers

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Donald Driver

As is the case with any offseason, the Green Bay Packers will lose some players. This offseason may be a little different though, because some familiar faces are likely to have played their last game for the team.

Here’s a look at the veterans who could be playing elsewhere next season.

Ryan Grant — Grant just played out the final year of his contract and didn’t look like the same back he did before injuring his knee in 2010. While he had some decent games at the end of the regular season, he finished the year with just 559 yards and two touchdowns. Grant can probably still contribute, but it’s hard to envision it being with the Packers. The team doesn’t bother to establish the run and if and when they do, James Starks will be the team’s No. 1 back. The Packers also have third-round pick Alex Green returning.

Donald Driver — Driver is still under contract for one more season, but he’ll cost the Packers $5 million if they keep him under that current contract. That’s a lot to pay a receiver who’s 37 and is no longer among the team’s top three options. The veteran pass catcher caught just 37 balls for 445 yards and six touchdowns this year. While he wants to keep playing and can obviously still contribute, the Packers have younger receivers they’ll want to get opportunities. Randall Cobb seems ready to move up the depth chart and the team has Tori Gurley waiting in the wings on the practice squad.

Nick Collins — Collins was sorely missed after injuring his neck early in the season. While the Packers would love to have him back, it may not be in the cards medically. The safety had the same spinal fusion surgery Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning did. He’s waiting to see how the injury has healed and should know by March whether he’ll be able to continue his football career. The Packers simply may have to move on without him.

Jermichael Finley — Finley is one of the top five tight ends in football talent-wise, but that didn’t always translate to the field this season. He did record 55 receptions, 767 yards and eight touchdowns, but he also dropped more than his share of passes. Still, he’s a matchup problem for any team and the Packers most likely want him back. The question is, at what price? Efforts to negotiate a new contract with the tight end during the season failed. The team may use the franchise tag on him or they may decide he isn’t worth the price and move on with their younger tight ends.

Matt Flynn — Aaron Rodgers’ backup is expected to be in demand in free agency. He raised his stock in his one start this year by throwing a team-record six touchdown passes. Someone will look at him as a potential starting quarterback and Flynn wants an opportunity to be just that. It seems fairly obvious if Flynn reaches free agency, he’ll sign elsewhere. The Packers may consider signing him with the intention of trading him.

Jarrett Bush — Bush isn’t as big of name as the other players on this list, but he’s a valuable contributor nonetheless. He’s turned himself into a special teams ace and the Packers dime cornerback just a couple years after being a complete liability. Bush isn’t going to be a starter in Green Bay or anywhere else, but the things he brings to the table will get him a decent contract offer. Whether the Packers will pay market value for him remains to be seen. They’ve made no effort to re-sign him thus far.

Chad Clifton — The veteran tackle is at the end of the line. He just finished playing out the two-year contract he signed before the 2010 season and it’s hard to see the Packers or anyone else signing him. He’ll be 36 when the 2012 season starts and when he wasn’t injured this season, he was shaky. The Packers have younger options in Marshall Newhouse and Derek Sherrod waiting to take Clifton’s place.

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.

42 Comments on "Sunday May Have Been Last Hurrah For These Packers"

  1. Richard

    Good Riddance to all of them. Trade one of the QBs for draft picks and put together a competitive defense for next season.

  2. Dusty

    Out of all the above players, Donald Driver would be the toughest one to see leave. Sure he isn’t among the main targets anymore, but he brings a level of leadership to the offense, especially the receiving corp that would be very hard to fill if he left. As far as the others on the list, I think they franchise Finley and give him one more year to improve his skills before giving him a contract or letting him go. I hope Collins comes back, he was great in the middle of the field, but a healthy life is more important than a few more years of football.

  3. Richard

    Disagree on Finley. They played better playoff offense when he wasn’t dropping passes, and clearly the regular season W-L record is overvalued as the 9-7 Giants just proved. 5 tight ends on this roster and none of them can catch the ball.

  4. Shawn iltarion

    My predictions:

    Grant – Gone. Bu-bye. I would suggest drafting a smallish RB with speed in the 3rd or 4th round to pair with Starks. The Packers don’t need a 20 carry back. They just need someone who can make a play the couple times he touches it.

    Double D – Will always be a Packer, but his desire to play until he’s 40 might mean he’ll need to finish his career elsewhere. With Cobb and Gurley waiting in the wings, it is hard to see the Packers keeping him even if he took less money.

    Collins – His status is key. If he can’t play, the Packers need to draft safety in the first 2 rounds or move Woodson there.

