Packers Should Expect Big Changes at Wide Receiver in 2022

We all know the Green Bay Packers will have a lot of turnover on their roster before the start of the 2022 season. Much of it revolves around the uncertain future of Aaron Rodgers who could return to the Packers, may retire or may demand a trade.

The Packers are already well over the projected 2022 salary cap and Rodgers’ decision will go a long way toward figuring out what other moves the team can and will be able to make.

But one position that will likely face significant changes before the start of next season is wide receiver. Here is a look at the Packers situation at the receiver position heading into the offseason:

Davante Adams (unrestricted free agent)

The Packers undisputed number one receiver is an unrestricted free agent and wants to be the highest paid receiver in the NFL. He set franchise records this year with 123 catches for 1,553 yards and caught 11 touchdown passes. He earned Pro Bowl honors for the fifth straight year and All Pro honors for the second straight year.

Adams is asking for $30 million per year according to published reports and while that is likely a starting point for negotiations, Tae won’t come cheaply.

The Packers have threatened to use the franchise tag on Adams, but that would cost the Packers more than $20 million against the cap and Adams would certainly not be happy about that move.

If Rodgers stays, Adams is more likely to want to re-sign with the Packers as the two have outstanding chemistry after playing together for so long.

If Adams returns, the wide receiver room is stronger but it won’t be easy for the Packers to bring him back.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (unrestricted free agent)

Valdes-Scantling is the Packers fastest receiver and best deep threat. He missed the playoff game due to injury and his absence was felt. Rodgers indicated he wanted both MVS and Adams back but it’s likely the speedster will get a better offer elsewhere if he hits the open market.

Spotrac.com estimates MVS’s value as a free agent at approximately $8.8 million and that would be too much for the Packers especially if Rodgers and Adams are both back. But if MVS leaves, the Packers would need another receiver who can stretch the field.

Allen Lazard (restricted free agent)

Lazard is a restricted free agent and the Packers have a choice to make. They can let him hit the open market but that is unlikely given Lazard’s blocking ability and reliability as a depth receiver. They can place a second-round tender on him which would give him a cap hit of almost $4 million or they can go with a right of first refusal tender which would leave his cost at $2.433 million.

The Packers should look to bring back Lazard but won’t break the bank to do so.

Randall Cobb

Cobb has quite a high cap hit for 2022 at more than $9.6 million. That’s far too high a number for a third or fourth receiver on the depth chart. There is no way he will play for the Packers at that number.

Cobb is experienced and is a favorite of Rodgers. If Rodgers stays in Green Bay, the Packers may try to reach a new, multi-year deal that could give the Packers some cap relief for 2022. Cobb could also sign a new deal for less money to help the team get under the cap.

If Rodgers doesn’t return, Cobb could be let go and that would save the Packers approximately $6.7 million against the cap.

Equanimeous St. Brown (unrestricted free agent)

EQ is a solid performer on special teams but never really carved out a big role on offense. He played in 13 games and caught 9 passes for 98 yards while running three times for 14 yards on jet sweeps and end arounds.

The Packers could re-sign EQ at or near the veteran minimum but it would be cheaper to develop a rookie who could make similar contributions for less money.

Amari Rodgers

Rodgers is still on his rookie deal and will be back for his second NFL season. Once the Packers reacquired Cobb, you knew Rodgers’ role on offense would be reduced. He caught four passes for 45 yards in limited action on offense while struggling at times to field the ball cleanly and make smart plays as a punt returner.

The Packers hope Rodgers makes a big jump in his second season and can contribute more.

Juwann Winfree

Winfree is under contract for 2022. He has a cap hit of $895,000 and will compete for a job as a backup and special teams player.

Malik Taylor (Exclusive Rights Free Agent)

All the Packers need to do to keep Taylor under contract for next year is make him a qualifying offer. If they don’t want to, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent. Taylor can add depth and play on special teams but has yet to carve out a consistent role in the offense for himself. He had two catches for 14 yards and both came in the season opener against the Saints.

The Packers also have Chris Blair and Rico Gafford under contract. Blair spent the season on the practice squad while Gafford has experience with the Raiders and was signed to a futures contract.

Overall, the top three receivers from 2021 (Adams, Lazard and Valdes-Scantling) are not under contract for next season with St. Brown also due to be a free agent and Cobb needing to renegotiate his deal if he’s going to stay.

