Aside from receiver Allen Lazard, who leads the team with 56.7 receiving yards per game, the Green Bay Packers have struggled to get the ball to any pass-catcher consistently in 2022. With Randall Cobb, who is second on the team with 257 receiving yards on the season, now on injured reserve, it’s probably time for the Packers to start looking at the receiver market.
While there’s some debate about whether Green Bay should be a buyer or a seller, plenty of teams are looking to sell receivers with next Tuesday’s trade deadline approaching. Let’s take a look at them.
Door #1: D.J. Moore
The 2-5 Carolina Panthers have already fired their head coach Matt Rhule and traded away running back Christian McCaffrey this season, but it appears that they want to keep their young core together. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Panthers have already turned down two first-round picks for pass-rusher Brian Burns, which might make it hard for teams to come up with the compensation to land receiver D.J. Moore.
Moore is on pace for 39 receiving yards per game, a career low, but recorded three straight 1,100-yard seasons for the Panthers prior to 2022. For his career, he has started 63 games at just 25 years old. If Carolina is to trade Moore, they would assume a $19.5 million dead cap in 2022 that would give the trading team Moore on a contract that amounts to $50.7 million over three years beyond this season. Moore’s $19.97 million salary in 2023 is guaranteed and would likely have to be converted into a signing bonus if the Packers did pull the trigger. The immediate cap hit for Moore would be around $600,000, the remaining portion of his base salary for the season.
Door #2: Brandin Cooks
This wouldn’t be the first time that Brandin Cooks would be traded. The Patriots traded a first- and third-round pick for him in 2017, the Rams traded a first-round pick for him in 2018 and the Texans traded a second-round pick for him in 2020. For whatever reason, Cooks hasn’t been able to establish a long-term home in the NFL.
Despite that, Cooks has produced at a high rate, posting 8,198 receiving yards over 125 games, 113 starts and four teams since 2014. Cooks’ dead cap would be around $24.3 million with a trade, nearly doubling his cap hit in 2022 with the Texans, but the team trading for him would only assume what’s left of his $1.2 million salary. Cooks’ 2023 salary, which spikes up to $18 million, is also guaranteed but his $13 million contract year in 2024 is not. According to NFL Networks’ Ian Rapoport, Cooks “has been the target of multiple calls.” Currently, the Houston Texans are 1-4-1.
Door #3: Elijah Moore
Rapoport reported last week that New York Jets receiver Elijah Moore has requested a trade. Moore’s issues seem to stem from his lack of production in the Jets’ offense, which is struggling through the air and has 2022 first-round pick Garrett Wilson playing in the slot. Moore, ideally, is more of a slot receiver who is fast than an outside receiver who is a deep threat.
Moore is under contract through 2024, with cap hits (and salary) of $1.47 million and $1.88 million in 2023 and 2024, respectively. If the Packers want to be conscious of their cap situation, the addition of Moore might be the best of both worlds in terms of talent acquisition. As a rookie, Moore recorded 43 receptions for 538 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games and five starts. In 2022, he’s posted 16 receptions for 203 yards and no touchdowns, despite starting all six games for the Jets. Moore had one reception against the Green Bay Packers in Week 6 and was inactive in Week 7 against the Denver Broncos after he left the team.
Door #4: Chase Claypool
According to Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber, the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking at Christian McCaffrey-type compensation for receiver Chase Claypool. For reference, the San Francisco 49ers traded a second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-round pick for McCaffrey.
Green Bay isn’t in a position to give up that much for Claypool’s remaining season-and-a-half, but Claypool is a great fit for the Packers in terms of height-weight-speed. Historically, Matt LaFleur’s offenses have leaned heavily on bigger receivers and Claypool’s 6’4”, 238-pound frame, 4.42-second 40-yard dash time and 1,999 career receiving yards at just 24 years old are right up his alley.
Doors #5 & #6: Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler
At 2-5 after four straight losses, the Denver Broncos have quickly found themselves in last place in a very competitive AFC West division. Two of their key receivers, Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler, have a year and a half left on their rookie contracts, which will pay Jeudy $2.7 million and Hamler $1.6 million in 2023.
Jeudy, a former first-round pick, is on pace for a career-high 55.1 yards per game in 2022 while Hamler, a former second-round pick, remains buried on the depth chart. Jeudy has 1,709 receiving yards in his career while Hamler has posted just 568, mostly coming in his rookie season of 2020.
According to Schefter, teams have called about both receivers and pass-rusher Bradley Chubb.
Let’s hear it. Sound off in the comments if you have a preferred trade target. The NFL trade deadline is on November 1st, so if the Packers are going to make a move in 2022 they’re going to have to do it within the next week or so.