Devin Funchess Signing Indicative of Packers' Draft Plans for WR Position

Devin Funchess won't solve the Packers' receiving corps issues, but he can at least be a decent insurance policy.

The loudly negative social media reaction to an admittedly underwhelming Devin Funchess signing has been a little surprising to me.

From fans to beat writers, the signing has been getting drummed on Twitter over the last day-plus since it was announced. And it's hard for me to understand why.

There are certainly some red flags about his performance, including his slowness and inconsistency. But it seems like a lot of the criticisms of the move are coming from a place of expecting Funchess to be an immediate solution to the Packers' wide receiver problems.

Here's the thing--there wasn't a single guy available in free agency who was going to be someone who could be the immediate solution to the Packers' wide receiver needs. And, unfortunatley, not every team has a moronic Bill O'Brien-like GM who's willing to part with top-level receiving talent for a pittance. 

Given the Packers' cap situation, the available wide receiver free agent class and the fact that the Packers still need to hold on some money for extending players like David Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark and/or Aaron Jones, it's always seemed pretty obvious that Brian Gutekunst's approach was going to be a shotgun-like method; bring in a combination of veteran role players and rookies from a historically deep wide receiver class, and see what sticks.

The Packers used a similar sort of shotgun approach with the receiver position in the draft in 2018, picking up J'Mon Moore, Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but those were mid- to late-round selections. Odds are the Packers are going to be picking at least one receiver in the first two rounds, and fans shouldn't be surprised to see them double- or even triple-dip at the position once again.

If the Packers don't come away with a receiver in a high round... well, then maybe the pitchforks will be merited. But right now, the Funchess signing seems to be a precursor to what Gutekunst is planning to do in the draft, not a move made with the expectation that it will resolve anything in itself at the wide receiver position.

There are plenty of good scouting reports on Funchess out there right now, and there are some legitimate reasons to criticize his play. But Gutekunst didn't bring him in to be "the guy." He brought him in to be a reliable veteran presence in an offseason where the rookies will get little to no practice at all due to coronavirus quarantines. Even if he gets some big-time wide receiver talent in the draft, those guys might take longer to adjust to the NFL game than rookies normally do because there will probably be less opportunity to get teams together to practice this offseason.

So, if yo'ure underwhelmed by the move, think of it as more of a precursor to the draft and an insurance policy for the offseason than something that's designed to be "The Solution" to the passing game's woes.

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Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (99)

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stockholder's picture

March 26, 2020 at 06:45 am

It's a move that hurts the piggy Bank. The only thing he helps is; we have a Blocking WR. Whoopee! He won't open up the Offense. He won't be here next year.

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PeteK's picture

March 26, 2020 at 06:58 am

Contract terms haven't been released yet, but it's probably a few mill that I would rather have spent on Harrison. Furthermore , his willingness and ability to block has been criticized as far back as his Michigan days.

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Coldworld's picture

March 26, 2020 at 09:12 am

There has been a lot of commentary on Funchess that research simply doesn’t back up.

I’ve read for example that he runs poor routes, then I read scouts commentary like this ( after 2018 season):

“Who would have thought that the biggest positive in a 6’4” 225 pound receiver’s game is his route running? I was honestly shocked. Funchess breaks down his hips excellently and sets up routes with a great jab at the stems. His double move is deadly as he beat numerous good corners with head fakes and quick feet. When running ins and outs, he flattens well without rounding off his route and also fights back towards the quarterback. ... The double move may be the most impressive route in his arsenal, especially the slant fade. ... [He is excellent at gaining separation] due to how well he jabs and superb change of direction ability.”

Obviously, those are all positives, but they contradict a lot of the statements that I have seen.

His biggest problem is drops. Leaving out Newton from the equation, it seems very redolent of James Jones: spectacular catches and then poor technique on the easy ones. Interestingly, almost every drop is in a peripheral route, he is very good in the middle. He seems to have a tendency to body catch on some deeper routes, where his problems start, yet to hands catch with good technique on others. Jones overcame his issues, while I’m normally skeptical, Funchess seems to have the skill set to do the same and to be very reliable inside and in mid range.

So I looked at the issue of blocking. It’s pretty clear that he wasn’t a blocker in college. He was a true move TE. The general criticism of him was in the context of an NFL TE in the traditional sense. The following is pretty representative. “ Then there's the reason Funchess moved to wide receiver in the first place: his blocking, or lack thereof. He simply couldn't hold up as an in-line tight end, and his blocking didn't improve much when he moved outside.” Mgobloh.com. The conclusion appears to be primarily technique but that clearly wasn’t a focus.

The thing is, name me a receiver that would measure up as an in-line TE from a blocking perspective. In the context of an NFL receiver, he has actually been pretty good. He had a couple of games in 2018 where he whiffed on some blocks and took criticism for it, but that seems to have been part of a wider issue.

I come at this as someone who starts with an open mind on a player and enjoys digging. The more I dig into this Person, the more I see that there is untapped potential and that he fits an obvious need. So I’m more happy with this signing than many ( and me when I started). We just got better in the middle of the field and short to mid range Graham/Allison routes (since neither was quick twitch).

The other thing that puzzles me is how much inaccurate or at least highly debatable statements have been made about him in Packer blogs since the signing. I’d get that with a high profile character as these typically generate strong emotions, but he doesn’t seem to be a prima Donna at all.

The more I read, the more I like this signing (and the less I see him as Lazard 2). I think this signing allows us to focus on speed and deep threat receivers and allows Sternberger to focus on being a TE.