Look for a lot of turnover at receiver this offseason. Depending on who stays, the Packers will likely use a high draft pick to fortify the position even if they add an experienced receiver in a possible Rodgers trade.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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10 points

Comments (72)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Spock's picture

February 03, 2022 at 12:14 pm

Paying Adams that kind of money is not smart front office money spent. If it were me, I'd let Rodgers and Adams go and work to make a TEAM that can compete. That's all I ask as a fan. I'll support whomever is a Packer next year, but I hope the FO is making decisions for "down the road" and not "all in" in the coming season. I just don't see Rodgers changing his ways and the whole "trust" issue thing has become a b.s. excuse for not spreading the ball around. Just my two cents.

24 points
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Razer's picture

February 03, 2022 at 12:34 pm

Couldn't of said it better myself. And, I tried :o)

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Coldworld's picture

February 03, 2022 at 12:49 pm

If keeping Rodgers means paying Cobb, that only adds to the weight of reason in favor of moving on.

9 points
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Johnblood27's picture

February 04, 2022 at 10:05 am

Fascinating... ;-\

0 points
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Razer's picture

February 03, 2022 at 12:33 pm

Obviously, bringing back Aaron Rodgers comes at higher price than just his own contract. Paying top league dollar for Adams and 9+ million for Cobb would not be prudent. The more I look at it, the more I think that a wholesale change needs to happen if we are to build a sustainable future. I think that Adams, Cobb, MVS and ESB don't return and I am fine with that. Aaron Rodgers will not be fine with that and we don't have enough time for him to build trust with a new WR. Soooo...the next steps are fairly clear.

15 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

February 03, 2022 at 12:50 pm

I'll readily admit that I'm not familiar with Spotrac.com and how reliable they are. But I almost fell out of my chair when I read the 8.8 million dollar price tag associated with MVS. In 4 years he's caught a whopping 123 balls with a 49.8% catch percentage, with a HOF QB. That gets you almost 9 million!?

I've said it before...I think MVS has a role on the team. But he has demonstrated nothing to indicate that he'll ever be more than a role player. Anything near $8.8 million would be insane.

13 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 03, 2022 at 01:06 pm

Speed and the changes Ds make to account for him gives him value. The question i am asking myself is what would his stats be if we had been playing with a different QB. Like Lazard, he ran a lot of routes without being considered.

If Adams remains we probably don’t have an option (as keeping him with out Rodgers too is unlikely). Assuming Adams departs, I’d offer MVS an incentive laden contract and be willing to pay for success. He and Lazard and possibly Winfree and Taylor are all we have at present. Drafting where we do will be a stretch to get one contributing starter. Blair is a raw speedster whom we obviously like but none of us have seen as he wasn’t healthy in camp. Gafford is a very small very very fast returner and maybe option/gadget type.

Early draftee, MVS, Lazard, AmRod, Winfree and Taylor is about the minimum core we are going to need to go into camp while Blair and later draft picks/UDFAs and cheap FAs will add competition. The cost of MVS isn’t a cost that can entirely be saved, we need speed and we also need numbers without being an all rookie group. We are cap poor this year at best. We likely don’t get better speed in a ready to play form cheaper than MVS.

6 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

February 03, 2022 at 03:11 pm

Every player has value. It's all about determining what that value is relative to what his skill set brings to the team. If you think that is anywhere near $8.8 million, we'll have to respectfully agree to disagree.

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Coldworld's picture

February 03, 2022 at 06:13 pm

Depends if you would count incentives, most of which would likely be deemed unearned for cap purposes in 2022, due to games missed and numbers. I’d give him up front money as a signing bonus and a very low salary, probably 4-5 million total and let him earn more if he produces.

2 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

February 03, 2022 at 01:03 pm

I would love to hear what the thumbs down folks think would be a reasonable salary for MVS.

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dblbogey's picture

February 03, 2022 at 01:41 pm

2.4 million.

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

February 03, 2022 at 01:14 pm

2M plus incentives.

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13TimeChamps's picture

February 03, 2022 at 01:28 pm

Sounds about right. He HAS to increase his catch percentage. Maybe a contract loaded with incentives would help him achieve that.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 03, 2022 at 07:20 pm

He has to stay on the field not sit in rehab with recurring hamstring issues. Maybe he needs to attend a Dojo with a Kung Fu Master? Nutrition and flexibility.

