Last week, the Green Bay Packers were about $7 million under the salary cap, but with the release of Charles Woodson and now center Jeff Saturday, the Packers now find themselves about $20 million under.
While the loss of Saturday was inevitable, we all hoped for a better ending. What better way than to send someone of his caliber and character out with a championship? That would have been a nice tale. Instead, it turned into a fairy tale. Saturday, who with two games remaining in the regular season, was benched because he didn’t have what it took anymore. The rigors of a 16-game NFL season on a man’s body is tough enough, but when you add into it 211 starts over a 14-year career and the damage rises to a whole new level.
Fans and coaches alike were excited last March when the Packers struck a deal to bring Saturday to Green Bay – and for good reason – he had so much success with Peyton Manning for 13 years that, on paper, why couldn’t he do the same with another MVP, Aaron Rodgers?
Unfortunately, the magic wasn’t there and Saturday eventually gave way to Evan Dietrich-Smith who took over the center duties during the Packers’ final four games, including two playoff contests. Dietrich-Smith was adequate, but didn’t stand out either.
That’s why the Packers will be looking for offensive linemen, specifically those who can man the middle of the line, come the Draft in April. Many have tabbed Barrett Jones out of Alabama as the next big thing in Green Bay. We’ll see.
In the meantime, here’s the official press notice issued by the Green Bay Packers PR department. It’s pretty straight forward and to the point:
PACKERS RELEASE C SATURDAY
The Green Bay Packers have released C Jeff Saturday. The transaction was announced Monday by Ted Thompson, Executive Vice President, General Manager and Director of Football Operations.
Saturday, who signed with the Packers as an unrestricted free agent in March 2012 after playing 13 seasons (1999-2011) with the Indianapolis Colts, started 14 games for Green Bay this past season and was named to his sixth career Pro Bowl. He also earned Pro Bowl recognition with the Colts in 2005-07 and 2009-10 and was twice named first-team All-Pro by The Associated Press (2005, 2007).
Saturday has played in 211 games with 202 starts during his career. He has started all 16 regular-season contests in 10 of his 14 seasons.