Thursday, May 10, 2012
No rush on Packers' Donald Driver decision
By Kevin Seifert
This just in: Our coverage of the Minnesota Vikings' stadium bill has sparked a mixture of anger, boredom and protests from many of you. I'm sorry. It has been the most important offseason story in NFC North, especially when you consider it could have ended with one of our teams relocating and ultimately breaking up the very makeup of the division.
In reality, the early part of May is a relatively quiet time around the NFL. Trust me, you haven't missed any big NFC North news by following this blog. But I do recognize the need to rebalance our post distribution, and we'll work to do that over the coming days, weeks and months before training camp.
Let's start with a question from Will of Wauwatosa, Wis., who wonders why Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson hasn't made the expected move to release receiver Donald Driver: "If Ted Thompson is 'all business' and there are no personal feelings in his decisions, why doesn't he just cut Driver now? Why does he really care if he's on 'Dancing with the Stars?'"
I can't say for sure that Driver's continuing stint on "DWTS" is behind Thompson's current approach. All we know is that Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy were pretty tight-lipped about Driver's future when asked after the draft.
But from a business standpoint, there doesn't appear to be much of a rush to run Driver out of town, even if that's what the Packers ultimately decide to do. As Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported in March, the Packers aren't on the hook for any payments to Driver until the first day of training camp. If he's on the roster at that point, they would owe him $1.5 million.
Driver is in line for a $200,000 workout bonus if he participates in the Packers' offseason strength and conditioning program, but his work on "DWTS" has kept him away so far.
It doesn't make intuitive sense that the Packers would bring back Driver as the No. 4 or 5 receiver. The team might well agree. But there will be a window to deal with the situation after "DWTS" -- and before the Packers would owe Driver anything -- if that's what it comes to.