3 points
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michael562's picture

February 04, 2022 at 09:28 am

If I'm not mistaken, he didn't have a drop last year.

1 points
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mbpacker's picture

February 03, 2022 at 05:05 pm

His speed does keep defenses honest and opens up things for the other receivers, but my big concern is his availability. He seems to get hurt every year.

2 points
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Oppy's picture

February 04, 2022 at 07:43 am

I agree, I wouldn't want to spend $8M on him. That would put him inthe top 25 WR salaries for 2022. He's a #2/#3 receiver, which (in theory only) should put his salary somewhere around the #33- #96 salary range.

All that being said, I wouldn't hold the catch percentage against MVS- he has been targeted by Rodgers almost exclusively on deep jump ball type throws, and far too often was completely under thrown to. He hasn't been given many opportunities to go out and get quick slants, curls, and outs that tend to be higher percentage throws.

3 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

February 03, 2022 at 07:26 pm

Maybe because he doesn't run precise routes for those types of plays? Just a thought.

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Oppy's picture

February 03, 2022 at 09:35 pm

Just a thought, nobody knows because we haven't seen him run those routes.
And, ultimately, doesn't detract from the point that his catch percentage is most likely skewed by the types of opportunities he is given.

1 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

February 03, 2022 at 10:25 pm

"Just a thought, nobody knows because we haven't seen him run those routes"

Fair question. And why haven't we seen that after 4 years and two head coaches and OCs? At what point do we say, this is who he is? A 28-32rec and 2-3TDs a year guy.

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Oppy's picture

February 04, 2022 at 07:52 am

Za'Darius Smith used to be a 20-25 tackles, 3 sacks a year guy.
Then he became a 55 tackles, 12 tackles a year guy.

Sometimes it's not talent, but opportunity, that limits production.

So, the point at which we can honestly say that 'this is who he is', would be after giving the player an honest opportunity to show us what he can and can't do.

I don't think MVS has been given any such opportunity at this point. He's be implemented as a deep threat only, and played with a QB who, frankly, pigeon holes his receivers to some extent.

I don't know who MVS is. All I'm saying is, I think he has shown enough to warrant keeping on if he will agree to reasonable terms based on his production. I'd love to see him given the opportunity to show he can be more than the receiver who just runs deep to beat or draw coverage.

4 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

February 04, 2022 at 09:37 am

I hope you're right. I would love to see him develop into a more all around complete player. This will be his 5th year. It's a pretty much now or never year for him I would think.

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Spock's picture

February 04, 2022 at 08:10 am

Oppy, "He hasn't been given many opportunities to go out and get quick slants, curls, and outs that tend to be higher percentage throws." Very true. I will say in the playoff games against TB he seemed to be the only WR who came to play and caught everything Rodgers threw at him with some of those kinds of routes. Seems to me he was underutilized this year.

2 points
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croatpackfan's picture

February 03, 2022 at 01:04 pm

As I stated before, I believe let Davante to financially secure his future will be right move. It will show that Packers respect his high contribution for franchise and, considering franchise future, they are careful with it. I believe other players will be more gladly to come to Green Bay.

Regarding MVS, I would try to keep him on the roster. Only issue here is cap situation. They can structure his contract with less cap hit for 2022 season.

Lazard should be signed on 2nd round tender. 4 mil is not a lot of money and if there will be team interested in him, Packers will get 2nd round pick, which is not w/o value, as you can move in the draft and take prefered player. Or just pick 2 players in the 2nd round.

Despite I like Randall Cobb as person, I will release him. 6.7 mil is good savings.

Juwann Winfree showed some flashes of good WR (2/3 WR on the team) and I would like to keep him for another year to see where his development is directed.

Malik Taylor - exclusive right tender says all. Keep him, you can release him if you'll not get improvment.

Chris Blair and Rico Gafford - I do not know nothing about them, so they can continue to be on PS if they are showing any glimps of traits to be NFL WRs.

I expect at least 2 WR to be drafted one high (2nd/3rd round) and one on the 3rd day (5th/6th round).

I gave all my thoughts on the WR with the presumption that Aaron Rodgers will be traded. If they extend Aaron Rodgers and while I have almost no knowledge about salary cap technicalities, I can not assume what FO will do.

