The Green Bay Packers will be short handed at receiver this Sunday in Dallas. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Davante Adams’ turf toe will keep him sidelined for at least this week, and given when we know about the notoriously painful injury, he could be either out or much less effective than normal for far longer.
But whether Adams is out one game or many, it seems clear that the Packers are a bit under-equipped at wide receiver. Marquez Valdez-Scantling has made strides in his second year, but he likely can’t carry the load with Adams out. The same is true for Geronimo Allison, whose season has been relatively underwhelming to date. Behind those two, only the unproven trio of Jake Kumerow, Darrius Shepherd, and Allen Lazard remain.
The Packers should be in the market for receiver help, and with the free agent pool pretty much picked clean, a trade could be the only option the Packers have to bolster their corps of pass catchers. While acknowledging that any trade is probably a considerable long shot, here are four options the Packers could consider.
The franchise mainstay - A.J. Green
A seven-time Pro Bowler, A.J. Green has put up big numbers in his Cincinnati Bengals career. Other than an injury-shortened 2016, Green has posted 1,000-yard seasons every year he’s been in the league and was poised to put up big numbers again this year if not for a preseason ankle injury.
With Green on the sideline, the Bengals have stumbled out of the gate, posting an 0-4 record under new head coach Zac Taylor. With limited options for a rally this season, the Bengals may be willing to move Green. Acquiring him would be expensive in more ways than one: despite being on the wrong side of 30, Green likely has productive years ahead of him and would command a correspondingly high price. What’s more, Green is in the last year of an expensive contract extension, meaning he’d count a significant number against this year’s cap in addition to needing a contract extension almost immediately. There’s also the matter of Green’s ankle injury: he’s still recovering, and close though he may be to a return, it’s still a question of exactly when he’ll be ready. As exciting as it might be to pair Aaron Rodgers with the most decorated receiver of his career, it seems like an incredible long shot for those reasons.
The enemy asset - Stefon Diggs
Through no fault of his own, Diggs is mired in a frustrating season. Both he and fellow Minnesota star Adam Thielen are dying on the vine thanks to Kirk Cousins and his consistent inability to do basic quarterback things such as not giving the ball to the opposing team.
Despite their quarterback’s proclivity to do so, the Vikings as a franchise are unlikely to be overly willing to give something important to an opponent, particularly one in their own division. But as an academic exercise, Diggs is interesting. He’s not yet 26, his contract is heavy but not outsized, and he’s been productive even with underwhelming talent throwing him the ball. Given those factors, he’d probably be even more costly to acquire than Green, and again, the Vikings are probably about as likely to change their colors to green and gold as to ship Diggs to Green Bay. But if the Packers are looking for a receiver upgrade, Diggs would be an instant improvement.
The wily veteran - Emmanuel Sanders
Sanders enjoyed his best years as a pro with the desiccated remains of Peyton Manning throwing him the football. Those days are long past, but even approaching age 33, Sanders is still productive. Less than a year removed from an Achilles tendon injury, Sanders is still finding ways to get open.
Emmanuel Sanders comes up with a great catch and run to get the #Broncos into the red zone. pic.twitter.com/fCkCj714LK— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) September 29, 2019
Like the Bengals, the Broncos are also 0-4 under a first-time head coach. And like Green, Sanders is due for a new contract after the season. But his route running and experience might make him a worthwhile addition to the Packers’ receiving corps, should the Broncos be willing to part with him for a low-end draft pick.
The under-the-radar contributor - Robby Anderson
After a breakout 2017 season, Anderson posted a still-solid stat line in an injury-shortened 2018 campaign. But under new head coach Adam Gase, he’s all but disappeared, posting just 10 catches and no touchdowns so far this season. Even more concerning, he’s averaged just 11.5 yards on those 10 catches, by far the lowest per catch rate of his career. Unable to utilize his 4.3-range speed and spiraling in the early going this year, the Jets might be willing to part with the lanky Anderson.
Like others on this list, Anderson is in a contract year. But unlike Green and Sanders, Anderson is cheap, counting just slightly more than $3 million against the cap this year. Anderson could be considered a more proven version of Trevor Davis, and with a receiving group in need of a speed upgrade outside of Marquez Valdes-Scantling, the Packers might consider Anderson a worthwhile midseason addition.