There’s been a lot of speculation about the futures of Packers tackle Chad Clifton and wide receiver Donald Driver this offseason, but coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday that both veterans remain in the team’s plans.
Clifton is set to make $5.75 million in salary and bonuses this season, a big sum for a player who struggled with injuries in 2011 and had back surgery after the season ended. Word has been that he will be released while the Packers go with younger players at tackle, but McCarthy was adamant that Clifton can still have a place on the team.
“Definitely,” McCarthy said, via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “There’s definitely a possibility. We haven’t taken him off (the roster), so he’s someone we’ll continue to talk about and get the reports. He’s down in Tennessee now, so we’ll see how he recovers.”
The Packers start their workouts on April 15th, so there’s not much urgency to make a decision now. Marshall Newhouse and Derek Sherrod are both on the roster already, giving them options in the event they decide Clifton can’t help the team. The team has also looked at free agent Demetrius Bell and there’s not much harm in having competition for the spot among several different players.
Same goes for the receiver spot. Driver has offered to take a pay cut from his $5 million salary, $2 million of which is due on the first day of training camp, but nothing has happened on that front because, again, there’s not much urgency to make a call until the Packers know exactly what they have in hand. Driver’s not as important to the passing game as he once was, but if the team feels he’s still better than other options for the fourth receiver spot then they’ll likely find a way to make it work.