EDIT: JUST READ on ESPN what Broncos offer is: 2022 first-rounder (No. 9), 2023 first-rounder, 2022 second-rounder, 2022 third-rounder and a WR/TE from current Denver roster for Rodgers

5 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

February 03, 2022 at 01:31 pm

"EDIT: JUST READ on ESPN what Broncos offer is: 2022 first-rounder (No. 9), 2023 first-rounder, 2022 second-rounder, 2022 third-rounder and a WR/TE from current Denver roster for Rodgers"

That was a simulation what reporters were speculating on what the offer "might" look like...not an actual offer that Denver has made.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/33192933/simulating-nfl-starting-qua...

3 points
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BruceC1960's picture

February 03, 2022 at 04:29 pm

If that was in fact what the offer turns out to be, that is a no brainer.

6 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

February 03, 2022 at 06:28 pm

Oh...100%! I'd be shocked, but very happy, if Denver agreed to that. If he was 33 or 34, maybe I could see it. But teams/GMs have made crazier trades. We'll see.

3 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

February 03, 2022 at 06:45 pm

Wentz brought a 1st round pick...

If he was worth a 1st, how much is AR worth?

If the Broncos, Titans, Raiders, Colts, Miami, Panthers, plus a couple other interested teams start making offers and get into a bidding war, what is the best we can get?

IDK, but I'll take it...

; P

2 points
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BruceC1960's picture

February 03, 2022 at 07:24 pm

Hope we find out.

2 points
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Guam's picture

February 04, 2022 at 08:31 am

I agree with your logic 13TimeChamps, but the NFL is a copycat league and if the Rams win the Super Bowl, a "rent-a-quarterback" will have won the last two Super Bowls (Brady and Stafford). What might a team that is a QB shy of Super Bowl talent be willing to pay for Rodgers? Crazy deals do happen and the copycat climate is setting up a possible windfall for the Packers.

0 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

February 03, 2022 at 01:30 pm

Forgive me croatpackfan... I'm kinda new around here, so I'm ashamed to say I was going to give you some shit for your comment. (Not for content...)

Then, dumbA$$ that I am, I realized you're probably Croatian, and English probably isn't your 1st language... (I'm old and slow, so again, please forgive me!) ; P

(Also, my 2nd language is dumbA$$...) ; )

I agreed with just about everything you said...

The only difference would be, if I were Gutey, I would talk to Tae and see if he would agree to a tag and trade if it were to the right team, and they could get away with arranging it legally speaking... (IDK...)

If DA absolutely was against something like that, I too would not tag him and let him go to Free Agency to get what he could get...

1 points
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croatpackfan's picture

February 04, 2022 at 01:18 am

There is no bad feeling between. I know that sometimes I wrote in crapy English. So no offense.

What will be helpfull some corretive instructions (if it is even possible ;) ).

2 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

February 04, 2022 at 09:54 am

Lol... I'm the last guy who should be giving advice on English, Grammar, or anything in that realm... As dyslexic as I am, I'm lucky to write a comprehendible sentence half the time...

I'm just excited we have a guy in Croatia that is a Packer Fan!

1 points
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jlc1's picture

February 05, 2022 at 09:25 pm

Sometimes you do write some fractured sentences but other times you nail them like a native speaker. Keep it up either way.

1 points
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ImaPayne's picture

February 03, 2022 at 08:58 pm

that's funny. you should added they were throwing in a case of Coors. I don't think Denver is interested in Rodgers at all. ,40 mil under cap and 11 draft picks, you rebuild with youth and top free agents, not some old 39 qb that can't win playoff games.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 04, 2022 at 10:35 am

Blair is a small school WR whom we didn’t see last preseason due to injury and the previous one due to Covid preventing one.. He runs in the 4.4s (I’ve seen a range of times cited) and would project as a boundary type. He was one of the top deep threats in the nation in his final college year.

He was a junior college guy who moved to a small school program and was really completely under the radar. Needed a lot of technical work. The Packers must like him because he’s been with us since Jan 2020. That’s a lot of time developing a guy that is so under the radar.

Gafford maybe the fastest player on the team. He runs the 40 in the very low 4.2s. He’s small though, maybe 5’10” and 184 pounds. He came into the league as a UDFA CB in 2018 , really as a returner, but played CB in college, being converted to WR in the NFL by Jon Gruden in his first season, supposedly due to his speed.

