The New Orleans Saints gave up on their Adrian Peterson experience this week, shipping him to the Arizona Cardinals for an undisclosed, conditional draft pick.
That got us thinking about trades, and while the Green Bay Packers almost certainly won’t be making any big moves on that front any time soon, that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it.
Here are three trades Acme Packing Company writers would make if they were in charge of the Green Bay Packers.
Paul Noonan - Raiders’ Free Safety Reggie Nelson
We criticize the Packer secondary regularly, but Ha Ha Clinton-Dix escapes that criticism far too often. He’s been a big liability for almost a season at this point, and you can find an embarrassing piece of tape on him weekly.
The Raiders may be falling out of the playoff race in short order, and while Reggie Nelson is up there at 34, his contract is completely moveable. Nelson is still a good, if not a great player, and he can still freelance, and more importantly, hit with the best of them. I’m not sure what it would take to get him in terms of draft pick compensation, but for a 34-year-old safety in a potentially lost season it couldn’t be too bad. Would I give up a 4th for Nelson? Absolutely.
Nelson led the league in picks in 2015 and had a respectable five last season. He’s still often among the team leaders in tackles and he’s a capable blitzer, making him a solid fit for the existing scheme. Ted won’t make any trades, of course, but this would be a good get.
Shawn Wagner - 49ers’ Edge Rusher Elvis Dumervil
I think the secondary is certainly a position of need for Green Bay and a player like Joe Haden would have been a possibility if he was still in Cleveland this year. However, I really want to see how young players like Hawkins, King, and Jones develop with the increased playing time before addressing that area. When I look at the Packers’ defense, I see far too little of a pass rush from their edge players. It was apparent Sunday as Dak Prescott had as long as he wanted to throw most times he dropped back and a way to help a young and inconsistent secondary is by boosting the pass rush.
With Clay Matthews a shade of his former All-Pro self, Nick Perry playing with a club on one hand, and Kyler Fackrell mostly ineffective, the Packers are in need of productive depth on passing downs. Ahmad Brooks and Quinton Dial have been solid pickups this season after being cast away by the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay could steal another front seven player from the 0-5 49ers with Elvis Dumervil.
Dumervil may no longer be the Pro Bowl player he was in the past, but he’s still notched 3.5 sacks this season and has never dipped below six sacks in a season when fully healthy. Green Bay was rumored to be interested in Dumervil during the offseason, but the pass rusher instead signed a two-year deal with San Francisco. With the 49ers almost definitely out of the playoff hunt and young players like Solomon Thomas, Eli Harold, and Aaron Lynch (whose character concerns stopped me from listing his name as an option) vying for playing time in the 49ers’ new 4-3 base defense, San Francisco could free up space while picking up a 6th or 7th round pick for Dumervil.
On the other side of the trade, Green Bay gets an established pass rusher who has had experience in a 3-4 scheme as a linebacker, is relatively affordable over the next year and a half, brings veteran leadership and may offer enough support to get the defense closer to playoff-caliber this season. There is little risk with this deal.
Tex Western - Chargers offensive tackle Michael Schofield
The Packers have been able to get by with a skeleton crew at offensive tackle so far this year, starting a different combination of tackles in every one of their five games so far in 2017. With backups Kyle Murphy, Jason Spriggs, and Don Barclay on injured reserve and David Bakhtiari still out, the Packers could use a veteran tackle with positional versatility. Enter Schofield, one of the few offensive tackles with significant starting experience who currently occupies a backup role on his current team.
Schofield primarily has played guard and right tackle, but he started at right tackle for the Broncos in 2015 when they won Super Bowl 50. He could provide some valuable insurance in case David Bakhtiari continues to miss time, and would be able to back up the guard positions as well. Furthermore, Schofield has a modest contract (about $1.2 million in 2017), and he’s a free agent in 2018 so the Packers wouldn’t be on the hook for anything long-term. A conditional sixth- or seventh-round pick seems a reasonable price to me to add a little peace of mind at tackle.