Not so fast.
It appears veteran tackle Chad Clifton‘s career with the Green Bay Packers may not be over just yet. Despite a report the Packers would cut Clifton and his $5.25 million base salary in a salary cap move, it doesn’t look like that decision has been made. The primary reason is the injury-riddled Clifton had back surgery and says he feeling much better.
“I want to see how he comes out of that,” coach Mike McCarthy said at the NFL combine. “That will be a benefit. I saw him right after surgery. He said it was weird . . . that he had instant relief.”
Clifton missed 10 games in 2011. He suffered a hamstring injury in week five, but the team discovered he had a back injury after the hamstring injury healed.
Still, just being pain-free might not be enough to get Clifton a roster spot. His last appearance for the Packers wasn’t a good one. Clifton got abused by Osi Umenyiora in the Packers’ playoff loss to the Giants. He was benched in the third quarter in favor of Marshall Newhouse.
With Newhouse and Derek Sherrod on the roster, the Packers don’t particularly need Clifton anymore. One thing remains in his favor, though. Clifton’s roster bonus is only $250,000, so the team could actually take a look at him during training camp before making a final decision, if they so choose.
Our guess is they move on prior to then. There’s too much young offensive line talent already on the roster to justify keeping Clifton, who’s best years are behind him, around.