“The Packers are interested in Star Free Agent X.”
It was an annual Ted Thompson spring tradition. Green Bay would sniff around at a Tony Gonzalez or a Darrelle Revis, but ultimately decide to pass.
Thompson no longer sits in the captain’s chair. That job belongs to Brian Gutekunst, and if history is any example, he should be much more aggressive with trades and free agency than his mentor. So don’t be surprised if the Packers come up as a potential team interested in trading for Martavis Bryant, a 26-year-old physical marvel with big play ability and a tempestuous history that includes multiple suspension.
Bryant missed the entire 2016 season due to a suspension for substance abuse and another positive test could legitimately end his career in all practicality.
That said, players 6’5” and 201 pounds who can run 4.4 aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. He’s proven to be one of the most explosive playmakers in the league, capable of taking a slant to the house or getting behind the defense and creating big plays down the field that way.
He’s exactly the kind of player the Packers offense lacks, given where Jordy Nelson is in his career with his athleticism waining.
Gutekunst should call. He doesn’t have to make a deal. Just call. Green Bay holds a cache of picks on Day 3 and if all it takes is a 5th round pick (Randy Moss was traded for a fourth and carried much less risk with much higher upside), then that’s a deal worth exploring.
Bryant would be practically free in 2018 on the last year of his rookie deal. The Packers could determine whether or not he’s turned the corner on his career. For what it’s worth, he was benched last year after a series of disagreements about role among other things.
But for a mid-Day 2 pick when the Packers have them to spare, it’s a risk worth taking. Imagine Bryant creating opportunities deep, opening up lanes for Davante Adams and Randall Cobb to work underneath. He’s a souped-up James Jones from earlier in Aaron Rodgers’ career, only his hands are more reliable down the field.
It’s an incredibly cheap option worth exploring. There’s no cost in calling. There’s a low cost to bringing him in and paying him for the year. Even if he’s suspended again, it costs the team just $705,000 on the cap and they don’t have to hand him some long-term extension.
He’s just not the kind of guy you give long-term extensions to given his risks. But that doesn’t mean he’s not worth taking a flyer on and seeing if being in Green Bay, in this organization makes a difference for him.
A clean slate. A chance to prove himself again.
And the Packers get the injection of size and speed they desperately need. It’s a win-win that could help lead to some more of them as well.