He played on STs and also returned a kick. He seems to have regularly done so in practice and to have been used in a sort of option role on O. I do not see him returning punts in college or the NFL. He has 2 catches on 4 targets for 66 yards and a touchdown on offense. He’s likely a gadget receiver and and mainly a ST and kick return candidate. The Packers list him as a WR.

1 points
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PhantomII's picture

February 03, 2022 at 01:10 pm

Adams has elite hands and moves off the line. He lacks elite top speed which is why AR and only AR is able to key hole passes only Adams can catch. If Adams had more deep separation speed he might be worth bringing back at a fair price. Any and I mean Any player wanting to be paid highest paid player needs to find a new team. That's the attitude that a narcissist takes. You have to be willing to leave a little money on the table for your so called team mate or there is no love in your heart for them....I don't want players on the team that think like that. AR keeps making the same mistakes over and over. He learned not to throw pics like Favre did, but has his own flaws that continue to help stop this team in it's tracks. We have rode this horse to the North and that's as far as it will go without a lot of crow swallowing and a miracle level drive to only move the chains on every play, executed with the same stubborn manner it took to throw to merely one receiver.

12 points
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Oppy's picture

February 03, 2022 at 06:55 pm

Adams shouldn't be brought back at his asking price, period, no matter who throws it to him.

Now that I've got that off my chest, the idea that only Rodgers can make Adams an effective target is silly. Take a look at the Hundley games; Adams was eating.

4 points
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PhantomII's picture

February 03, 2022 at 08:27 pm

Rodgers makes the ridiculous throws only he can make and Adams makes the catches he can make...Both the best at pass and catch. Adams does not have the long speed but is elusive. He is gonna be 29 and does not make sense to give someone that much money that does not have an extra gear to use for another QB or longevity . This entire year was about AR special throws to a special WR to make maximum coin and MVP numbers doing it with All Pro data. It's not that Adams is not elite...It's that the combo is next level and does not happen minus the other. We can't afford either, that's why I wanted Gute to move up and get Jefferson at #20 at least we would have another #1 WR and more than likely a SB and maybe more and...no Love, good or bad.

-1 points
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Oppy's picture

February 03, 2022 at 09:40 pm

I'm the president of the "no WR is worth 30M / yr" club. However, Adams is going to be a great WR for any QB to throw to. What you perceive to be a lack of top end speed is easily offset by his awareness, get off, and insane catch radius and elite vertical.

3 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

February 03, 2022 at 09:51 pm

Allow me to volunteer to be Master of Arms... (No way I'm volunteering to be VP...) ; P

2 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

February 03, 2022 at 01:20 pm

* Bringing back Adams is economically unfathomable - with or without Rodgers
* Cobb next year? He shouldn't have been here this year.
* Lazzard @ 4m.yr. is good value
* MVS - I'd sign him at 4-5 m /yr.
* Amari Rodgers - coming into a make-it or break-it year
* EQS, Taylor, Winfree - maybe yes, maybe no - all potentially replaceable
* Big Bob Tonyan - before injury possibly a 10m/yr. player. Still I'd offer him a contract at 5m/yr.

11 points
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BruceC1960's picture

February 03, 2022 at 03:45 pm

Does this come down to a decision whether you want AR/DA or Campbell, Tonyan, Douglas,Lazard, MVS and Preston? Both would assume letting these guys go: Z, Cobb, Big Dog, Crosby.

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 03, 2022 at 06:18 pm

I’m not sure when Tonyan is expected to be ready to play, but it is not impossible that he doesn’t pass a physical till during the season in order to be able to sign/practice. That makes signing him complex and means we should look to find a serviceable alternative anyway.

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

February 03, 2022 at 07:25 pm

TE has to be one of the first three picks in the draft and bag a Journeyman along the way.

2 points
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stockholder's picture

February 03, 2022 at 02:33 pm

You read the room right. You know what the value of each Wr is. And this just might explain why Rodgers isn't interested in a Rebuild. Throw in Tonyan and #12 has a point. I believe; they will have to match offers, if Adams is set free. ( And I would set him free. ) So yes; they must keep somebody around for Rodgers. We saw Linsley replaced with a Rookie. And the same thing must happen with Adams. --Double teaming him! Showed the world why these Wrs aren't good enough. -- And Cobb still gets hurt. I'm sure #12 remembers Moore and every guy with Stone hands. But the speed is so vital to a play-off contender. Just look at Dallas, Philly, Rams, etc. They got speed and made the play-offs. The sports world cried for Gutey to get Rodgers help. They weren't wrong.

