5 Wide Receivers the Green Bay Packers Could Trade For at the Deadline
Davante Adams may have had one of the best games of his career Sunday, but the Green Bay Packers should think about adding another wide receiver to the offense before the trade deadline.
The Packers came away with an easy 35-20 victory against the Houston Texans thanks to an unstoppable performance from Adams. The 27-year-old had 13 receptions for 196 yards and two touchdowns, and he caught all seven of the team's third-down conversions. However, Malik Taylor was the only other receiver to log a reception, catching two passes for six yards and a score.
Outside of Adams, the Packers lack legitimate playmaking at wide receiver. Allen Lazard has emerged as a promising young weapon over the past two seasons but has been out since the beginning of October with a core muscle injury.
Even when Lazard returns, the Packers could use another dynamic wide receiver. Marquez Valdes-Scantling has yet to find consistency in his NFL career, while Equanimeous St. Brown has struggled to stay healthy enough the past two years to establish a connection with Aaron Rodgers.
Cheesehead TV's Aaron Nagler recently reported that the Packers have begun making calls on wide receivers as the trade deadline nears. Let's take a look at realistic options with manageable contracts who the Packers could afford to bring in.
Jamison Crowder, New York Jets
With an 0-7 record, the New York Jets are already looking toward the offseason as they try to rebuild their roster. As the trade deadline nears, they could be open to offloading players for draft picks, including their top wide receiver, Jamison Crowder.
The Jets may not be eager to part ways with Crowder, who has caught 29 passes for 383 yards and two touchdowns in four games. However, they likely hope rookie Denzel Mims will develop into the team's top target after he made his NFL debut Sunday, catching four passes for 42 yards.
General manager Joe Douglas has a track record of parting ways with some of his best players, trading Jamal Adams and releasing Le'Veon Bell over the past few months. Crowder, who will count for $11.5 million against the cap in 2021, could be the next player shipped off to clear cap space for another aggressive offseason of free-agent acquisitions.
At the same time, the Packers could afford to take on Crowder's contract with the 27-year-old set to be a free agent after the 2021 season. He is capable of getting open and making plays after the catch, as his 6.4 yards after catch per reception this season indicate.
As another weapon who can play both in the slot and on the outside, Crowder could allow head coach Matt LaFleur to be even more creative with his play designs.
Golden Tate, New York Giants
The New York Giants are technically still in the race for a division title in the NFC East. Still, with a 1-6 record and no Saquon Barkley, the Giants might just be better off reloading for 2021.
There are a few players the Giants could consider trading, and wide receiver Golden Tate would make sense for the Packers. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported that Tate's name has come up among a number of teams as a potential player on the trade block.
At 32 years old, Tate has seen a dip in production over the past few seasons. Although he's played in six games this year, he's only been able to pick up 20 receptions for 195 yards and a touchdown. For someone with over 8,000 yards and 45 touchdowns during his NFL career, Tate likely would hope to make more of an impact.
A change of scenery could be what he needs, and the Giants should be willing to part ways with the veteran wide receiver thanks to the emergence of Darius Slayton. Offloading the remainder of Tate's $37.5 million contract would also be enticing for Giants general manager Dave Gettleman.
Adding an established veteran who could be cut for no more than $4.7 million in dead cap space in 2021 and beyond could be an appealing move for a team that is trying to win a Super Bowl in 2020.
John Ross III, Cincinnati Bengals
With the emergence of rookie Tee Higgins, the Cincinnati Bengals have more wide receivers on their depth chart than they can play. As they look to acquire more assets to build around No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, offloading players like John Ross III could be in their best interests.
The former Washington Huskies standout is known best for his record-breaking 40-yard dash time of 4.22 seconds in the NFL combine, but Ross has struggled to stay healthy in his four NFL seasons. The combination of injuries and a crowded depth chart at receiver has led to his playing just one offensive snap since Week 2.
Ross is set to be an unrestricted free agent after this season, so the Bengals could attempt to trade him for some kind of reimbursement. For the Packers, a speedster on a cheap rookie deal could be a nice option for Rodgers and LaFleur to work with.
A.J. Green has also been the subject of recent trade rumors. Some Packers fans may want the established veteran over someone like Ross, but his $18.2 million cap hit and the assets likely needed to acquire him would make it much harder to trade for the former Pro Bowler.
The Packers could use Ross in a similar role to Tyler Ervin, who they routinely use in pre-snap motion while also designing plays for him to get the ball in space. With that kind of role, Ross could fit well in the Packers offense.
Dante Pettis, San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are starting to turn things around after so many injuries to start the season. Regardless of how the rest of the year goes, it would make sense to trade away third-year receiver Dante Pettis given how little playing time he's been getting.
Pettis has only been active for four games and has yet to register a reception. After a strong rookie season where he caught 27 passes for 467 yards and five touchdowns, the 25-year-old was phased out of the 49ers offense in 2019 and has been a non-factor this year.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has stated publicly that general manager John Lynch has received and made calls about potentially trading Pettis. With Deebo Samuel healthy and rookie Brandon Aiyuk starting to make plays, trading him seems to make sense for both the team and player.
If the Packers can get Pettis for next to nothing, it would be worth it. While he hasn't registered a reception in almost a full calendar year, he played well in his first season and was an explosive college player. Not only was he a consensus All-American in 2017, but he also broke the NCAA record with nine career punt-return touchdowns.
Adding a potential playmaker, as well as a dynamic punt returner, would be a low-risk, high-reward move that could give the Packers a lift on both offense and special teams.
Randall Cobb, Houston Texans
As the Houston Texans head toward an offseason of rebuilding around quarterback Deshaun Watson, a reunion between the Packers and veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb has become more realistic.
Cobb spent his first eight seasons with the Packers, amassing over 5,000 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns while making the Pro Bowl in 2014. The two sides parted ways after 2018 when Cobb went to the Dallas Cowboys on a one-year deal.
The Texans gave Cobb a three-year contract worth $27 million this offseason, and he's played well. He has caught 30 passes for 372 yards and three touchdowns and had one of his best games Sunday against his old team with eight catches for 95 yards.
With head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien gone, the team is working to fill both positions while rebuilding the roster. That has naturally led to a lot of trade rumors, and Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer mentioned Cobb as a player who could be on the trade block.
A reunion with Rodgers and the Packers would be an exciting move for fans given his previous time in Green Bay. Although Cobb would count for over $10 million against the cap in both 2021 and 2022, the Packers would be able to release him in 2022 with only $2 million lost in dead cap space.
As an established slot receiver with an established connection with Rodgers, Cobb might need less time to get comfortable than another veteran receiver. If the purpose of trading for a receiver is to give Rodgers another reliable weapon to prepare for a Super Bowl run, then Cobb would be one of the best options on a reasonable contract.