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dobber's picture

March 26, 2020 at 09:46 am

"The thing is, name me a receiver that would measure up as an in-line TE from a blocking perspective."

Absolutely right: Funchess is a physical mismatch for DBs, and that's where he'll be doing his blocking. Too many people see HWS and immediately say "make him a TE". We don't learn from guys like Jimmy Graham that being big doesn't always make you a TE or a blocker. Jimmy Graham was more WR than TE.

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stockholder's picture

March 26, 2020 at 11:47 am

1 year! The money isn't there to sign him again. Were not talking M. Lewis here. Players like Lazard will regress. This will hurt St.Brown and MVS. They'll want out.

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dobber's picture

March 26, 2020 at 12:19 pm

Well, then MVS and ESB are going to have to play well and earn their snaps, aren't they? They've got 2 more seasons under contract with the Packers, so if they want their out, the best way is to be impactful so someone else will want them. That still benefits the Packers.

I don't understand your repeated desire to shelter players over improving roster talent and putting the best players on the field.

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stockholder's picture

March 26, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Understand?, Yes you do. If thats the case Graham, Martinez, and Bulaga should have never left. Your Judging a book by his cover.

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Coldworld's picture

March 26, 2020 at 01:38 pm

I have no idea what reasoning you are using to get to this point.

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stockholder's picture

March 26, 2020 at 03:08 pm

Based on your comment and Kool-aids, we shouldn't draft a WR. Why? Because A-Rod will never get the use out of them now. A RB like Swift would be the better pick. Running the ball is priority one. We lost 3 players that knew the system. Eliminating the upside and future/// for a better roster? And were only going to pay a fan favorite. yep, Going year to year and taking whats affordable, or just cutting a player like Jones.( Forget the hole. ) The roster is the goal and not the All-pro. If clark asks to much, trade him , and bring in two players for the same salary. Your goal is the roster only. The union would be proud of you both. You've defeated the formula for the draft and BPA. And the Packers can pick first every year.

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dobber's picture

March 26, 2020 at 03:26 pm

Withdrawn.

Not worth it.

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Coldworld's picture

March 26, 2020 at 03:35 pm

Agreed

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dobber's picture

March 26, 2020 at 03:27 pm

Umm...huh?

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 26, 2020 at 02:17 pm

They bring in two WRs from this draft would be the expectation, Funchess is added to the veteran group, Equan showed the most promise from the group of 2018. If they keep six WRs both of these guys could be cut along with Kumerow depending on the rookie haul. The message is pretty clear from Gutedkunst; GMO is finished, you guys are on notice and competing for that spot.

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dobber's picture

March 26, 2020 at 04:29 pm

Yup. The WR room just wasn't good enough in 2019. Past Adams, it should be an open competition for spots in 2020. I like Lazard and have some hope for ESB and MVS, but they need to win spots in 2020.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 26, 2020 at 08:40 pm

Just wasn’t good enough fo what? Surely you’re not saying better WRs would have taken us past SF?

Dobber, you are one of the more astute people here, but I don’t think you understand that we are transitioning to a team that doesn’t throw to the WRs as much, and the #2 WR is the new fullback, so to speak. Their first job is blocking and they’ll only handle the ball a couple of times a game.

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dobber's picture

March 26, 2020 at 09:29 pm

Surely not SF, but that's not to say that a better WR room wouldn't have changed the dynamic of who the Packers played and when to a more favorable situation.

Jerry Rice had John Taylor. Michael Irvin had Alvin Harper and Jay Novacek--and one of the best rushing offenses in the modern NFL. I would argue having a one-trick pony passing game limits the Packer offense. Diversification of threats--and skill sets--makes any offense better, and better able to attack an opposing defense.

Yes, the Packers are becoming more of a running team. You and I have discussed it in threads before. I would argue it's necessary as QB1 declines. Right now, though, it's #17 and essentially nobody else as WRs. Somehow, they went 4-0 without him in 2019 by leaning heavily on Aaron Jones, and they got away with it. You don't have to be 6'5" and 225 lbs to be an effective perimeter blocker (I imagine it helps, though)...so sacrificing for size is a choice being made. Adams's contract runs through 2021 when he'll be 29 and have a cap hit of $16.6M. Maybe they extend him...maybe not, but more strength in the WR room also gives the Packers the opportunity to push those cap resources in other directions in a year or two and hand off the baton to the next playmaker (on a rookie deal).

What we haven't talked about here is how the Packers badly need a 1b RB to Aaron Jones's 1a. I don't think that player is Jamaal Williams. In general, the depth at the skill positions is terribly shallow at the moment.

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Stroh's picture

March 26, 2020 at 10:17 pm

As long as Rodgers is the QB and as long as the NFL is a passing league, WR are going to be needed. Nothing was going to get the Packers past SF last year, but they desperately need a #2 and #3 WR to add weapons to the passing game. Adams is a great WR, Sternberger should be a quality TE, after that they have next to nothing.

Lazard is a nice player but on just about any other team he would be a #4 WR. By no means should Lazard be a starter. EQ might be a good WR and could compete w/ Lazard for WR4. After that they have a bunch of nobodies.

Allison? Forget him he's gone, thank God!

MVS? Speed, but nothing else, no matter how much he works w/ Randy Moss he's not a quality or even a good WR.

Kumerow is an old WR already and is what he is. A bottom of the roster or fringe NFL player.

Now throw Funchess in the mix and you get more of the same.

