The NFL off-season is in full swing with the draft just a few weeks away. It is tough to get an accurate reading on what each team is actually planning at this time. Which actions are genuine and which are just pre-draft smokescreen? Some of the few stories to actually trust are those concerning players on the trade block. The off-season has already brought some blockbuster trades like sending Odell Beckham to the Cleveland Browns and Dee Ford to the San Francisco 49ers. Several previously productive assets like Jordan Howard, Robert Quinn, and DeSean Jackson have also switched teams in the past few weeks for rather affordable compensation. As the Green Bay Packers prepare their draft board, they must start considering these second-level trades for late round draft picks. The Packers have had very few veteran trade acquisitions over the past few years, but hopefully, that will change with Brian Gutekunst calling the shots.
Possible Green Bay Packers Veteran Trade Acquisitions
Who Could Be Available?
There have been several rumors circulating about who could possibly be on the trade block. Many of the names at the top of this list have been strong players the last few years. All three listed below could be targets for the Packers if the price is right.
Duke Johnson Jr.
Johnson has been near the peak of trade rumors, with the Browns reportedly listening to offers around the league. The addition of Kareem Hunt leaves few valuable snaps for Johnson, despite Hunt’s looming suspension. Several teams have already reached out to the Browns according to Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. Whether the Packers were one of these teams remains to be seen, but they should have an interest in the fifth-year running back if he’s indeed available.
New head coach Matt Lafleur comes from Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay’s offensive background which is known for utilizing multiple running backs with a variety of abilities. The team’s best pure runner, Aaron Jones, has yet to play a full NFL season. Fellow 2017 draftee Jamaal Williams is a strong pass-blocking back that has exceeded expectations despite limited athletic ability and explosiveness. The team lacks a true pass-catching third down back like Johnson. He has accumulated over 200 receptions and 2,000 receiving yards in his career, adding nearly 1,300 yards on the ground. He could complete the Packers’ depth chart at the running back position. Johnson could only cost a fifth or sixth round pick, similar compensation the Chicago Bears received in the Howard trade. Investing in an established veteran running back with a specific skill set like Johnson could be a huge step in trying to fix the offense on the fly in Lafleur’s first year.
Nelson Agholor and Mohamed Sanu
These two options are purely speculative. There were rumors circulating about both receivers prior to the start of the new league year. The fact that both are still with their current teams could be an indication that their roster spots are secure. There are still scenarios where both could become available for the Packers. Either would be a welcome presence to a young receiver room led by Pro Bowler Davante Adams and a myriad of second-year players.
The Philadelphia Eagles brought Jackson back to town and handed him a nice three-year, $27 million deal at age 32. He should pair well with Alshon Jeffery who’s making almost $15 million in 2019. Agholor is making just over $9 million on his fifth-year option and has never lived up to his billing as a first-round pick. That’s a lot of money for any one position group, not to mention that tight end Zach Ertz is the team’s top target and is making $12 million annually. The Eagles are reportedly working on a contract extension with Carson Wentz. Agholor is expendable. Retaining Wentz is the team’s top priority. The Eagles could look to move Agholor on draft day if there is a cheaper option they could target in the later rounds.
Sanu is a more interesting option and should only be available if the Atlanta Falcons draft a wide receiver early like they did last year. Calvin Ridley played fewer snaps than Sanu last year but was far more explosive. He secured 10 touchdowns and should look to improve playing time in year two. Sanu has two years remaining on his contract but only averages around $6 million per year. Lafleur also has ties to Sanu as he was the Falcons’ quarterbacks’ coach in 2016.
Long Shots for the Packers
Another potential trade acquisition from the Falcons, Beasley has underachieved since his breakout campaign in 2016. The Falcons picked up his fifth-year option at nearly $13 million and could be lucky to get anything of note in return. This is a deep class of edge rushers and the team could look to move Beasley for a cheaper option rather than cut him outright. The Packers simply don’t have enough cap space to sign Beasley, but he could be a nice option as a 3-4 pass-rusher.
There has been speculation that McCoy could be on the move based on what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do at pick number five. They could take a defensive tackle to pair with last year’s first-round pick Vita Vea. McCoy didn’t report to the team’s voluntary off-season workouts. Head coach Bruce Arians acknowledged that he would keep McCoy on the roster. If the longtime D-tackle isn’t in the Bucs future plans, they could look to move him for some return. The Packers have been mulling over more options along the defensive line. They don’t have the space to land McCoy, but maybe the defensive tackle could re-work his contract to join a contender and get a fresh start outside of Tampa Bay.