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Packers release Saturday

Packers Center Jeff Saturday.  Photo courtesy Wisconsin Radio Network
Packers Center Jeff Saturday. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Radio Network

The Green Bay Packers officially released veteran center Jeff Saturday on Monday.  The 14 year veteran had already announced his retirement the week of the Pro Bowl.  Saturday played the first 13 years of his career with the Indianapolis Colts.   The release will eliminate the 3.75 million dollars he was due to earn in 2013.   The Packers are now approximately 20 million dollars under the salary cap following the retirement of Donald Driver and last week's release of Charles Woodson.  That money will be needed to pay the draft picks selected in April, to send qualifying offers to the team's five restricted free agents, and most importantly, for selected veterans who will need lucrative contract extensions such as Aaron Rodgers, B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews.  The restricted free agents include Evan Dietrich-Smith, Saturday's heir apparant at center, Sam Shields, Tom Crabtree, Robert Francois and Frank Zombo.   Monday was also the first day NFL teams could exercise the franchise tag on unrestricted free agents.  The Packers did not apply the tag to wide receiver Greg Jennings, or any of the other free agents who will have contracts expire next month.  They include Ryan Grant, Cedric Benson, Brad Jones and Erik Walden.