There are still reasons to have optimism about the young wide receivers group for the Green Bay Packers, but it’s also impossible to ignore the sluggish start for the offense as a whole this year.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers played his most statistically impressive game yet in the most recent one against the Philadelphia Eagles, yet the lack of consistent playmakers is evident. Top target Davante Adams is one of the best receivers in the game, but while he deals with turf toe it could further expose a developing, even underwhelming depending on perspective, group behind him.
Rumors about wide receivers on the trade block have found their way to Green Bay lately given the aforementioned lack of a go-to secondary receiver. With several teams that have little to no playoff chances still rostering quality receivers, there’s good reason to consider the Packers could make a move to acquire one.
Here are a handful of potential trade targets for Green Bay should Brian Gutekunst look to shore up the weapons for Rodgers.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
A.J. Green is going to the Hall of Fame when his career is finished, and any time a player of that caliber is available there needs to be significant interest if your team has a need at that position. Frankly, every team should have interest a player like that regardless of need.
Injuries have been the story of the most recent chapter of Green’s career, which affect his value on the trade market. He hasn’t played yet this season due to an ankle injury he suffered during training camp and isn’t expected to play for several more weeks. That means he’ll just start seeing action right around the trade deadline. Plus, he’s on the final year of his contract, so the cost to get him probably wouldn’t be prohibitive.
Pairing Green with Adams instantly makes Green Bay’s receiver corps one of the best in the NFL beyond a shadow of a doubt. If the Packers can reconcile the money Green is owned with their salary cap, he’s the top target potentially on the market. Injuries are undoubtedly a concern, but the risk is worth it for someone who’s still one of the league’s best.
Green may not be the most likely trade target for the Packers, but it would be irresponsible to not at least make a call.
Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
The Broncos are a mess. In Vic Fangio’s first season at the helm Denver has started 0-4, has blown a lead with less than two minutes to play twice and is trusting late-career Joe Flacco to run its offense.
Sanders is still a productive player and would provide more value to a contending team than one bottoming out sooner than expected.
Like is the case with Green, Sanders has dealt with injury problems in recent seasons. Most notably, that includes season-ending injured reserve last year with an Achilles injury. He’s rebounded well in 2019, though, with 23 receptions for 298 yards and two touchdowns through four weeks.
He’s also on the last year of his contract, with just a prorated portion of his $10.25 million salary left to be paid. He’s older (32 this season) and has had the injury issues, but he’s a sure-handed option (he has just three drops in 132 targets since the start of last season) who can operate out of the slot (about a quarter of his snaps have come from there this year).
Plus, his 2.8 average yards of separation is better than all but one Packer: Davante Adams. Rodgers needs open receivers who he can trust and Sanders fits that bill.
Devante Parker, Miami Dolphins
Miami has shown that anyone on its roster is on the trade block. If it’s willing to move a disgruntled Minkah Fitzpatrick, one of the best young defensive backs in the game, anyone is available.
Rumors about Parker being moved have circulated since last season, persisting through the offseason until now. He’s never quite lived up to being a top-15 pick in 2014, but he also had Ryan Tannehill throwing to him for most of his career to this point.
Parker signed a new contract this offseason which superseded the final years of his rookie deal, but it’s not an expensive deal and a 2020 option year gives the team flexibility. For a player who is still young and on a cheap contract, that sort of control is enticing.
The Dolphins have the leverage in any negotiation for Parker, given that they don’t have to move him. That’s the one advantage of tanking, you can wait for the best offer before shipping out your good players. Parker isn’t the most talented player on the list, but he does offer some experience and won’t break the bank.
Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
Davis is an interesting case because, unlike the teams for the first three players listed, his franchise has a shot at the playoffs this year. All four teams in the AFC South are 2-2 and the Titans are coming off of a big road win over the Atlanta Falcons.
A great deal could change over the next four weeks, and Davis’ future, much like the Titans’ future in general, is probably linked to quarterback Marcus Mariota. If he plays like he did against Atlanta, Davis is probably off the board as Tennessee makes a playoff push. If Mariota plays like he did against Jacksonville two weeks ago, however, the likelihood of a Davis deal increases greatly.
His numbers this season hardly jump off the page. Through four games he has just 11 catches for 173 yards and one touchdown. Again, though, you have to consider the offense he’s in.
Tennessee can hold out for an offer they cannot refuse if they are so inclined to move Davis. He’s still cheap while on his rookie contract, plus whichever team he’s on will have the option this coming offseason to pick up the fifth-year club option built into all first-round pick deals.
It’s hard to know right now if the Titans will move Davis at all, and it’s even more difficult to know what sort of compensation it would take to pry him away.
Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings
This one has to come up because of the recent conflict he’s been dealing with in Minnesota, but calling it unlikely is an all-time understatement.
For one, Minnesota still has playoff aspirations and isn’t going to move arguably their best skill-position player to a division rival.
Vikings are not looking to trade Diggs for a handful of reasons, we still don't know from the receiver himself if he has asked out of Minnesota. He didn't deny that he has, but he also didn't say he did, either.
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) October 3, 2019
Secondly, the price tag is high. Diggs is on a team-friendly deal, but an average cap hit of nearly $15 million over the next three seasons, plus his remaining prorated hit this year will likely be too rich for the Packers’ blood.
It’s a fun hypothetical, but fantasy isn’t going to become reality in this particular case.
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