They need complimentary WR not a basketball team of tall WR who neither make plays or pose a threat. Find another WR similar in size to Adams w/ a little more speed. Can you say Justin Jefferson? Then find a smaller burner who can create big plays w/ the ball in his hands. Reagor and Ayok come immediately to mind and you suddenly have a group of WR who might keep DC's up late at night!

Aaron Jones could very easily not even be a Packer past this year. There are 4 FA on the roster next year that rank above him in importance. Jamaal Williams certainly won't, but do you know who will be for another 3 or 4 years? Aaron Rodgers!

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 26, 2020 at 10:42 pm

That's it in a nutshell. Who in the hell would make Rodgers a game manager when he still can put it on the money downfield?
Granted he has to regain the mastery of the short-game, but I believe LaFluer will get the play calling into a more
refined system, year two. Jefferson is a guy they would have to go up for. There are a few speed guys but also guys like Proche later on who know the route tree. Getting open fast and RAC are the traits Gutedkunst should look for in this draft.

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NickPerry's picture

March 27, 2020 at 04:03 am

"We are transitioning to a team that doesn’t throw to the WRs as much, and the #2 WR is the new fullback, so to speak. Their first job is blocking and they’ll only handle the ball a couple of times a game."

I don't understand why you're so hellbent on calling the Packers turning into a running team, or run first team. Perhaps if they would have looked at an available RB in FA perhaps then maybe you'd have my ear. But the Packers have done nothing to make me feel this "Transition" is in effect. Now if the draft J. Taylor, Swift, Dobbins, or the kid from LSU then maybe. But that could just as easily be insurance for Jones and Williams leaving after 2020.

Granted they ran the ball more last season but they were still basically average in the number of rushing attempts per game, maybe even a tad under the average IIRC.

They let their FB go in FA. Maybe they use more TE's like they did at the end of the season, but a FB would be pretty important to a run first team wouldn't it?

BUT...That main reason Rodgers may not have thrown to the WR's as much (???) is he didn't have many options at the position he trusted AND delivered. Had they not signed Funchess I would have suggested Gute drafts 2 in the first 4 maybe 5 rounds.

Rodgers is STILL a damn good/great QB. I can make probably a better or just as sound argument that the lack of receiving talent is the biggest reason for Rodgers average season in 2019. Remember the PERFECT pass to MVS when he had the worst case of alligator arms ever? After that play MVS was IN the doghouse...That was much of Rodgers had outside of Adams and Lazard at WR.

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Coldworld's picture

March 27, 2020 at 07:57 am

I don’t read too much into the loss of Vitale. We didn’t really use him. Lewis and later Sternberger to some extent handled the lead blocking for the most part.

I don’t think that we are going to be a run first team, but I do think that we are going to be a run capable team, designed to be able to go run heavy where appropriate. The reason is that that is a basic requirement for the LaFleur misdirection offense to achieve its full effect.

Last year, Jones was healthy. Quite frankly, he made yards where there weren’t any. One can’t count on that from a RB, and we may not have Jones due to injury or longer term departure.

Rodgers isn’t at his peak, but he is still darn good. Let’s face it, with ESB’s injury, MVS’s regression and Allison looking a shadow of himself, we probably had the least dynamic Corp of receivers and Graham was unable to shoulder some of that load and Tonyan and Sternberger were mostly not on the field.

We need a better, more varied group of pass catchers. What I see is that we are building one that can contribute in the run game as well. I like that. The test will be the draft and beyond. We now have a clear 1 and 2 receivers that can block. We need to find speed and shiftiness to add to the mix. In Sternberger and Funchess we can do things in the middle and with a true slot, use them to open spaces behind. We need some deep speed (MVS perhaps) to stretch the field. We need to use different combinations and weight it for opponents and to make in game adjustments.

That, mixed with a credible running game opens the ability to unsettle defenses, get Jones spaces to catch and also open space if he can get past the down line.

Do these things and you can make your run D better. Firstly, keep their O off the field and limit the ability for them to focus on the run by putting up points. Last year we could not score enough to do so. In my mind a lot of that was the limited pass offense.

Finally, I also like this approach because Rodgers will not last for ever and I’m not confident lightning will strike thrice. This style of offense would help any successor. Build the culture now, get away from the past.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 27, 2020 at 01:14 pm

They’ve done nothing to make you believe we’re transitioning to a run team.

Seriously? We went from 333 rushes to 411. We signed a blocking TE in FA. We signed a tackle who is more of a run blocker.

10 of the playoff teams finished in the top 13 in rushing attempts. Are you sure it’s still a passing league if you don’t have Mahomes?

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NickPerry's picture

March 28, 2020 at 05:11 am

We went from 333 rushes to 411. We signed a blocking TE in FA. We signed a tackle who is more of a run blocker.

Those 333 rushes were on a non playoff 6-9-1 team who was being coached by Mike McCarthy. Obviously when you finish 6-9-1 vs 13-3 your going to be throwing the ball a hell f a lot more at the end of a game. Your taking about a difference of 78 rushing attempts or a tad less than 5 attempts over a 16 game season. Considering they won 7 more games it's really not much at all.

Mike McCarthy was the HC when they originally signed Marcedes Lewis so I'm not sure what your point is there. Every team in the NFL has a blocking TE, ESPECIALLY when Jimmy Graham was your starting TE. Resigning him for 2020 was just a smart, sound move by Gute.

