Green Bay Packers: Why Keeping Donald Driver and Chad Clifton Is a Bad Idea

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIMarch 29, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 01:  Donald Driver #80 of the Green Bay Packers reacts as he scores a touchdown against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on January 1, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 45-41.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Following a recent report from Pro Football Talk, it appears the Green Bay Packers are willing to keep veterans Donald Driver and Chad Clifton on their roster heading into the 2012 season.

As much as I love Driver and Clifton, this is a bad idea for the Packers organization on numerous fronts.

For starters, Driver and Clifton will both be set to make over $5 million next year in salaries and bonuses. While money isn't a good reason to let someone go, it is at least something to think about with the Packers' lack of overall cash.

Rather, Green Bay needs to get rid of Driver and Clifton—in a classy way, of course—because of their age and diminishing impact on the roster.

Both players will be over 35 years old heading into the 2012 season. While that certainly isn't ancient, it is old, especially when you consider injuries and lack of production.

Over the past four seasons, Clifton has missed 15 games, 10 of which came during the 2011 season alone. For Driver, his numbers have steadily dropped over the past two seasons. His 2011 campaign saw him record his lowest totals in receiving yards and receptions since the 2002 season.

It's not like the Packers don't have plenty of players who are ready and willing to step in for these two legends.

At receiver, the Packers are literally loaded with talent. For a second, forget about Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson. Green Bay still has James Jones, Tori Gurley and Randall Cobb. Either one of those three players are a better option than Driver at wide receiver.

While offensive tackle may not be as deep as receiver, Green Bay still has talent at that position. When Clifton went down with an injury in 2011, second-year player Marshall Newhouse stepped in and played exceptionally well for the majority of the season. We also can't forget about the Packers' 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod, who I'm sure the Packers would love to develop into a starting-caliber lineman.

Keeping Driver and Clifton for another year would simply inhibit these young players from getting the playing time that they need to develop. It would be a hindrance that would make Green Bay a worse team in the future.

The right move for Green Bay is to release both Clifton and Driver. They may decide to sign with other teams, which would certainly be hard to watch, but at least the Packers could continue to move towards that bright, bright future of theirs.