Ryan Grant's potential dismissal from the Green Bay Packers has taken off and become the story of the day regarding the Packers. It turns out the Packers do not plan on cutting Grant and have asked him to restructure his contract. He agreed to decrease his base salary, but increase the amount of guaranteed money.
The whole mess started with a well-written and excellent read from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Silverstein about the possibility that Grant could be cut in favor of the cheaper and much younger Dimitri Nance. The article mentioned that Grant's salary could be a factor in the Packers' tough decision in making cuts.
The Packers have a potential starter in James Starks and a talented rookie in Alex Green. Those two are guaranteed to make the roster due to their youth, cheap contracts and potential. The remaining backs are Grant, Nance and Brandon Saine.
This possibility had not even come into play before last Friday's preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals. In the game, Nance was extremely productive, gaining 28 yards on four carries. He also did a fairly good job in pass protection. He has showed a good amount of improvement from last year into this preseason.
Saine is a candidate for the Packers' practice squad, but doesn't have much of a chance to make the 53-man roster. It seemed that Nance was the odd man out and would be looking for another job come September 3rd, but with a solid performance Nance is making the Packers' decision difficult.
Silverstein's article was all about raising the question of this possibility. Nowhere did it say how likely or that this was a definite decision just waiting to be official. Even then, the rumors started circulating and it was being reported all over the place that Grant had a good chance to be cut.
It turns out this is most likely not the case as Grant and the Packers agreed to restructure his contract according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Grant has agreed to a lower base salary, but also now has a guaranteed contract. This makes it extremely unlikely that the Packers cut Grant as they would be paying him the same amount either way.
Throughout Grant's career, he has been severely underrated by those around the league and even Packers fans. Grant is a talented back and has looked fairly good returning from a season-ending ankle injury. It will take Grant a while to get back to where he was, but this is not due to age or athleticism.
In the Packers' zone blocking system, patience and vision are extremely important. It takes time for backs to get their rhythm back.
Grant is more important to the Packers' offense than most give credit him credit for. He provides a tough runner that will be able to shoulder the load over the course of the first half of the season.
Starks' success was partly due to his fresh legs towards the end of the season. The same situation could play out in Green Bay this season with Grant handling most carries in the beginning of the year and Starks coming on later in the year as Mike McCarthy prefers using one feature back rather than two.
After struggling to run the ball last season and the amount of injuries, the Packers would be making a huge mistake in not keeping both players. Grant appears to be fine and the situation is one of extreme sensationalism. The idea in Silverstein's article was taken and run with. Grant will not just be on the roster, but he will be a big contributor this season.
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