Green Bay Packers Sign WR Corey Davis in ESPN Free Agency Prediction

Nov 29, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis (84) runs with the ball after a catch against the Indianapolis Colts in the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 29, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis (84) runs with the ball after a catch against the Indianapolis Colts in the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s the offseason — unfortunately — at that means plenty of speculation in regards to the NFL Draft and upcoming free agency. When it comes to the Green Bay Packers, much of the focus is still on finding Aaron Rodgers another weapon–especially after all the fuss being made around his post-game press conference after the NFC Championship Game.

So as sights turn to free agency and bolstering the receiver position in Green Bay, Bill Barnwell of ESPN recently went through 43 of the top free-agent wide receivers that will be available this spring and predicted where they will end up. And for the Packers, Barnwell has them landing the Tennessee Titans No. 2 receiver in 2020, Corey Davis.

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Here is a snippet of what Barnwell had to say about the signing. You can find the rest of Bill’s article here.

"“The Titans probably would like to retain Davis, but if his price tag creeps up past $12 million per season, they will need to move on. I keep coming back to Green Bay, where Aaron Rodgers seems to be trying to induce the Packers into adding that last piece of the puzzle on offense. Davis worked with Matt LaFleur when the Green Bay coach was Tennessee’s offensive coordinator in 2018, so he’s comfortable in that system.”"

As Barnwell also points out in his article, 2020 was really a boom or bust year for the former fifth overall pick. Davis had five games with at least 100 receiving yards, including a monster 182-yard performance against Cleveland. But he also had three games with no receptions and another four where he didn’t reach the 40-yard mark.

Yet overall, it was a very productive year for Davis. He finished with a catch rate of almost 71 percent on 92 targets while totaling 984 yards at 15.1 yards per catch and five touchdowns. Not to mention that Ryan Tannehill’s passer rating when targeting Davis was an impressive 123.6.

This was the best season statistically of Davis’ career, but his 2018 season was pretty productive as well. That year he posted 891 receiving yards on 13.7 yards per catch with four touchdowns. And, of course, Davis’ play-caller that year just so happened to be Matt LaFleur.

Because of that connection, there is certainly a familiarity with the LaFleur offense that Davis will have, which would make the transition much smoother. Davis primarily lines up out wide but has taken roughly a quarter of his snaps from the slot–this ability to move around is a must in the LaFleur system.

I have to say, this is a potential signing for the Green Bay Packers that really intrigues me. However, when discussing any free-agent addition, we have to look at the cost and impact on the salary cap.

In his article, Barnwell also predicts the type of deal that the player will land as well. In Davis’ case, he has the Green Bay Packers signing him to a four-year deal worth $52 million, or an average annual value of $13 million. For comparison’s sake, Spotrac is also predicting that Davis lands a four-year deal, but at just under $40 million for an average annual value of $9.8 million.

That smaller contract would be much easier for the Green Bay Packers to take on, but in an offseason where the salary cap is going to be reduced, and the Packers have 10 draft picks in another deep wide receiver class, I just don’t see them spending $13 million per year on Davis.

Due to the impact of the coronavirus and the inability to have fans in the stands, or at least not that many, the salary cap for 2021 could fall as low as $175 million from the $198.2 million mark it was at in 2020. Now, $175 million is the floor, but a recent report suggests that it’ll be at $180 million–which is still difficult for GMs to navigate.

At the moment, Packers’ salary cap guru Ken Ingalls, who independently tracks the team’s cap situation, has Green Bay about $42 million over the cap if it were to be just $175 million this upcoming season. Yikes.

This means that we will see the Packers — and most other teams — shedding salaries rather than spending and adding to their team. The high-end players will still get their money, but the prices for everyone else will be driven down. And who knows, maybe as a result, that does make Davis an option. But if not, I can’t envision the Green Bay Packers taking on that type of contract for a receiver in 2021.

And honestly, if the Packers are going to spend that kind of money — or maybe even a little less — just bring back Corey Linsley instead.

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From a pure football perspective, I really do like Davis’ fit here in Green Bay. He knows the LaFleur offense and can give Rodgers a new weapon on those short to intermediate routes — where he really shined — to help compliment Davante Adams. However, in an offseason where money is tight, I just don’t see it being in the cards.