Donald Driver has always wanted to retire as a Green Bay Packer, and after the details of his restructured contract were released yesterday, it appears his dream is likely to become a reality.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Driver and the Packers agreed to restructure his contract, allowing him to return to the team this season and, according to Driver's official Twitter page, ensuring he will retire as a Packer:
"Tweeps: when I said I will be a Packer for life. It is now true. Packer for life."
At this point, the Packers have yet to release an official statement on the deal with Driver, but it appears to be all but completed. Yet without the full details, questions remain about whether the deal guarantees Driver a spot on the roster in 2012, as he says it does.
Last offseason, Ryan Grant restructured his deal with the Packers near the end of training camp in a way that it essentially guaranteed him a spot on the 53-man roster. In the contract, Grant agreed to reduce his salary by $1 million and in exchange, the Packers guaranteed the remainder of his $2.5 million salary for the rest of the season.
Former Packers vice president Andrew Brandt reported that Driver's restructured contract is worth a total of $2.5 million, with $500,00 coming in the form of a bonus. Brandt said the deal "should ensure his spot with the team," according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
If Brandt's report, which has yet to be confirmed by the team or Driver's agent, Jordan Woy, is true, then the Packers will enter training camp with a logjam at receiver, as Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb join Driver as locks to make the 53-man roster.
Unfortunately, that leaves little if any room for the promising group of wideouts behind the first five that includes second-year players Diondre Borel, Tori Gurley and Shaky Smithson, as well as rookie free agents Dale Moss and Marcus Rivers.
It's not out of the realm of possibility that Green Bay keeps six receivers; after all, the team kept five tight ends in 2011 and three fullbacks in 2010, so the precedent for having an abundance of players at one position exists.
Considering the Packers have 10 receivers with a legitimate chance at making the roster, it should create one of the more compelling training camp battles this summer, as the five up-and-comers fight for one of the final spots on Green Bay's 53-man roster.
If a favorite exists for the hypothetical sixth and final roster spot at receiver, it would be Gurley, as the second-year player out of South Carolina was offered a spot on the Vikings' active roster at the tail end of last season but turned it down to remain on the Packers' practice squad.
For now though, the drama with Driver, who caught 37 passes for 445 yards and six touchdowns in 2011, is over. The restructured deal between Driver and Green Bay guarantees his triumphant return for a 14th—and possibly final—season with the Packers.