The Green Bay Packers want to be in on every conversation in free agency. These were the words that GM Brian Gutekunst said when he was introduced in his opening press conference. Thus far in the offseason, they have hosted Muhammed Wilkerson, called about Richard Sherman before he was signed by the San Francisco 49ers, and are reported to have a strong interest in several other marquee free agents. With the legal tampering period now open and the new league year set to kick off later this week, we’re going to look at three dream players at positions of need that the team could conceivably add and still be under the salary cap.
Jacksonville Jaguars Wide Receiver Allen Robinson
In this scenario, the Packers have decided to move on from both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in a cost-cutting move and getting younger and better at the position. The team could save over 20 million in cap space by cutting these two. Robinson would set the Packers up as the Nelson replacement for the future as a downfield threat, a player that could move the chains between the 20s and be a strong threat in the red zone. Robinson was a Pro Bowler in 2015 with Blake Bortles throwing him passes and would be even better with a quarterback of Aaron Rodgers skill level. While he wouldn’t possess the skill set of Randall Cobb, there are quite a few slot receivers available in both free agency and the draft that could replace his production on a cheaper deal and a younger player.
Los Angeles Rams Cornerback Trumaine Johnson
The Packers traded away Damarious Randall to the Cleveland Browns and left their cornerback depth chart very barren. Heading into the new league year it features a lot of inexperience and a lot of players that are very rough and need a mentor to develop them. Johnson has been linked to the Packers all offseason long because of their severe lack of talent at the position. Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine needs players that line up outside and can effectively handle top wide receivers, which is something the team has lacked after the loss of several strong producers in the past few seasons. Johnson will not come cheap, but, after they have opened up a lot of cap space with their two wide receiver moves, they can easily land Johnson and Robinson to help two of their weaker positions.
Washington Redskins Tight End Niles Paul
Paul was buried on a depth chart that featured Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis ahead of him, which prevented him from receiving regular playing time. While he is not the most flashy name that has been talked about to them, such as Jimmy Graham, Trey Burton and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, he does have the ability to stretch the field up the seam like them. His main enemy has been his health throughout his career, but, if he is able to stay healthy and develop a good connection with Rodgers, he could give them the weapon at the position they have been searching for many years.
The team is always close to contention with Aaron Rodgers under center, but he needs more pieces around him to help push the team over the top. While the Packers may not land all of them, landing two of these pieces would put this team in the conversation for Super Bowl contenders for years to come. If Gutekunst sticks to his word about being more active in free agency, the Packers and their fans should be in for a fun few days.
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