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Guaranteed Money Suggests Driver Won't Be Released Before 2012 Season

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Guaranteed Money Suggests Driver Won't Be Released Before 2012 Season

If guaranteed money in the NFL talks, the roster spot of Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver appears to be safe for 2012.

According to Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Driver's restructured deal calls for $1.2 million in guaranteed dollars —which Demovsky ties to a secure place on the Packers' 53-man roster ahead of the 2012 season.

According to a source with access to NFL Players Association contract information, Driver’s renegotiated contract, which was dated May 30, is worth $2.3 million. The base salary is $1.1 million, while the roster bonus is $1.2 million, the same as the guaranteed money. There are no additional bonuses or seasons added.

It’s unclear when the roster bonus was paid, but the fact that Driver is guaranteed $1.2 million almost certainly means there’s no chance the Packers would release him before the start of the season.

Driver, 37, was scheduled to make over $5 million in 2012 before the two sides agreed to a restructure. A $1.5 million roster bonus would have been paid to the veteran receiver on the first day of training camp, but the numbers suggest that Driver isn't losing much in terms of guaranteed money with his new deal.

It remains entirely possible that the $1.2 million in guaranteed money could be separated between a one-time bonus and 16 per-game roster bonuses. Either way, that sizable amount of guaranteed money means the Packers are counting on Driver being on the 53-man roster to start next season.

No team—and especially the fiscally responsible Packers—would risk throwing away that kind of money on a 37-year-old if it didn't expect that player to make the team and contribute over 16 games.

In 2011, Driver posted 10-year lows in catches (37) and receiving yards (445). He played the third most snaps of any receiver on the Packers roster with 563, but that was a big drop off from the 830 he participated on in 2010.

Given all the factors working against him, Driver's roster spot appeared to be in serious jeopardy early this offseason.

With second-year receiver Randall Cobb primed to take on a bigger role in 2012 and emerging practice squad players in Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel, the Packers came into the spring well-stocked to take on the loss of the veteran receiver. One could argue that the team has 7-8 NFL-quality receivers on the roster currently.

GM Ted Thompson has also never been shy about cutting ties with veteran players, and his track record with letting go of older players is sound.

Even a restructured deal completed in late May didn't have to guarantee that Driver was back in 2012, but the guaranteed money suggests he'll finish out his career with the Packers next season.

Driver's one-year deal mirrors what the Packers did with Ryan Grant last summer. In exchange for slashing Grant's base salary, the Packers guaranteed the rest of his 2011 salary—ensuring that Grant would be in Green Bay last season. Driver's deal appears to be making the same kind of one-year commitment from the Packers side.

Barring some catastrophic injury this summer, expect Driver to be on the team's 53-man roster come September.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (12) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture



Mojo's picture

I'm not sure DD is guaranteed a roster spot. Think about it, if the Pack wanted to move on to other players, while still giving a beloved veteran a golden parachute, this would be the perfect way to do it. Even from a PR standpoint, I think most fans who want DD to remain, would at least concede he got a fair compensation package.

The Packers aren't as stingy as made out to be. I think at times they overpay some veterans, in part, to acknowledge their contributions to the organization (Woodson, Cliffy's last contract).

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

The powers that be want DD on the squad this year. I fail to understand why people can't grasp this.

Charlie m's picture

They're going to pay him to not play? #bishplease

Tarynfor12's picture

TT made the right choice for the long term and sacrificing the short in the Cullen Jenkins decision.

However,IMO,he has gambled with long term talent leaving with keeping Driver at the high risk of losing not one but two WR futures in Gurley and Borel.

Both will go elsewhere if at least one isn't on this team and unless MM keeps 6 WRs and that would become a shared spot with Driver whether activitated weekly or not could persuade the other to remain on the PS based on a more likely departure of Driver for good after this season or an injury of another.

For me,the reason for keeping DD will be evident during camp.If he isn't put to the field against the others but is more caressed as a veteran who needs not participate...a total PR signing.

If DD can't shake LBs,we better keep 6 WRs.

gratif's picture

DD's slot game still very much works. This is not a Hines Ward situation. There would have been plenty of interest in DD on the open market.

packsmack25's picture

Gurley and Borel might both suck, let's be serious here. There's a reason they were undrafted.

Kparis99's picture

Now this is a great point!

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture


Really though... They very easily could be J.A.G.

And the nonsense about Ted giving up the farm so they didn't leave, is just that, nonsense. They've both flashed potential so Ted threw a few bucks at em, big deal. But it's obvious nobody in the FO was ready to anoint either of them just yet.

KurtMc's picture

DD will play. Hes a leader, and connects well with the fans and has some great advice to offer younger WR's. Again, I wouldn't be suprised to see #80 in a coaching role 2013.

TE is going to be thin, with Finly, Crabtree and ? as the only locks.

Don't forget the TT was shopping Jones before draft day.

Glad #80 is back for a last year & look forward to see him play in any capacity.

Ruppert's picture

Glad he's back. Unless he looks really old in camp, I think he'll stick for the year. If Gurley or Borel show enough talent in camp, he'll keep them, too. In today's NFL, having 6 WRs really isn't that bad of an idea.

markinmadison's picture

I wonder if the restructured contract converts into a personal services contract? I wonder if the Packers think either Gurly or Borel are truly special, or are just guys that be replaced easily if needed,

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