0 points
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Oppy's picture

February 03, 2022 at 07:05 pm

The number one factor to having success from your #2, #3, and even #4 receiving options when your #1 WR is double teamed, is throwing it them.

I'm sincerely tired of people blaming the WRs for Rodgers' refusal to spread the ball around. It's been 6 years or so of "Nobody can get open for Rodgers except Adams/Nelson", but the film week in and week out shows otherwise.

7 points
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jlc1's picture

February 05, 2022 at 09:29 pm

And there are a lot, a lot, of that film showing him throwing to 8, 9 different guys. I hope that is your point.

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

February 03, 2022 at 03:48 pm

If Gutekunst does what he's done before, Adams will not be back. Gutekunst has not spent big money or high draft picks on the WR position. Adams signed his deal before Gutekunst. Jordy, Geronimo, Cobb…all left. Meanwhile, we went an astounding 39-10 with Day 3 picks and UDFAs lining up opposite of Adams.

Clearly, the GM thinks we can spend our resources elsewhere, and we will.

We dress 5 wide receivers. Amari Rodgers for sure, RFA Lazard as our starting #2.

After that, Cobb will be traded or released for the cap savings. MVS will probably get one offer it would be foolish to match. If EQ is willing to play for near the vet minimum, he might be resigned.

The organization has done a very good job of finding good receivers on the second day of the draft, and we could possibly trade for a receiver..

In any event, this is a unit where Gutekunst has economized, and I’d expect that to continue. I could see a scenario where our top three WRs are Amari, Lazard, and a new guy.

8 points
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GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

February 03, 2022 at 09:04 pm

Mr Gambini are you on drugs?

0 points
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nygary's picture

February 04, 2022 at 10:10 am

Georgia that was great. Made me laugh

0 points
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nygary's picture

February 04, 2022 at 10:10 am

Georgia that was great. Made me laugh

0 points
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Qoojo's picture

February 03, 2022 at 05:15 pm

I guess I would trade AR, release Cobb, and tag Adams. 2nd round tender for Lazard. ESB release.

MVS, I am not sure. I can tell the difference when he plays vs not. He really helped open things up, but then he has missed quite a few games or been injured and not as reliable. Then there is the consideration, that another fast WR could be drafted or signed instead, and with AR gone, the QB would look his way, compared to 2-3 years in the no-trust zone and being essentially useless.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 04, 2022 at 09:58 am

If Rodgers departs I’d let Adams leave because we can use the cap but also to let us develop future talent. If Love was busting the door down to start, then it would be a different matter, but Love (or whomever) is going to need to build a rapport and best to do that with younger, cheaper talent that can grow with him in my view. That cap room can then be used elsewhere.

1 points
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Packer_Fan's picture

February 03, 2022 at 06:49 pm

Tag Adams and then trade him for a young WR if 3rd round draft pick. Sign Lazard and release Cobb. Of course Gute can work some serious magic

1 points
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Since'61's picture

February 03, 2022 at 07:23 pm

TGR, or anyone who understands capology, is this even feasible? What follows below is from an article by Wendell Ferreira on Zone Coverage titled "Packers can free up $90 million in cap space."

The Green Bay Packers are $50 million over the salary cap projection for 2022, according to Over The Cap. That’s with 54 players under contract and before potentially extending or tagging Davante Adams, signing any free agents or draft picks, besides leaving some financial room to operate during the 2022 season. Therefore, it’s safe to assume the Packers will need to open at least $80 million in the next couple of months – the new league year starts on March 16.

But there’s a clear path for the Packers if they want to go all-in next season and keep Aaron Rodgers and most of their stars. They can open up to $90 million without cutting any player. That would be more than enough for Green Bay to tag Adams and then extend him to free up some more cap space to operate during the regular season.

The Packers have flexibility because they have the sixth-most cap space in 2023, $118.1 million. Only the Las Vegas Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Houston Texans have more.

Another disclaimer: It’s evident the Packers will cut some players, but here is a hypothetical scenario to show what they can do with each contract.