    YOTC – (Year of the Choke) – Drops are a fixable thing. Does anyone remember that Tony Gonzalez couldn’t catch a cold his first couple years? I reverse what I’ve been saying all year and say you franchise him and hope he realizes his potentional. After Sunday’s debauchery, now is no time to take a step back.

    Matt Ryan – Good luck. Hello 3rd round compensatory pick. After just 2 good starts, a 3rd rounder is fair compensation.

    Jarrett Bush – Ironically has his hands firmly in both epic losses to the Giants. In 2008, he failed to recover a muffed punt that could have won the game in regulation for the Packers. In 2012, he and Sam Shields trotted upfield, oblivious, as Hakeem Nicks caught a Hail Mary. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. ADIOS.

    Chad Clifton – See you at your Packer HOF ceremony. The Giants had one big play made by their vaunted defensive line- the fumble caused by Umenyora. Who did Osi beat? Clifton. Hello, Marshall Newhouse.

    • Savage57

      My 2 cents.

      Grant – concur
      Driver – concur, can’t wait to see Gurley play
      Collins – done (see Sterling Sharpe and Tim Lewis)
      YOTC – it makes my head hurt just thinking about this guy
      Matt (Ryan?) Flynn – concur, Kevin Kolb (and every other prematurely appointed “heir apparent”) ver 2.0
      Jarret Bush – concur, have never seen an NFL player run around in circles as much as this cat does.
      Chad Clifton – Mark Tauscher ver 2.0

      And a couple overlooked….

      Wells – don’t pull a Mike Wahle with him
      Pat Lee – AMF

    • ay hombre

      My wife actually pointed out to me that there’s a ton of Matt quarterbacks… Stafford, Cassel, Ryan, Schaub, Leinart, Hasselbeck, Moore, Flynn.

      Name your son Matt and have him start throwing bullets at a young age I guess.

  5. Richard

    How much is Rodgers worth in a trade for draft picks? The defense could be turned around pretty quick and Flynn would be cheaper and could probably make the playoffs too. Rodgers stock won’t go much higher than it is right now.

  6. ThisGuy

    Thats the dumbest suggestion I’ve heard @richard… He’s our franchise qb and you don’t just go through them like they are expendable.. Complete moron.

  7. Derek

    Poor Collins. It’s too bad he got rocked like that. I don’t see a very bright future for him in the NFL…….if one at all, as stated above.

  8. Richard

    GB can’t keep them both and defense wins championships. I’m not interested in this becoming some version of the Colts that blow it every year because the QB carries a bad defense into the playoffs and makes the team appear to be better than they really are.

  9. Bart

    DD stays. No question. If you want a divided fan base, then by all means, cut him loose. I, for one, am not up for paying witness to the departure of one of the highest caliber team leaders in football.

  10. Walter

    Maybe we should trade Rodgers. We traded one franchise qb and that worked. It could work again. At least Rodgers has more time to shoot some David Gruber commercials.

  11. DJ

    All those guys are expendable and/or replaceable except Finley. No way we let him go. Yeah, I know he hasnt produced as expected…yeah, I know all about his drops…yeah, I know he has issues….but most players struggle the next season coming off a blown out knee and more importantly, he impacts the type Def & coverages that are thrown at us. We might be bitching & moaning about him but Def coordinators are terrified of him. There is a reason Jennings & Co outside rarely get double coverage and that reason is Finley. He also forces more Nickel which, if our OL is healthy, will help our running game. Nobody on this list, except Collins (which is different being that its medical and which also sucks bcuz he was awesome) impacts the team as much with their departure as Finley would. I’d be shocked if we didnt tag him.

  12. ThisGuy

    So in the late 90s after they failed to go back to back, did you suggest to trade Favre to improve the team in other areas and promote Doug Peterson to starter?? Step back from the ledge guys, you’re all acting like its the first time you’ve seen the Packers lose a playoff game. Grow up. Shut up. And realize that the team will make the necessary adjustments and move on.

  13. Richard

    These are good questions. What would Favre have been worth in draft picks in 98?? Those picks would’ve probably been more valuable than 3 early round playoff wins over the next 10 years followed by 3 embarrassing homefield losses. The Jets would be one idea but they don’t have much for young defense. Maybe JJ Watt, Brooks Reed, and a couple of high draft picks from Houston.

  14. Chas

    Driver will be back as a Packer next season, but at a reduced salary.
    Finley is an asset, but a basket head. “My gloves let me down” when he looks at his hands after each drop.
    Bush is average.
    Grant is ok, but with the little running we do need someone faster.
    Flynn have a good one, he deserves it.
    Collins is a beast and I hope he heals. Maybe he can call on a Angel of Reggie White and have God heal him.

