Since the Green Bay Packers’ 2012 season ended, the team has lost three of their oldest veterans in that of Donald Driver (37, retired), Jeff Saturday (37, retired) and Charles Woodson (36, released). That makes defensive lineman Ryan Pickett their oldest player at 33 and the only veteran on the current roster with 10 or more years of experience.
It’s impossible to say what the team’s average age will be come the end of this year’s training camp, but it is clear that the team is headed for a youth movement for the next year or two.
The Packers being one of the league’s youngest teams is nothing new to most of us who will recall that from 2006 – 2009, they were the NFL’s youngest. In 2011, the Packers were third youngest and in 2012 they were fifth youngest roster in the league. In 2013, the Packers will be strong contenders for the “youngest” label once again.
Here is a list of players , courtesy of ESPN, that were on the roster during the 2012 season. I don’t expect the team to bring running backs Cedric Benson nor Ryan Grant back in 2013. That leaves John Kuhn as the only player currently 30 years old or more. Several players are set to turn 30 this year; AJ Hawk, Aaron Rodgers, Tramon Williams and Greg Jennings.
Jennings is almost certainly not going to return. There has been some talk that the team could decide to part ways with Hawk. Aaron Rodgers is as good as set in stone for the Packers and, if Jennings departs, becomes the team’s fourth oldest player. Williams is expected back but will surely face competition this offseason to keep his starting cornerback slot.
The team could turn to free agency to fill some of the voids left by departed players and in need areas. It’s hard to say whether they would get after a younger player that they hope will be around for a while or if they might take a chance on another player of Saturday’s caliber to shore up a position that is still a year or two away from being set.