Packer Update

DD’s deal should be well-received

Veteran wide receiver is now likely to finish his NFL career where it started

General manager Ted Thompson normally wouldn’t give a two-year extension to a 35-year-old player, but Donald Driver isn’t a typical 35-year-old player. Besides being one of the team’s emotional leaders on the field and one of its most respected voices in the locker room, the former Alcorn State star is still a very good football player. And that’s always the most important thing to consider when making this type of commitment to an older athlete. Driver is coming off a season in which he caught 70 passes for over 1,000 yards and 6 touchdowns. And while his numbers declined in November and December, it’s probably unfair to blame Father Time. With the running game picking up steam and emerging star Jermichael Finley becoming a much bigger part of the offense, there just weren’t as many opportunities for Driver.

It’s hard to find a downside to this move. Even if Driver unexpectedly hits the wall in 2010, the Packers would only be on the hook for two additional seasons. And while terms of the extension have yet to be released, the odds are that most of the guaranteed money will be paid out in 2010 – an uncapped year. So even if the worst-case scenario does happen, this deal isn’t going to cause any problems with the salary cap in the future – assuming, of course, that there is a salary cap in the future.

The only people in Wisconsin who probably aren’t thrilled by this news are Jordy Nelson and James Jones. That’s because Driver’s continued employment with the Packers will likely keep the former in a backup role for at least another two seasons and force the latter to flee via unrestricted free agency – perhaps as soon as next March. Coach Mike McCarthy spent the entire offseason heaping praise upon Nelson and Jones, and he wasn’t just blowing smoke. Both players are capable of starting for half the teams in the league, but amazingly, one of them will be the No. 4 wide receiver this season. Chaucer once wrote¬†that “Patience is a high virtue.” Easy for him to say. He wasn’t a football player looking to make a name for himself in a sport that rewards big stats with big money.

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7 Comments to "DD’s deal should be well-received"

  1. Tangysizzl says:

    Driver has many things going for him that most 36 yr old WRs don’t. For one the guy took a few years to finally crack the starting lineup so he has less wear and tear on his body. Also hes never really had a serious injury that I can remember and he keeps himself in phenominal shape.

    To here him talk now its sounds like hes a new man after the knee scopes and I don’t doubt for one second he will be able to perform at a high level through this new contract.

    All Nelson and Jones have to do is look at Donald Driver, hes the perfect ezample for them on how a slow start to a career doesn’t mean jack. Donald will become the Packers all time leading receiver this season and thats not too shabby for a former 7th round pick who worked his way to greatness with a huge smile on his face the whole time.

    I do think that TT should entertain trade offers for James or Jordy though, no way will TT be able to pay to keep both guys especially since Finley has emerged as a big time playmaker too.

    The same goes for either Hawk or Bishop, one of these guys is gone after the season, no matter what happens so why not find a trade partner to get something of value for these guys before they walk away in FA.

    • stroh says:

      That’s why I was surprised that Driver got an extension… We used 2nd and 3rd rd picks on Nelson and Jones, put in alot of time coaching and developing them and just as they are ready to take on a more prominent role, they are going to be leaving! It just isn’t a very good way of doing business in the NFL! WHere the saying is, “its always better to let a guy go a year too early than a year too late”!!! At least Drivers contracts in ’11 and ’12 are at a relative bargain at 4 or 5M per… Hopefully Driver will accept a more limited role so we can keep Jones and Nelson just as they are ready for starting roles!

  2. DaveK says:

    Last year because of injuries we were essentially using our 6th CB at the start of camp as our nickel CB. It was an endless b-tch fest from fans about his performance. Don’t underestimate depth and be willing to trade away good talent to get marginal talent in return at a “need” position. It isn’t a unlikely scenario that either Jennings or Driver gets knicked up this year and misses some time. We’ll be pretty glad that Jones is sitting there ready to side into that 3rd WR slot when that happens….unless of course you think Brett Swain can fill that role as well as Jones. I sure don’t. I’m not saying TT shouldn’t explore the possibility of trading Jones but the reality is that the likelihood of another GM offering an OLB or CB or G that is any better then what we have now at those positions is very remote.

    • Michael Rodney says:

      Agree there’s no reason to trade Jones. If he leaves after the season, then Ted would have all offseason to find a capable replacement.

      • nerdmann says:

        Will Jones be unrestricted, or will we get compensation for him if he leaves?

        Assuming there’s a new CBA and assuming the rules for unrestricted free agency revert back to the way they were prior to this offseason, Jones would be unrestricted.

        • stroh says:

          IF the CBA is like this year Jones would be a restricted FA. Thompson wouldn’t let him leave as a restricted FA. If like before this year he is Unrestricted. If he leaves via UFA the Packers get a compensatory pick based on his salary and production. Most likely under this years CBA Thompson would try to find a trading partner before he gets away!

  3. Finally, a contract signed (extended) that carries absolutely NO negative connotations, IOW a no-brainer. We’re all anxious to see if his “new” knees help him this year. No matter, since he’ll be in less pain and make his famous smile less strained. Congratulations Donald. All of us are your fans.

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