EXTENSIONS

The first and biggest extension would be with Aaron Rodgers. Considering his current cap number is $46.6 million, and it’s his last season under contract with the Packers, it’s almost a guarantee that he’ll need a new deal to come back. Even if they reach a top-of-market deal, the Packers should be able to open $12 million in cap space. If it’s a little bit lower and with a team-friendly structure, the savings might go up to $20 million, leaving his cap hit at $26 million.

Jaire Alexander is also due for an extension. He is owed $13.3 million on his fifth-year option. If the Packers sign him to a backloaded deal, the cap figure could go down to something like $7.3 million, a $5 million reduction.

The Packers could also give Kevin King a small extension. They wouldn’t be doing it because he’s an essential part of the defense. Instead, an extension for the minimum would allow the Packers to keep the pro-rated void years applied last offseason at a number that’s $1.5 million lower. If he doesn’t re-sign, all pro-rated money will accelerate and hit the 2022 salary cap.

PAY CUT

Randall Cobb‘s contract projects a $9.6 million cap hit in 2022, but there’s no way the Packers would pay that much. And considering his production over the last few years, no other team would pay it, either. So if Cobb wants to keep playing with his close friend Aaron Rodgers, he will have to accept a pay cut. If his base salary goes down to the vet minimum, it would be a $6.6 million savings for the Packers.

RESTRUCTURES

With Rodgers, King, and Alexander extensions, plus Cobb’s pay cut, the Packers would already save $33 million in 2022. The other $57 million would come in the form of restructures. In these cases, the team pays the same amount of money to the player, but it’s aligned in a way that the cap hit is spread over the following years.

For the sake of this argument, the Packers would use a lot of void years, a tool to include “fake years”’ to a deal to spread the cap hit over five years, even if it’s a shorter contract. It’s a common strategy around the NFL, and it has become a trend over the last two seasons because of the cap decline.

Here are some projections of how much the Packers can save if they restructure those deals and add void years:

DT Kenny Clark $11.16 million (roster bonus and base salary to signing bonus)
OLB Za’Darius Smith $10.6 million (base salary to signing bonus)
OT David Bakhtiari $9.6 million (roster bonus and base salary to signing bonus)
OLB Preston Smith $8.5 million (roster bonus and base salary to signing bonus)
S Adrian Amos $4.9 million (roster bonus and base salary to signing bonus)
OT Billy Turner $3.4 million (base salary to signing bonus)
DE Dean Lowry $3.36 million (roster bonus and base salary to signing bonus)
RB Aaron Jones $3.32 million (roster bonus to signing bonus)
K Mason Crosby $1.7 million (roster bonus, workout bonus, and base salary to signing bonus)
TE Marcedes Lewis $0.5 million (roster bonus to signing bonus)
Total in cap space freed up: $90.14 million

I have no idea if this author is credible but I doubt that all of these players would agree to having their contracts restructured. But if this guy can come up with this I'm sure that Ball can as well. I'm not advocating for the Packers to do this I'm just wondering if the Packers could make it happen and if yes would they? I would advocate that even in this scenario they don't keep King and they let Cobb go.

Thanks, Since '61

3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

February 03, 2022 at 07:35 pm

Now we're talking like the CFO s on the top floors of the beehive. Some of the dead weight has to go, naturally and draft a WR with speed with the one pick. If Rodgers wants to pout about Q-vectors and raiding the Feedstore with the Witch Doctors to solve a pandemic, so be it. With a solid group around Love he could "manage" to be successful.

2 points
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Starrbrite's picture

February 03, 2022 at 08:18 pm

Outstanding analysis Since’61. Thank you.

1 points
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Since'61's picture

February 03, 2022 at 09:14 pm

Starrbrite - I appreciate the feedback. I don’t know if it can or will happen but it is an interesting hypothetical scenario.
Stay safe. Thanks, Since ‘61

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BirdDogUni's picture

February 03, 2022 at 09:55 pm

Personally, I hope this doesn't happen...

I've already come to terms with the fact that AR/DA are gone...

Bring the Love and the Cap Space...

3 points
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Since'61's picture

February 03, 2022 at 10:11 pm

I agree, I would prefer for this not to happen. If it does it means that ultimately we will get nothing in return for AR or DA. I would prefer to get the draft picks and keep the cap money projected for 2023.

