On Monday, the Green Bay Packers acquired a return specialist, landing Tremon Smith on waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs. Now it would appear that he has a job.
That is because the Packers have reportedly traded their old return man, Trevor Davis, to the Oakland Raiders. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport dropped the bomb on Wednesday afternoon, jolting a little bit of life into a somewhat slow news day.
This is a surprise, given the Packers’ consistent praise of Davis throughout the summer. His skill set would seem to fit Matt LaFleur’s offense particularly well, with his speed and agility making him an intriguing fit in the scheme. Indeed, his first preseason action — in the third exhibition game, following a two-week injury absence — allowed him to showcase his abilities in a way he never had under Mike McCarthy. Against the Raiders in Winnipeg, Davis racked up 78 yards and a touchdown through the air along with an 18-yard run on a jet sweep and a 17-yard punt return.
Perhaps it was that performance against Oakland that caught the eyes of Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock. With Davis earning scant snaps once the regular season rolled around — 19 in week one and four in week two — any level of compensation might have been welcome for Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst.
Stay tuned for updates on what that compensation will be, but odds are that it is probably a day-three draft pick in 2020, and possibly a conditional pick at that.
In the meantime, Tremon Smith and undrafted rookie Darrius Shepherd will be the primary options to take over return duties, likely with Smith taking kickoffs and Shepherd handling punts. Shepherd was inactive in weeks one and two but appears on track to return from a hamstring injury soon, perhaps as soon as this Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
UPDATE: Oakland Tribune beat writer Jerry McDonald reports that the Raiders are sending a sixth-round draft choice to Green Bay as compensation for Davis. The Packers originally selected Davis in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.