Actually we signed a RT who was once the highest paid RT in the NFL when he signed with the Lions. At that time he was considered both a good run blocker and pass blocker. IMO Gute signed Wagner instead of Veldeer because the value was better. It's meant as a stop gap, AND he's 3 years younger once the season starts...At least until October (LOL). If Wagner can stay healthy the Packers will be just fine at RT. Time will tell on that signing and it will come down to health.

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NickPerry's picture

March 26, 2020 at 06:52 am

Gute came out and told us all that this year wasn't going to be like last season. The Packers didn't just have the money to spend like they did last year so don't expect it. The Packers aren't a team like say the Vikings where they over spend signing FA's or their own players and by the following season they NEED to redo the contracts they just signed a player to the year before so they can sign their draft class! Or cut so many players they end up with $22 million in dead cap space and that's as of today. OR sign a QB who is 5-27 against winning teams to an extension that will pay him $45 million in TWO years. Are you kidding me!?!

The Funchess signing isn't that much different from the other 2 signings. The first 2 singings were low risk and high reward signings. Funchess actually does improve the Packers. He's better than Allison, MVS, or Kumerow so the Packers have upgraded their 3rd or 4th WR spot as of today. I say lets wait until the draft and see what happens. Lets see who he might be able to add once the cuts start and see where this team is in September...NOT March...J

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NickPerry's picture

March 26, 2020 at 07:02 am

Question...How much did we pay Funchess? I can't find an amount paid to him yet. Hopefully the veterans minimum.

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Coldworld's picture

March 26, 2020 at 07:23 am

We don’t know. Probably have to be a leak since no medicals so no formal signing?

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Cartwright's picture

March 26, 2020 at 07:40 am

He was paid in bunches of Funchess, which hopefully doesn't amount to much. On the claim he is clearly better than Allison I have to disagree with that wholeheartedly. G'mo had a down year last year probably due to his serious hip/pelvic injury the year before which I believe he didn't fully shake off. Despite that, he was a very willing blocker which helped spring Aaron Jones on a few runs. Funchess, I heard is not so self sacrificing in this regard. Would hate to see us lose Allison who still can make great catches in the clutch with guys all over him, remember that classic comeback against Chicago 2 years ago, that diving TD grab is what started that amazing comeback and he still has Rodgers trust. This Funchess guy, whats to like, I still don't know. The trade off for him over Allison I think will be a mistake. Hopefully, there's some money in the kitty for G'mo as well.

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SterlingSharpe's picture

March 26, 2020 at 08:01 am

Agreed.

GMo may have had some issues last year, but he's performed better than Funchess has.

Funchess is Ruvell Martin.

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Coldworld's picture

March 26, 2020 at 09:14 am

I simply can’t find anything that would support that statement

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dobber's picture

March 26, 2020 at 09:52 am

GMo has had every opportunity to develop with a top-end QB and hasn't been able to do it. Funchess has three seasons better than GMo's best...playing with Cam. Has always struggled with drops...as has GMo. Funchess > GMo.

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dobber's picture

March 26, 2020 at 12:22 pm

How many clutch fumbles has GMo had? I can think of two or three right off the top of my head. So for one play in Chicago, you've given away the collarbone comeback game at Carolina and others.

We can parse out individual plays if you like, and we'll not know if Funchess delivers any kind of connection with #12, but I for one won't miss seeing #81 taking WR screens absolutely nowhere.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

March 26, 2020 at 01:09 pm

C,
GMO is a great guy and Packer but other than blocking and ST's there isnt much receiving talent. Big talent upgrade needed. Last year huge year for GMO and he let opportunity slip away. He wont be back!

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marpag1's picture

March 27, 2020 at 03:16 pm

Actually, GMO is a classless A-hole and not "a great guy," but let's not get into that.

Zach Kruse totally nailed it over at Packerswire.com:

"Allison has a strong case for being one of the two or three least efficient wide receivers in the NFL in 2019. Among receivers with at least 50 targets last season, Allison, Nelson Agholor and Jarius Wright were the only players to average fewer than 5.5 yards per target. He also joined Albert Wilson and Mohamed Sanu as the only receivers with 50 or more targets to average fewer than 9.0 yards per reception. He somehow got worse in the postseason, averaging 4.8 yards per target and 6.3 yards per catch over two playoff games. By DVOA, Allison ranked 80th out of 81 qualifying receivers. Of the 122 receivers to qualify for PFF’s positional rankings, Allison ranked 111th in overall grade, despite one of the best run-blocking grades. He dropped seven passes, fumbled twice and forced only a single missed tackle while averaging a measly 3.2 yards after the catch. Allison isn’t fast, explosive, elusive or even all that reliable. The fact he had to play almost 700 snaps was a big reason why the Packers couldn’t get going in the passing game. He was a non-factor playing the slot, which made throwing the ball to the middle of the field a big chore. The quick game to him was a waste of time because he doesn’t threaten vertically, create instant separation or make people miss after the catch. GM Brian Gutekunst paid him $2.9 million in 2019 but it’d be hard to argue he’s worth a penny more than the league minimum in 2020. The Packers must upgrade.:

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dobber's picture

March 28, 2020 at 10:21 am

"The fact he had to play almost 700 snaps was a big reason why the Packers couldn’t get going in the passing game. "

I might make this the quote on my screensaver.

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stockholder's picture

March 28, 2020 at 03:31 pm

The signing is official. The deal includes a $1 million signing bonus
$1.2 million base salary
$50,000 workout bonus and $15
625 for each game active. Finally
another $3.7 million is available in incentives
meaning Funchess can make up to $6.25 million.

