Sales from the Packer Pro Shop’s clearance section just might achieve record volume this spring. In just over one week the organization saw departures of two fan favorites, with a third likely to follow in March. Such represents a change in face for the franchise, losing three players that all played multiple seasons with Brett Favre. Given Ted Thompson’s track record, the moves shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
From a business perspective, dropping Donald Driver, Charles Woodson and Greg Jennings makes sense. Driver and Woodson exhibited declining play in their old age and Jennings struggled to stay healthy in 2012. All three made major dents in the salary cap. The disappointing aspect of these departures is obviously seeing Jennings and Woodson play in different uniforms in the fall.
While it’s rare for a team to oust two big name receivers in one offseason, the Packers clearly have the depth to support it. Randall Cobb was arguably the most electric player on offense in 2012 and James Jones experienced a rebound year. It’s Woodson who had the more questionable set of backups, something GM Ted Thompson will need to address in the upcoming NFL draft.
The cost cutting may only be beginning. Even if the Packers allow Jermichael Finley to play out the last year of his two-year contract, it’s a virtual certainty that the tight end won’t be back after that. The player that could see the chopping block before Finley is inside linebacker A.J. Hawk. Though some would argue Hawk just played his best season as a pro, he remains very average.
Other players Thompson may look to drop this offseason or next include Tramon Williams, Ryan Pickett and James Starks, though all for different reasons. The front office knows that simply being a contender doesn’t cut it in Green Bay. Thus, the necessary moves are being made to get the Packers back to the big game, something that should have happened at least once in the past two years.