  15. ThisGuy

    Will Flynn repeat that performance? Probably not. Would Rodgers have done that? Probably not because with him in the game they would have established enough of a lead they they didn’t have to pass the ball all game long. That Lions game made us look like every team we beat this year. Having to pass the ball to stay in the game. Those stats are flawed, a fantastic performance, but one thats unlikely to be repeated by Flynn

  16. Shawn iltarion

    The notion of trading A-Rodge is too hilarious to take seriously, but I’ll play along for like 10 seconds.

    Elite QBs don’t get traded until their prime is well past. The only exception in recent history is Drew Brees. How well did that work out for San Diego?

    And Jay Cutler isn’t elite.

    Secondly, why would you trade Rodgers and make Flynn the starter when Graham Harrell is going to be a better player than Flynn?

    Its not like we need a boatload of draft picks anyway. We were 15-1 this year. Maybe people forgot, which would be kind of understandable.

    • Savage57

      Interesting observation regarding Brees.

      San Diego cast their lot with the supposed can’t miss guy, Phillip Rivers, who has proven he also can’t win.

      Brees, as you pointed out, grew hisself an AR-sized chip on his shoulder.

      If people think Favre had a hard on for the Packers post 2008, can you imagine the woody that AR would be sportin’ every time he faced the Packers if they traded him?

      Cat is a saver and loves paying back.

  17. Richard

    No time for homework. I’m too busy watching highlights all week of the Packers get steamrolled by a 9-7 Giants team.

  18. 8BitEra

    My predictions:

    Grant – Gone, but he needs to be replaced with either a speedy edge guy or a bruising between the tackles guy. Both games we lost this season showed that opposing teams don’t take our rushing game seriously. In all honesty, they shouldn’t. It’s a joke.

    Driver – If he wants to continue to play for GB, he’ll need to take a pay cut of at least $3 mil. He can still contribute, but he’s a 3/4 option at best. I’ll always love him as a player, a person, and how hard he’s played for us, but I have my TT hat on right now.

    Collins – Obviously they’ll take their time and let him recover. If his prognosis is good in the next few months (and I truly hope it is), he’ll clearly stick around.

    Finley – Bottom line is, he hasn’t earned top 5 tight end money. After losing a season and having a rough season this year, he’s got some catching up to do. When he can play at the Gronk, J. Graham, V. Davis level, then pay the man. I say give him a backloaded deal with less guaranteed money to let him attempt to make up for lost time. If he doesn’t want it, he can walk. May get Transition tag, but I don’t think he’ll be Franchised.

    Matt Flynn – I think TT’s going to have to accept the 3rd round compensatory pick. It’d be great to see them pull off a Kolb-style coup, but I don’t see it happening.

    Jarrett Bush – This will come down to what the market for him is. If other teams offer him some decent coin, he’s out. If no one’s interested, he’ll be back for peanuts.

    Chad Clifton – Thanks for all the great years you gave us, Clif. It’s been a honor to watch you play and I’m grateful for all you’ve contributed to team.

  19. Richard

    “Play physical football … and beat the hell out of No. 88.”

    The Giants theme going into the game. He’s not worth the time or the money, and it’s predictable that Rodgers will force him the ball to try and shut him up even though he drops critical passes.

  20. nurseratchett

    I understand it, but I don’t want it….as I said when this talk was flying around last year after the lock out, Donald Driver’s intangibles make him an asset to young player development and the locker room. Drive still isn’t afraid to throw a block or take a hit. He’s still a threat when we send everyone down field & the secondary is on Jennings, Nelson, etc., like a hair-shirt.

    I want him to retire with the Packers. I think he’s earned it.

  21. Shawn iltarion

    NR, everyone would like DD to retire a Packer, but if he is going to play until he’s 40, then the writing is on the wall.

    Cobb needs to get the ball more and Gurley should make the roster next season.

  22. Richard

    Im sorry, but Brees and Rivers aren’t much different. One might even argue that switching spots, Rivers would have the 2009 ring with the crazy homefield advantage and overall team NO had.

  23. jeremy

    Chad Clifton is not a free agent. He has one more year left at about 5mil. I doubt he pays for that number.

  24. Richard

    Its unfortunate that Driver was the only solid player for GB last Sunday and now will get ushered out of town for his troubles. I guess that’s the game. Now GB can give Finley a huge deal so he can stare at his empty gloves with the season on the line.

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