Is 2021 the Year the Packers Make a Splash at Trade Deadline?

Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst talks on the phone during practice on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 in Ashwaubenon, Wis.Gpg Packerspractice 091218 Abw158
Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst talks on the phone during practice on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 in Ashwaubenon, Wis.Gpg Packerspractice 091218 Abw158 /

It seems like just about every year, or at least since Brian Gutekunst has taken over as GM, that the Green Bay Packers are always a team who are “in on” a player or two at the trade deadline.

However, to the chagrin of many fans, they don’t end up making any of those splash moves that they are linked to.

But could this year be different for the Green Bay Packers?

The 2021 NFL trade deadline is coming up rather quickly as it is now just weeks away–the official date is November 2nd at 4:00 EST. While odds still may be in favor of Green Bay being quiet at the trade deadline, one would have to think that if they’re going to make a move, this is the year that it’s going to happen.

Although the Green Bay Packers’ definition of “all-in” may not match how some would define it, they are absolutely all-in on this 2021 season as it is oozing with Last Dance vibes.

With the future of Aaron Rodgers beyond the 2021 season unknown, along with a number of other difficult financial and personnel decisions to make next offseason, Gutey and Co. have pushed their chips to the center of the table in hopes of finally bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Already facing a tight cap situation in 2021, it took some financial gymnastics from Director of Football Operations Russ Ball to keep this team together for one more season while still making sure that they were under the salary cap, which fell to $182.5 million due to the impact of no fans in the stands in 2020.

According to Ken Ingalls, Packers’ salary cap guru, through contract restructures and the addition of voided years to numerous deals, Green Bay pushed $50.9 million worth of cap charges from 2021 into future years. And $29.2 million of that total went specifically to 2022.

So yeah, if you thought things were difficult this offseason, just wait until next spring.

In addition to the uncharacteristic financial moves that have been made, there have also been some personnel decisions that we likely wouldn’t have seen in years past.

The big one is that Green Bay chose to trade for Randall Cobb, but they’ve also already signed higher profile players such as Jaylon Smith, Quinton Dunbar, and Rasul Douglas.

Although Gutekunst has certainly been more willing to add to this roster than what his predecessor Ted Thompson was, even this feels a bit more aggressive than usual.

There’s plenty of evidence out there to suggest that the Green Bay Packers are all-in on 2021 — we just covered the big ones — and as a result, they are operating differently than what they normally would.

This is why I believe that they very well could make another addition before the trade deadline–how they’ve historically gone about their business hasn’t really applied to 2021.

Now with that said, despite all of the financial moves and pushing of cap charges to future years, they still have to be salary cap conscious in whatever they do. According to Over the Cap, the Green Bay Packers have $5.92 million in available cap space. Enough to make a move, but also not enough to get whoever they want either.

In terms of positions that Green Bay could look to address, edge rusher, cornerback, and interior defensive lineman all come to mind first, but it’s also never a bad idea to add a weapon on offense either.

Ultimately we will have to see how this plays out, and of course, there is still the very real possibility that the Packers don’t make a move either. Gutey isn’t going to make a trade just for the sake of making a trade–it has to be what he feels is the right move.

But as I said at the beginning of all of this, if there’s a year where they finally make something happen, it feels like this is it. And the last six months should be all the proof that you need.