Nick Collins Released: What Does That Mean for the Green Bay Packers?

Matt SteinCorrespondent IIApril 25, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 18:  Play is stoped as Nick Collins #36 of the Green Bay Packers is injured against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

According to Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee, the Green Bay Packers have informed Nick Collins that he'll be released. This news comes months after Collins sustained a brutal neck injury during the 2011 season that caused him to miss the final 14 games of the Packers season.

Collins was easily one of the best defensive players on the Packers roster, and also one of the better safeties in the entire league prior to his injury. He was voted to three straight Pro Bowls and All-Pro teams prior to the 2011 season.

So, what does this exactly mean for Green Bay and Collins?

For starters, it means that the Packers clearly don't feel that Collins is healthy enough to play, and they aren't comfortable putting him in a position that could cause him harm. We know just how much head coach Mike McCarthy loves Collins, and his statements about what he'd do if Collins was his son were truly heartwarming.

As for the future for Green Bay, they'll likely look to address the safety position in the 2012 NFL draft that starts tomorrow evening. Whether safety becomes a bigger and more pressing need than outside linebacker for the first round is definitely a question worth asking.

The issue for the Packers may be the lack of overall talent at free safety in this year's draft. Other than Markelle Martin for Oklahoma State, there aren't many prospects who would be ready to make an impact early in their career. Even Martin will take some time to learn the professional game.

One option would be to move Morgan Burnett from strong safety to free safety, and draft a strong safety to cover for Burnett. This move makes quite a bit of sense considering the ability that Burnett has at making plays on the ball.

Another option would be to stick with the combination of Jarrett Bush, Charlie Peprah and M.D. Jennings at free safety and keep Burnett at strong safety. To be honest, this option is a scary one for the Packers. Their secondary was torn apart last year by opposing offenses, and neither Bush or Peprah were able to make much of an impact.

Whatever happens in the upcoming days, one thing we can be completely certain about is that Collins will be greatly missed in Green Bay. I can guarantee that there isn't one person out there who won't wish Collins the absolute best for his future.