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PeteK's picture

March 26, 2020 at 07:06 am

I do have a bit of a positive vision,Rogers to Funchess, of a nightmare ,Manning to Burress.

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OnWisconsinGoPack's picture

March 26, 2020 at 07:08 am

Yes, it's a ho hum signing on the surface, but until we see the $ behind, it's hard to really analyze it. Given the prior two contracts signed in FA so far, I have a feeling they are protected against injury with a lot of per game bonuses.

The fact is, when Funchess is healthy, he's a decent #2 and a very good #3. If our top 4 is Adams, Lazard, Funchess and Aiyuk/Reagor/Higgins/Mims, I'd be pretty pumped....with MVS/EQ/Kumerow/Begelton bringing high ceiling depth.

Gute made splashes last year and shrewd high reward signings this year, you need to be able to hit on both types to be a good GM. If he nails Wagner, Kirksey, and Funchess plus a couple from the draft, we are a much better team than last year.

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Renllaw's picture

March 26, 2020 at 07:50 am

I had forgotten about Begelton. Man, you would think ONE of these high ceiling young guys will take the next step this year. Add a RD1 or RD2 WR and we will be good. This is the 1st year where there are about 6 WRs and 4 or 5 guys at different positions they could take in round one and I would be happy with it.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

March 26, 2020 at 08:47 am

"until we see the $ behind, it's hard to really analyze it."

My take is that it's salary cap cheap. While the reported dollars may look high, it will be full of performance escalators that are in the "Unlikely to be Achieved" category due to him missing most of last season. Those don't count against cap.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

March 26, 2020 at 11:54 am

Would agree but I think you should add Laviska Shenault to that list. I suspect he is getting a long look by Gute and LF. He does everything as a WR LF's offense desires. With his injury he has slipped down the boards from what I can tell, or at least the draftnics boards.

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Leo Van Groll's picture

March 27, 2020 at 09:29 am

Yup.....Shenault is a bigger, stronger, faster Randall Cobb. I see him mocked to the Pack on many mock drafts.

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Stroh's picture

March 28, 2020 at 09:59 am

Shenault is not faster! I liked him until he ran a terrible time at the combine. A 4.58 40 is NOT what the Packers need. I Love his ability after the catch and physicality, but they already have a bunch of big slow WR, no point in adding another. Cobb IIRC ran a 4.48 40.

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MrFitz66's picture

March 26, 2020 at 11:58 am

Just don't see how we are "much better" team when we lost a stud right tackle, without a young player ready to step in and be the next long term solution. Say what you want about B.B. He won way more battles then he lost against the other teams best. I hope Wags is great and doesn't get Rodgers hurt. Kirksey is exciting. I like both moves. But to say we are better......I just don't agree. WR needs some fresh blood. Looking for a bunch of new bodies and see who takes advantage of the opportunities. Funchess is worth a roll of the dice.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 26, 2020 at 10:49 pm

A game of replacement. Bhaktiari is the player they have to extend. Bulaga fought for his job ten years and held court, The Spriggs fiasco didn' t faze him, but they will bring in an OT with a high pick to fill that spot.

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Stroh's picture

March 28, 2020 at 10:02 am

I'm sorry but Lazard and Funchess have no business being a #2 or #3 WR! Lazard at best should be a #4 WR and he's slightly better than Funchess who can't catch a cold! IF that is the top 3 of Adam, Lazard and Funchess its going to be another VERY disappointing season in the passing game again. The Packers desperately need to get better at WR2 and WR3 than Lazard and Fuchess.

Any 2 draft picks in the top 3 rds at WR would be immediate improvements over Lazard and Funchess, especially in this draft class. I realize they have other needs but getting 2 WR in the top 3 rds is very much a strong possibility. And they need WR who aren't 6'4, but who ARE fast, quick and create plays w/ the ball in their hands.

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egbertsouse's picture

March 26, 2020 at 07:23 am

His biggest strength is using his body to screen out when going for 50/50 balls. Now, if we just had a QB who would actually throw a 50/50 ball.......

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PeteK's picture

March 26, 2020 at 07:43 am

Masochist.. LOL

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Coldworld's picture

March 26, 2020 at 09:21 am

Deleted as a duplicate

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Coldworld's picture

March 26, 2020 at 09:18 am

Maybe if he had a target that would contest them. He used to throw balls like that to Finley and Jordy, even JJ and DD. He does throw them to Adams.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

March 26, 2020 at 01:13 pm

Spot on!

Need a WR where it isn't called a 50/50 ball but more like 75/25 aka Adam's.

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greengold's picture

March 26, 2020 at 07:33 am

Good take, NickPerry. This really was about as low risk/high reward as it gets. Funchess has the pedigree to be a top 20 WR, but he's never had a top QB throwing to him. For all the negativity out there about this signing, the guy gets separation - something woefully absent from all of the receivers not named Adams or Lazard in 2019. With his combination of size and speed, he could be a great target for Aaron Rodgers. For all we know, Funchess was Rodgers' pick... interviews from last off season point to Rodgers and Gutekunst being in contact with each other prior to the 4 big signings made. A good GM just might ask his MVP QB his thoughts on "who" he might prefer to take under consideration.

In a relatively weak WR class in FA, I'm glad Gutes landed a player of Funchess' qualities to kick the tires on. There was not ONE WR in this 2020 FA class without warts. Most of them signing $10M/yr contracts, or close to it.