But the Packers may be considering something like this as an attempt to go all in again for 2022. Thanks, Since ‘61

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 04, 2022 at 10:02 am

Yes, it can be done but that’s loading up the future and setting traps in the event of injury. Signing aging players with cap hits stretching into the future is a well known pitfall. This also doesn’t seem to address Campbell or Z or any other roster strengthening. In essence it throws a curve ball into the next 3-5 years in order to try again with a lesser and, in part, aging roster, less depth and more rookies: draft picks, UDFA and bargain SFAs. It relies on keeping marginal players not improving over them as well.

Yes it’s possible but, my goodness, it should get any GM fired for doing it. This would be an almost indefensible mortgage on the future for a less strong or deep roster. Not impossible, just irresponsible and highly unlikely to achieve the desired result if a Super Bowl.

4 points
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Since'61's picture

February 04, 2022 at 08:32 am

Coldworld I agree with you. Let’s hope that this remains a hypothetical scenario. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Grandfathered's picture

February 03, 2022 at 08:19 pm

Let Aaron Rogers and Adams go, with Cobb. Try to keep Lazard, and same with ESB, Taylor and Winfree. The tough one is MVS. Speed is great only when its available, and let some other GM forget that MVS can't stay on the field for $8M.

-1 points
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ImaPayne's picture

February 03, 2022 at 09:37 pm

dump Rodgers, Adams, mvs, st bonehead, merciles, Turner, King, yadum, Sullivan,

-2 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

February 03, 2022 at 09:56 pm

I agree with all but MVS...

But, that's just me...

3 points
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croatpackfan's picture

February 04, 2022 at 01:32 am

Do not bother to change those people attitude towards MVS. They assume AR is mistake free. What I saw AR throws are around 70% out of reach when he is targeting MVS. Also people forget that last NFCCG MVS was far the best receiver Packers had.

4 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

February 04, 2022 at 09:57 am

MVS had a wicked NFCCG against the Bucs... Too bad AR and DA didn't... SMH

Don't even get me started on Kevin King... SSMH

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Bitternotsour's picture

February 03, 2022 at 10:57 pm

the way forward is younger, faster, cheaper. it was the Thompson way. it will be the Gutekunst way.

Rodgers gone. Adams gone. MVS gone. Lazard has some value and they'll explore it.

Ultimately, this team is going to look very different next year. So too the offense. We get to see the true MLF offense.

My great hope is they find a way to sign Marcus Mariota, who MLF had in Tennessee. I'm more excited about a new team in 2022 than I was for the diva redux in 2021.

Here's your hat Aaron, what's your hurry.

1 points
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jont's picture

February 04, 2022 at 09:32 am

"this team is going to look very different next year"

Yes.

CHTV's favorite broadcaster, Troy Aikman, said during every Packer game that an "offense is only as good as its #3 receiver," and he meant that the Packers didn't have one. Hell, our brethren all across this board had trouble agreeing that GB had even a legit #2.

GB can't afford Adams, and there is nobody in house who can be a dangerous #1 or even a reasonable #2. The guys on the roster each have their merits, but, I'm sorry, MVS, EQ, and Lazard are as good as they're going to be; none show any evidence that they are about to have a break out year.

Draft, trade, free agent, wherever, Gute is shopping for WRs, WRs, and more WRs. Makes the pass on Aiyuk and others the past two years look worse day by day.

1 points
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nygary's picture

February 04, 2022 at 10:14 am

Trade AR then trade Adams if they can with a sign an trade. That should bring in an infusion of young talent. Our D to me is a stud D-lineman and a good middle linebacker away from being a very good defense. We can win with that, plus a good run game. With all the picks we get for AR and Adams we could add a ton of talent.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

February 05, 2022 at 11:13 am

Guys like MVS and ESB have been injury prone no doubt, but at the same time without Rodgers and Adam's they would instantaneously become significantly bigger contributors. Both are big and fast WRs who know the offense and Love. They can be had on the cheap. I'd like to see both of them used much more like MVS was in that Baltimore game.

I fully expect to see them both back with the Packers to team with Lazard, and Amari. I also expect to see the Packers obtain at least one WR from a team trade, as well as to draft a WR with a #1 or #2.

The WR's will be just fine in 2022. How many times did the Packers win without Adam's in the line-up? I'm more concerned with Tonyan being resigned along with how far into the season before he can play. Deguaria cannot replace Tonyan as a move TE, which has been demonstrated.

0 points
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