The Green Bay Packers aren’t going to have the ability to spend a lot in free agency, but with what little room they have, adding a veteran wide receiver to the mix should be a priority.
Perhaps this includes re-signing Allen Lazard, who is set to hit free agency. But as I wrote about recently, much like Marquez Valdes-Scantling in 2022, I think Lazard ends up outside of their price range. At the moment, Spotrac is projecting that he will make $11 million per year on his next contract. Or maybe bringing back Randall Cobb is an option, although if Aaron Rodgers ends up retiring or playing elsewhere, that seems unlikely.
As the Packers explore their options in free agency, it’s not as if they have to find a game-changer at the position. For one, they can’t afford that type of player, and two, they have Christian Watson. However, what this veteran can add is some stability, even if he ends up being the third option behind Watson and Romeo Doubs.
While Watson and Doubs flashed a ton of potential, they are still only entering their second seasons. Overall, the Packers have a very young receiver room, with Watson, Doubs, Samori Toure, and Bo Melton all drafted in 2022, while Jeff Cotton was a 2020 UDFA with minimal experience.
Oftentimes with successful NFL players, we see a jump in Year 2, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be ups and downs. As rookies, both Watson and Doubs experienced dropped passes, ran the wrong routes, and struggled to get off press coverage.
Now, of course, it isn’t guaranteed that a veteran addition isn’t going to have these issues either — as we saw with Sammy Watkins — and hopefully, these occurrences become far less prevalent for Watson and Doubs. Obviously, adding more playmaking to the position is always a good thing, but realistically with this signing, added reliability is the objective—not to mention the value of having that experience in the locker room, in team meetings, and on the practice field.
As far as free agent options go, this isn’t a very robust free-agent class at receiver. A few notable names include Sterling Shepard, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Julio Jones, and DJ Chark. But again, the Packers don’t have much to spend either.
The addition of a veteran wideout also shouldn’t alter how the Packers address the receiver position in the NFL Draft. At this time, I’m not willing to guess that Green Bay will spend their 15th overall pick on a receiver, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see another early-round draft pick spent on it.
Although there are some unknowns at the quarterback position currently for the Packers, whether it’s Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love under center in 2023, adding a veteran presence to the wide receiver room should be high up on Brian Gutekunst’s to-do list.