This is a NO LOSE situation. While terms of his deal are unavailable at this time, we all know HOW Gutekunst & Ball work, and this will be a low $ figure compared to the others who have been taken off the market, and there will be an out for the Packers should he not be able to give GB what they need at WR. Team "outs" appear to be standard issue since last year.

I'm not seeing a downside. The Packers are giving good players returning from injury a shot at redemption with "prove it" deals. It is what they can afford. Makes me wonder if Damon "Snacks" Harrison is next up??? Every FA player signed this offseason fits that profile, except for the returning Mercedes Lewis. Snacks blew out his groin in October, and I wonder if he's well enough to play...? Green Bay has great snacks. He'd love it.

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Coldworld's picture

March 26, 2020 at 09:20 am

At Snacks weight, with that injury, you raise a good point about whether he will pass a physical and when he would be able to perform. I had overlooked that.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 26, 2020 at 02:07 pm

They would be better off checking in on Derek Wolfe as a 3-4 DE to supplant Lancaster. Depends on his injury situation. Gutedkunst didn't pursue any of the value DTs in free agency, so where is his mindset regarding the run stop for the defense 2020? Status quo will get them steam rolled again and it wasn't just the 49rs games where they were punctured.

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Packer_Fan's picture

March 26, 2020 at 07:39 am

Funchess' signing indicates that the Packers will be picking a WR for the first pick. Fortunately, the draft is deep with WR's. And Nick Perry is right, Funchess is better than Allison, MVS and such. But not as good as Emanuel Sanders who the Pack went after. Thus pick a high value WR.

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Stroh's picture

March 26, 2020 at 10:24 pm

The Packers were reportedly interested in DeMarcus Robinson from KC. Now that is a signing I could have gotten behind and interested in. Funchess does Nothing for me, or the Packers really. He's just another in a long line of tall WR who can't make plays in the passing game! He's virtually indenical in many ways as Lazard, EQ, MVS, Allison, Kumerow etc.

We need guys that create seperation and can make plays w/ the ball in their hands after the catch! Give me Jefferson, Reagor, Aiyok or any number of other WR who will compliment Adams.

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Coldworld's picture

March 27, 2020 at 08:23 am

Robinson isn’t a burner by any means. He has also had a problem with drops in college and the nfl. He does have suddeness. On the one hand he had limited chances, on the other, when he did play he was surrounded by offensive weapons and unlikely to have been a focus for the D. It is much easier to look good in that situation than to carry the load in a more limited attack. That’s what makes Adams special. I wonder what Lazard could achieve in the situation Robinson played in.

Could be wrong, but I thing Robinson is a product of his surroundings.

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MITM's picture

March 26, 2020 at 08:08 am

Onwuasor to the Jets -which I hope means they cut Avery Williamson who I think is a very good player ( I live in NY) and he was an absolute stud for the Jets in 2018.

Signing him if hes released would make me feel 100x better about ILB and wouldnt count against our precious compensatory picks

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murf7777's picture

March 26, 2020 at 08:11 am

Fun change of pace as we have beat this subject to death......what Badger player do you think will have the most impact in the NFL over the course of his career? Best Value?

My thoughts are:
JT careeer....he learned to catch the ball last year, watch out! With sprinter speed, oh my.
Tie Orr and Cephus for Value. Orr at the very least will be a standout ST with the potential as sleeper pick and future starter. Cephus he is going to be a strong #2 for years to come. Great hands and knows how to use his body to bring down contested catches.

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Guam's picture

March 26, 2020 at 08:15 am

Funchess is also an insurance policy on Jace Sternberger. I like Sternberger a lot, but he is unproven. Funchess played TE at Michigan and with Lewis back, could take the "Jimmy Graham" snaps as a receiving TE if Sternberger is injured or doesn't perform to expectations. Because he provides veteran depth at both WR and TE, he is a useful addition to the Packers (provided his contract is not large).

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Hematite's picture

March 26, 2020 at 10:20 am

Guam,
I agree wholeheartedly, but then I wanted the Packers to draft Funchess as a tight end when he came out of Michigan.

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Lphill's picture

March 26, 2020 at 08:20 am

If the Packers take Jalen Reager who is a speed threat and punt returner and hopefully St.Brown comes back healthy and productive then they are in pretty good shape at receiver and don’t forget Beagleton from Canada May be a pleasent surprise.

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PeteK's picture

March 26, 2020 at 11:53 am

All right, LP came down from the mountain!!!

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Demon's picture

March 26, 2020 at 12:17 pm

I gave up hoping for UDFA and late round picks years ago. A few years ago fans were drooling about MVS , ESB and Jmon before they even participated in rookie camp.

They are late round or free agents for a reason! If another Driver comes along I'd be ecstatic! Im not counting on it though.

This guy from the CFL is worth a look,, but i'd be surprised if he would even make the practice squad.

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MarkinMadison's picture

March 26, 2020 at 08:55 am

Gutey has now added a player to every position that was a major need except DL. He is sitting exactly where he was last year heading into the draft - he doesn't have to pass on a potentially great player because of a need. Now you can argue that he made the wrong pick at the top of the 1st round last year, but you can't argue that he didn't give himself the choice to take the best player.

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taarons420's picture

March 26, 2020 at 09:12 am

This is the problem.
He's great at positioning himself for the draft... he's just not very good at actually drafting.

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dobber's picture

March 26, 2020 at 09:55 am

^^THIS^^

Well stated, Mark.

