Comparing The Release Of Hines Ward To Donald Driver's Future

ARLINGTON TX - FEBRUARY 06: Donald Driver #80 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after catching a 24 yard pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6 2011 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Report: Pay cut never offered to Hines Ward - NFL Nation Blog - ESPN. Just a reminder about what a harsh business the NFL can be. Hines Ward has meant so much to the Steelers franchise for the past 15 seasons, and one day he's just gone. Well, not yet, but it'll be official soon. The Steelers apparently didn't want him back at any price.

Kevin Seifert also notes that Ward had his best game of the season in Week 1, and he did little during their final 10 games.

Might the Green Bay Packers feel the same way about Donald Driver? Zach Kruse thinks it's possible, and I agree that it could happen. I do think the Packers would at least discuss a pay cut, not because of all the team records he holds, but because he's still good. According to Football Outsiders, Driver was ranked No. 41 among wide receivers, while Ward was 71st (out of 92 eligible players).

Driver might have a little bit more left in the tank than Ward. He certainly was more productive than him late in the season; catching 5 of his 6 touchdown passes over the last 6 games.

An Addendum: Here's something I thought about after reading one of the comments to this post. Will the Packers bring Driver back at any price if he's only a backup?

He played a secondary role in 2011, but he was still listed as the starter in 15 games last season. Other than DT Howard Green, who was an emergency signing in 2010 and is not expected to return next season, the Packers have no backup players under age 30. The same goes for LT Chad Clifton. All the other players over 30 are starters. That might not be the best idea, maybe it's good to have a veteran or two on the bench to mentor the younger players, but that's not how Ted Thompson works.

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