The Green Bay Packers’ offense has largely been successful to this point in the 2020 season. The team ranks second in points per game and eighth in yards per game, while featuring a good balance between the run and the pass. However, one area where the Packers have struggled is in finding a consistent second or third option in the passing game, particularly with Allen Lazard on injured reserve.
Perhaps as a direct result of those struggles, the Packers are adding a veteran receiver with some consistent if unspectacular NFL production to the organization. According to reports from Rob Demovsky of ESPN and Bill Huber of SI, the Packers will sign Seth Roberts to fill one of the open slots on the team’s practice squad.
Roberts is a slot specialist who had several solid seasons as a complementary receiver for the Oakland Raiders from 2015 to 2018. He caught at least 32 passes and totaled at least 397 yards in each of those three seasons, with his best statistical output coming in 2018, when he hauled in 45 passes for 494 yards and two touchdowns. That season also saw him post a career-high catch rate of 70.3%.
The Raiders had signed Roberts to a two-year, $12 million contract prior to that 2018 season, but unceremoniously released him in April 2019. Roberts then got a one-year, $2 million deal from the Baltimore Ravens, where he caught 21 passes for 271 yards and two scores. Notably, however, 18 of those 21 receptions went for first downs, an impressive rate despite having an average depth of target of 9.4 yards.
In 2020, Roberts signed a one-year contract with the Carolina Panthers for $3.75 million, but the Panthers released him on Monday after barely using him this season; he played just 93 snaps through seven games and was targeted just six times in the passing game, catching four balls for 31 yards. As a vested veteran, Roberts is not subject to waivers and can sign with any team immediately, and will evidently find a role with the Packers, starting on the practice squad until he can get up to speed.
Speaking of speed, that is one of Roberts’ better athletic traits. At a lean 6-foot-2 and 196 pounds, Roberts ran the 40-yard dash in a reported 4.44 seconds at West Alabama’s Pro Day in 2014 and posted a very good 3-cone time of 8.34 seconds. Below-average results in other drills dragged down his RAS value, but it still comes out with an above-average 6.84 out of 10.
As midseason veteran additions go, this is a solid low-risk signing with some substantial potential reward for a team that has received little production from the slot this season outside of Davante Adams’ and Lazard’s contributions there.