Donald Driver Makes Good on Promise, Will Return to Green Bay in 2012

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Packers WR Dons
Donald Driver has reportedly agreed to a new contract with the Packer

It wasn’t too long ago that Donald Driver threw out a questionable comment on Twitter, stating that he’d be a Packer for life.  While that left many wondering what that exactly meant, it appears that the question has been answered.

According to Lance Allen, the Green Bay Packers and Donald Driver have agreed on new terms and the deal should be finalized sometime today.  Allen received an email from Driver’s agent Jordon Woy stating that it is all but a done deal now.

While the terms of the contract have yet to be made known, it would be rather surprising if Driver didn’t take a major pay cut to stay on the Packers roster.  Considering the amount of talent and depth that Green Bay has at the wide receiver position, paying Driver, who isn’t likely to have a major impact in 2012, $5 million a year seems like quite a stretch, even for one of the most beloved players in franchise history.

Personally, I’ve been a long supporter of the Packers and Driver parting ways for the upcoming season for a number of reasons, with the main one being the development of the younger receivers on the roster.  While Driver may still be able to make an impact, it would be foolish to think that he can be as dynamic a player as Randall Cobb or even James Jones.

Both Cobb and Jones provide the big-play ability that Driver is no longer able to provide because of his age.  It’s hard to imagine the Packers re-structuring Driver’s deal only to have him sit on the bench.  If Driver is on the roster, the Packers will put him on the field which means that the younger receivers on the roster will lose valuable playing time.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Donald Driver.  His story is one of the best; a late-round draft pick working his tail off to make a roster and becoming a top player at his position.

Unfortunately, the only thing that Driver can continue to bring to the team is his story.  His play on the field has declined over the past two years, and despite his rigorous offseason training program of Dancing With the Stars, his play will likely decline in 2012.

Of course, we’ll have to wait until the contract details are fully known before passing final judgement, but unless Driver took a gigantic pay-cut, I can’t see how Green Bay comes out on top of this one.

 

  • kycheesehead

    It’s the intangibles with Driver. As a long time packer fan, I would love to see him back!

  • PackerBacker

    This seems like a good PR move. Give Driver one more year. Do the goodbye tour. Use him on third down and in the red zone where good routes and the ability to catch the ball is most important. Appears to be good role model for younger players. Also gives them some insurance if a player gets hurt.
    I think Jones is done in Greenbay, Cobb is better, and sounds like Gurley might be at least as good as him.

    • JimR_in_DC

      It’s nice to see DD back, but I’m a bit surprised to see that. I wonder if TT can move successfully JJ to another team before the roster cut down. Maybe when injuries to WRs start to present opportunities. Hell, the Packers might still end up needing him (knock on wood).

      • PackersRS

        There’re still questions about the UDFA rookies of last year. They haven’t played a down in the NFL, and in MM’s scheme you need to have 5 capable receivers. Injuries happen, so in reality you need at least 6 weapons.

        Can those rookies stay healthy throughout the season? Are they gonna run precise routes? Can you rely on them in crunch time? All those things Driver brings to the table, not to mention chemistry with Rodgers, in terms of ball speed and placement in different routes, as well as in option routes.

        It isn’t as simple as get rid of the old guy and let the rookies play. Not when the old guy is Driver, and the rookies weren’t even drafted.

        • Oppy

          Donald Driver just -barely- avoided being undrafted, himself.

          • PackersRS

            Which doesn’t have anything to do. The point is that management won’t commit a spot to players they didn’t draft.

            But they will so to Driver, because of what I listed.

            Unless he proves too slow to play anymore.

  • http://N/A RobTXPackerBacker

    OK, you’ve shown your butt and I’m calling you on it…where are you formulating this opinion from? Can’t be stats; Driver out performed Cobb all year last year (Driver 37-Rec 445-Yds 6-TD 0-Fumble // Cobb 25-Rec 375-yds 1-TD 1-Fumble), BTW your comment about “While Driver may still be able to make an impact, it would be foolish to think that he can be as dynamic a player as Randall Cobb or even James Jones…even James Jones”…are you insane the numbers are even better (38-Rec 635-Yds 7-TD). Since it can’t be stats driving this opinion, and you say you LOVE driver, and you admit to his off-season training not being a factor…I can draw only a couple conclusions…you made a mistake, you’re not credible, or you’re not real bright. my coaching is work on the first two ’cause you can’t fix the last.

    • Chad Toporski

      You can disagree without being disrespectful. It is possible.

      And why can’t stats drive this opinion? Driver’s targets for the season were at 56 total, while Cobb’s were at 31. That means:

      Catch rate: Driver 66.1%, Cobb 80.6%
      Yards per target: Driver 7.9, Cobb 12.1
      Yards per catch: Driver 12.0, Cobb 15

      It only makes sense that Cobb will see an increased role next year, as he will no longer be a rookie and will know the offense better. If he continues to produce at a higher snap and target count, then he will undoubtedly surpass Driver.

      Besides, you never provided much support for your conclusion outside of the basic stats you provided. So give us some more insight that you think we’re missing.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Speaking of “not too bright”, nice job comparing pass-catching stats of two players, one who was in for 409 pass plays, the other for 205.

      James Jones is a more fair comparison, being in for 375 pass plays and being thrown at 54 times with 38 receptions vs, Driver’s, 409, 54 and 37.

      • Tarynfor12

        Yet,many want JJ traded…

    • Oppy

      As both Chad and Al have noted, stats are a fine thing, but you have to have to have stats that relate, and you have to have all the stats to see the big picture clearly.

      On the other hand, you clearly missed on both counts.

      BTW, all stats aside- if you can’t see the obvious talent the Cobb exudes when the ball is in his hands, you probably aren’t qualified to to “coach” anyone in the first place. That kid is a play maker waiting to happen. All he needs is opportunity. He’ll be making a substantial leap in his sophomore season.

  • Tarynfor12

    Stats and Highlight Reels…two of the most over used and abused ways of defending ones points for players.

  • Ron LC

    First, DD is back because TT and MM want him back. How hey fit him into the puzzle that is 2012 is their job. I’m sure they have a plan.

    Second, I have absolutely no doubt that Cobb will be getting more and more responsibility as the season goes on. I look to some creative ways they will take advantage of a very talented young player.

    Third, Borrel and Gurley will get plenty of shots to prove themselves during the OTA’s and Pre-season this year. If they excell they will make the team somehow. If not, the current roster did ok by themselves last year.

    Finally, I’m really happy to see DD will get his chance to play with the Packers once again. As far as I can tell, his contract has few, if any, guarentees. That means it is still possible to cut him outright later on.

  • marpag

    I love DD… and I think this was the wrong move. It’s time to move one.