Receiver Donald Driver is going to be on the Green Bay Packers roster in 2012.
How do we know this? The team gave him $1.2 million guaranteed as part of his recently-renegotiated contract, according to Rob Demovsky. He’ll make $1.1 million in base salary on the deal, which expires after this season.
There are quite a few ramifications to consider here.
1. The roster spot
The Packers wouldn’t have guaranteed Driver $1.2 million if they thought they might release him. They don’t do business that way. No, Driver will be on the Packers roster this season, which, you could argue, is simply so he can retire with the team. It allows the organization to avoid a PR nightmare like they had when they got rid of Brett Favre. The Packers wouldn’t miss Driver’s production and he’s no better than their fifth receiver at this point, but thanks to Dancing With The Stars, he’s never been more popular. We can guarantee you the Packers don’t want to be the assholes who cut the DWTS champ. Which brings us to…
2. The young guys
With Driver taking up a roster spot, the Packers are going to lose one of their promising, young practice squad receivers. That is, unless they decide to do something out of character like trade James Jones. We’re talking about Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel, of course. Both will push for a roster spot this season. Both were offered active roster spots with other teams last season. Both have huge upside. The Packers have traditionally kept only five receivers under Mike McCarthy. This year, they’ll have to keep six just to keep Driver and Borel or Gurley on the team. If the Packers can’t trade the odd man out, he’s sure to sign with another team. Either way, Borel or Gurley are playing elsewhere this season. Which is too bad because…
3. Driver’s career is essentially over
When the Packers renegotiated Driver’s deal, they made two things pretty clear. By lowering the amount of the deal, they told him he won’t play a very big role in the offense. By not extending it past 2012, they told him they expect him to retire after the season. Whether he’ll do that or not is the real question, but there isn’t a very big market for receivers pushing 40. Just ask Hines Ward.