4 Packers Players Who Could Be Traded
The New England Patriots, despite your personal opinion of the franchise, excel at trading away high-performance players at the height of their value. Where some teams get sentimental and hang onto players a year too late, Bill Belichick has been quick to get ready of players a year too early.
Perhaps the Packers may have, under a similar operating style, traded away wide receiver Jordy Nelson prior to the 2017 season. Named the NFL’s 2016 Comeback Player of the Year, he exceeded our high expectations in 2016.
It would have felt remarkably worse as a fan to see Nelson traded last offseason, but in retrospect, the Packers may have been wise to do so. Green Bay had no idea that the 2017 season would go the way it did, and acquiring a mid-level draft pick for a receiver over 30-years-old would be a remarkable haul.
Nevertheless, Nelson played the 2017 campaign and had a disappointing season.
With that in mind, let’s examine four Packers players who the team could either trade for help at another position or package with draft picks to move up in the 2018 NFL Draft.
DT Mike Daniels
File this one under “highly unlikely.” Under contract through the 2019 season thanks to a four-year, $41 million deal, Daniels is scheduled to become a free agent at the age of 30. Today, it’s safe to assume general manager Brian Gutekunst will exercise defensive tackle Kenny Clark’s fifth-year option in 2020. Then, the 25-year-old Clark will need a new deal for the 2021 season.
Ted Thompson kept the team far away from signing their own players to a third contract, a trend we saw Gutekunst continue with safety Morgan Burnett. If Mike Pettine prefers defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson going forward and Montravius Adams stays healthy and plays well, Daniels would be coveted by a number of teams.
WR Randall Cobb
Tight end Jimmy Graham’s arrival signaled the end of Jordy Nelson’s time with Green Bay. Could another major move spell the end of Cobb’s time with the Packers? If the Giants would take a package that started with Cobb and the fourteenth overall pick for Odell Beckham Jr., it’d be hard to see the Packers saying no.
The slot receiver is set to have the Packers’ second-highest cap hit in 2018, and will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason. The final unknown about Cobb is how long he’ll play in the league. Players who were his height and weight had a hard time sticking in the league past 30-years-old, meaning Cobb may be closer to retirement than you’d think.
G Lane Taylor
Offensive guard Lane Taylor may be the best undrafted free agent pickup by former general manager Ted Thompson. Taylor has more than filled the shoes of departed guard Josh Sitton, and has stabilized the Packers’ offensive line through a transitional period. He’s also on a team-friendly contract that runs through the 2020 season.
He is an excellent guard, but guard may be the easiest of the three offensive line positions to find capable starters in the late rounds of the draft or free agency. If another team is desperate for a major upgrade on their offensive line and coveted Taylor, the Packers would be wise to at least listen.
LB Blake Martinez
Expectations surrounding Martinez in his rookie year were simply too high. If he wasn’t being touted as an upgraded A.J. Hawk, he was being heralded as a future Hall of Fame linebacker. In his second year, the hype surrounding Martinez was real. He led the NFL in tackles in 2017, and was one of the Packers’ most reliable defenders.
It’s likely that his value as a player will never be higher than this offseason. He’s entering his third NFL season, still under his rookie contract, and performing at a high-level. There’s no reason for the Packers to want to trade Martinez, but in order to acquire great talent, you need to let great talent go.