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Wednesday Walkthroughs: Should the Packers have traded for Will Fuller?

Acme Packing Company writers share their takes on the deadline deal that didn’t happen.

Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Packers didn’t trade for Will Fuller. But should they have?

We posed that question to our writers. Here’s what they had to say.

Rcon14: Probably

Apparently Houston wanted a 2nd round pick, but there’s really no reason for Green Bay to go that high. The best Houston can do with Fuller is get a third-round compensatory pick in 2022. They may not even get that. It may be a fourth. Free agency this off-season is going to be weird. Assuming Houston was acting even semi-rationally, which is a big assumption, this deal should have happened. This didn’t even need to be a rental, as an extension could have been arranged as a condition to the trade, so trading a 3rd round pick for a long-term solution at the offense’s biggest weak spot is a no-brainer to me. Again, we can’t assume Houston was being rational, but that the Packers did nothing to try and upgrade on MVS is baffling.

Also, how is Kenny Stills still in Houston?

Paul Noonan: Yeah

Also, yes, they should have gotten Kenny Stills.

But Fuller would have been a nice consolation prize. I understand why you don’t make a move like this as 2nd round picks are valuable, and it’s generally a bad idea to give up draft picks for the opportunity to pay fair market value for a player. Combine that with the fact that Fuller is hurt fairly frequently, I get it. I do.

Here’s the thing. When you draft, you’re picking guys who may contribute now, or later, and who may play any number of positions. If you’re picking the best player available (as you should) you may not get exactly what you need in terms of fit. If you draft for fit, you may not get the best player available. When you trade, you can fill specific holes, and fix issues where the incumbent is below replacement level.

Such is the case here, where the Packers have no deep threat, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling is well below replacement level. If you swap out MVS for Fuller you get a HUGE upgrade to your depth, to your ability to stretch the field, and to your effectiveness in 11 personnel. It would impact the efficiency of everyone else on the team, and none more so than Davante Adams, who would benefit immensely from defensive coordinators having to worry about anyone else.

He would have been expensive, and there are tight cap days ahead. I get it. But it’s unusual for such a good fit to become available.

Jon Meerdink: Yes

Bill Belichick said something this week that’s stuck with me. In analyzing his team’s struggles this season, he gave an uncharacteristic excuse: we didn’t have much cap space.

“It’s obvious that we didn’t have any money. It’s nobody’s fault,” he said. “That’s what we did the last five years. We sold out and won three Super Bowls, played in a fourth, and played in an AFC Championship game. This year, we had less to work with. It’s not an excuse, it’s just a fact.”

Now, that may or may not be the true reason for the Patriots’ struggles. Some people in Boston don’t even think so. But Belichick talking about selling out caught my attention.

Has it ever really felt like the Packers have “sold out” at any point during the Rodgers era? Have they really maximized any one season? It doesn’t seem that way to me.

I don’t know if “selling out” is a good idea, but at the very least the Patriots seemed to do the most they could to jam Tom Brady’s championship window as wide open as possible, figuring that getting Super Bowls now was worth the cap crunch later. If getting Will Fuller meant the Packers were doing that kind of selling out, then maybe they should have.

Kris Burke: Hell Yes.

Yeah they should have. Even with his injury concerns, Fuller would have been a major upgrade over MVS at this point.

While the run defense could ultimately sink this team, adding one receiver to the offense would have put them over the top and make stopping them much more difficult. I can totally understand not wanting to give up a second-round pick (I wouldn’t have either) but you’re telling me the Packers couldn’t have swung a player and maybe a third?

It’s just too bad Bill O’Brien was fired before the deadline. Brian Gutekunst would have fleeced the now-deposed head coach/GM.

Alas, the Packers are who they are now and these are the players they’re going to have to try and make a run with. Godspeed.

Mike Vieth: Would have been nice but…

Offense isn’t the Packers problem. They are averaging just over 31 points per game. That should lead to a victory every single week! Adding Will Fuller would have been good to keep that number constant throughout the grind of the season but I would have liked to see them upgrade the defense. The defense is giving up just under 27 points per game and giving Packer fans way too much anxiety. While that has led to everyone calling for Mike Pettine’s head, it’s also possible the talent just isn’t there.

Rumors were out there that the New York Jets were shopping Quinnen Williams. If that’s true, the Packers should have been all over that. He would be far more valuable than Fuller. The Packers are a sieve when it comes to stopping the run. Adding Williams to the defensive line with Kenny Clark would have been a huge upgrade. I would have given up a second plus another mid/late round pick without hesitating.

I’m sure there were other defensive players available out there too but that was the big one that I saw a miss on. We keep hearing the chatter that the Packers are wasting Aaron Rodgers by not getting him offensive weapons but we need to flip the narrative to giving Rodgers a defense too. Defense will matter more in winning a championship.