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taarons420's picture

March 26, 2020 at 09:11 am

The problem isn't that they signed Funchess (yes - he's better than Kumerow, St Brown, MVS, Allison).
The problem is that ALL THEY DID was sign Funchess.
Packers needed to do 2 things this offseason - fix the passing offense - fix the run defense.
They did neither.
Now they'll have to rely on rookies (without a full preseason) selected by a GM who has shown an inability to find talent in the draft.

Should have been bold. Traded for a stud.

Don't talk to me about future signings.
Every year needs to be a "go for it" year because every year could be your franchise quarterback's last year.
Why worry about next year's free agents now?
When the time comes...
Let Jones and Williams walk (rb's are a dime a dozen in the NFL).
Let Linsley walk (iol are a dime a dozen in the NFL)
Extend Bakhtiari (important position)
Extend King (important position)
Let Clark play his 5th year. Franchise him (or let him walk) the year after that. Let him walk the year after that.
DT's don't win super bowls unless they are premier pass rushers - which Clark is not.

I love Jones, Linsley, and Clark.
Very good players for the Packers.
It would hurt to see them go.
But if them leaving meant I was able to use their money for signing Hooper and trading for OBJ or Hopkins and going all in for the upcoming season...
Hell - sign me up.

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scullyitsme's picture

March 26, 2020 at 01:19 pm

The people that don’t like the funchness signing are the same people that love to hate just about everything packers. He’s and obvious upgrade on wr2 to anyone with eyes last year. He didn’t break the bank( most likely). Also if he sucks so bad why did Indy give him 10 mil last year to be a stud #2?. Apparently the commenters on this site are much more informed than indy’s scouting dept.

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Rusty001's picture

March 26, 2020 at 11:39 am

Indy overpaid for him! He sat on injured reserve last season! He is usually hurt! He won't make the team and even if he does he won't play much!

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dobber's picture

March 26, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Over 4 years in Carolina, missed 3 games prior to his lost season in 2019. If you follow WR, most of them who play any length of time have an injury plagued year or two. I'm not going to fault him for a contact injury like a broken collarbone.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 26, 2020 at 02:31 pm

You are probably getting him confused with Kelvin. Benjamin.

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PeteK's picture

March 26, 2020 at 12:15 pm

Put your scull cap on again, LOL. You just disrespected my favorite success story of last season,Lazard, who by the way will cost us only 675. this season.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 26, 2020 at 10:03 am

Funchess and Lazard will split most of the snaps at the #2 spot. That means they’ll split about 10 targets each game. On the other 50+ snaps, they will be blockers , or decoys, or secondary targets. They are physical mismatches against smaller DBs and they’ll both get their guy blocked.

So that’s one guy blocked. Lewis gets his guy. The offensive line gets their guys blocked. Somebody has to cover Adams. So you only have a few defenders to beat, and the ball is in the hands of Rodgers or Jones.

I like a scenario like that. I think Rodgers and Jones win that quite a bit of the time.

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stockholder's picture

March 26, 2020 at 11:40 am

But why did they have to split snaps?? Lazard and St.Brown have showed promise. Putting either on the bench could start a remission. Funchess is a 1 year rental. I don't believe in the soph more jinx. I like your assumptions but this signing puts Wr in the sh* t hole after a year. They don't have the money this year, and they won't have it next. This move puts a damper on drafting a WR.

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scullyitsme's picture

March 26, 2020 at 01:28 pm

Oh my god. If I hear that a good receiver like funchness might take snaps away from our pathetic young Undrafted free agent receiving Corp one more time, I might blow up.

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PeteK's picture

March 26, 2020 at 01:57 pm

Lazard will lose snaps. Goodbye Sculeeeeee!!!! Hahahaha

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dobber's picture

March 26, 2020 at 04:39 pm

Snaps are about matchups and opportunities. Put your best players out there. At this point, if Lazard (or MVS or ESB) gets beat out by a better player, so be it.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 26, 2020 at 02:04 pm

The three wide sets are not going the way of the dinosaur. Adams, Lazard and Funchess fill that lineup,today. The Packers are not a power running team at this point in their evolution. They are built around a QB with a rifle arm, a quick-stepping RB and an average # 2 RB behind him.
If they bring in a guy like Dillon or Hit Gold with Taylor or Swift, maybe, then, we could see the return of Marty Shottenheimer.
LaFluer want s to move the chains, but he realizes with this defense he has to score more points throughout the game, not just fast starts in quarter one.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

March 26, 2020 at 12:01 pm

Leather,
Spot on but do not forget ESB. I'd put him right in there with those 2 WR's physically, blocking, and WR talent.

The Pack has needed a twitchy and creative slot WR for some time. I have said many times before but I think Adam's is perfect for that spot leaving those 3 big WR's on outside for blocking and using their size and wing span for receptions. Picking up a true slot WR would allow LR to occassionally move Adam's outside. I just personally like Adam's in the slot about 70% of the time.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 26, 2020 at 12:53 pm

We know what Funchess can do. There’s ample tape on him. And we’re excited about what Lazard has shown.

MSV has size and speed but he kind of regressed last season and this is a huge training camp for him. ESB is coming off IR, and while I agree that he has comparable size and talent, I’d have to see him play. He did some good stuff as a rookie, but right now I don’t know if he’s improved or regressed.

As of this moment, I think it’ll be Lazard and Funchess pulling most of the #2 snap. Adams will pull most of the #1 snaps and he’ll be backed up by MVS. ESB will have to fight for snaps and Kumerow might not make the team.

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PeteK's picture

March 26, 2020 at 02:01 pm

I'll take Kumerow over ESB. First receiver drafted will take many of the #2 snaps.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 26, 2020 at 02:11 pm

If they pull in a WR with the one pick, he's not sitting on the bench, watching MVS try to figure out page three of the playbook.

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Coldworld's picture

March 26, 2020 at 03:47 pm

ESB didn’t exactly shine in camp last year. MVS regressed. That said, both have show talent and the physical gifts to play in this league. After the season we fired our WR coach. There was possibly a reason why after only one year.

We can draft this year, but if one or both of those clicks, they will make the roster in my view unless someone clearly surpasses them. Behind Adams it should be a cut throat competition with the best players seeing the field. If we draft a WR early, I’d be very happy if he is kept off the field because others are better at this point.

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Stroh's picture

March 28, 2020 at 10:17 am

Late in their rookie years, EQ had already passed MVS on the depth chart. He is a better overall WR than MVS and IMO it ain't even close. MVS has one thing going for him and that is 4.37 speed. The problem w/ that is he doesn't know how to best use his speed. EQ will be a better WR than MVS. Kumerow should be as good as gone, MVS right behind him!

THe Packers currently have a #1 WR in Adams and three WR who are good #4 WR on a depth chart for any other team. Lazard and Funchess should not be starting or in the top 3 and EQ can compete to supplant one or both, but even he should not be a #3 WR. The Packers desperately need a #2 and #3 WR, then everyone after can fall into roles they are suited for.

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dobber's picture

March 28, 2020 at 10:26 am

When the Packers passing game was at its best, it was when ARod had a troupe of #1/#2 WRs (Driver, Jennings, Nelson, Jones) who were going to regularly going to outplay #2-#4 CBs. They just don't have anything like that now.

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Archie's picture

March 26, 2020 at 11:02 am

Until slowed by injuries his last year in CAR I thought he and CAM formed a lethal combination at times. To me, he is a bit reminiscent of Shannon Sharpe. And many of his connections with CAM were 20 yards or more downfield. Cam would wait to release the ball on those plays but they worked. So I look forward to seeing him in a GB uniform. Only question is whether 12 can throw those same bullets 20 yards downfield that Cam could.

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PeteK's picture

March 26, 2020 at 12:27 pm

Another masochist-LOL- Rogers will soon be preparing for a SB run while Cam is now home modeling fancy head gear.LOl

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

March 26, 2020 at 11:55 am

Good article! Thanks!

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BoHunter's picture

March 26, 2020 at 01:15 pm

Lazard needs to get 10 targets a game, not split 10 with Funchess imo.
BoHunter

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scullyitsme's picture

March 26, 2020 at 01:25 pm

No, just, no

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Coldworld's picture

March 26, 2020 at 01:48 pm

We need a better receiver than Lazard was last year to be our number 2. No disrespect to Lazard, but it’s simply true. I don’t care if that’s Funchess, Gloria Gaynor or the Wizard of Oz as long as he is in our roster come the start of the season.

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dobber's picture

March 26, 2020 at 03:24 pm

I keep hitting the thumbs up icon, but it only allows me to like this once.

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PeteK's picture

March 26, 2020 at 07:00 pm

Gloria Gaynor has better moves than Funless.

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ShooterMcGee's picture

March 26, 2020 at 04:20 pm

BG's strategy this year must be to gain compensatory picks for the 2021 draft much like his predecessor would have done. Losing high priced guys such as Bulaga and Martinez could net us 3rd or 4th round picks. Add to that Fackrell, BJ Goodson, and Vitale which may net us 2 late round picks. By signing street 2 free agents and a low priced wr we may get 4 additional picks in 2021. As GM he has to think long term as well as next season. I agree with his strategy.

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dobber's picture

March 26, 2020 at 04:44 pm

I think he's married three strategies: 1. prudent use of limited cap to cover as many glaring holes as possible, 2. protection and production of draft capital, and 3. relying on players currently on the roster to play well in 2020.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 26, 2020 at 11:02 pm

Allows him to use picks to move up in the early rounds if he has a chance at a blue chip. There is no rule you have to draft # 3 or 4 picks that end up on the street. Use whatever means to get Players. They have reserves in 2021 as you noted.

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Coldworld's picture

March 27, 2020 at 08:29 am

I agree, I don’t know that we need 10 rookies this year.

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Stroh's picture

March 28, 2020 at 10:25 am

Gutey's strategy this year is to be able to sign Bahktiari and Clark to long term extensions! Signing guys like Kirksey and Wagner cover positions of need and they happen to allow them to get Comp picks for Bulaga and Martinez. But the strategy, as it should be, is to get Both Bahktiari and Clark extensions done. After that they still will have Linsley and King and Jones as FA. In order of importance, is Bahktiari and Clark 1 and 1a, Linsley and King (which ever order you want) and then Jones (unless he signs for 5M per yr or less he probably won't be a Packer in '21.

This year is about saving money to sign the FA who's contracts end after the '20 season!

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Bure9620's picture

March 26, 2020 at 05:14 pm

Any info anywhere on Funchess' contract?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 27, 2020 at 12:10 am

I see no way to judge this move until the contract details come out.

Funchess got paid $10M big ones last season. Someone thinks he can play, and Indy has assembled some nice talent, but lost Luck.

Funchess has a career drop rate of 12.3%. I don't think AR will stand for that, so he has to work on those concentration drops.

Reserve judgment until the contract details are known.

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