The first 10 or so waves of free agency have come and gone in the 2022 NFL offseason, meaning there isn’t much meat left on the bone, but the one position that is still holding strong with some veteran names at this point is wide receiver. For whatever reason, aged stars like Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are still searching for new deals well into May.
On The Pat McAfee Show, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport stated that a player like a Landry likely could have signed a contract worth around $10 million at one point this offseason, but that the money has since dried up and teams have gone in other directions. Rapoport explained that because of this, these wideouts will likely have to prioritize ring-chasing over money-making for their next deals, opening up opportunities for a team like the Green Bay Packers to step in.
I think the Packers are going to be involved in this market. And this is actually a great market for them because let’s say you’re Jarvis Landry...or maybe even better for the Packers let’s say you’re Julio Jones and you’re not going to get $15 million, you’re probably not going to get $10 million, the Packers would be one of the teams you want to join where maybe you make $3 million with some incentives but you know you got a chance to make a Super Bowl. That actually is attractive, so we got Odell, who obviously had interest from the Packers last time, you have Julio, who I would imagine would get some interest from there, Landry, who I don’t know has gotten interest from the Packers, but all those guys would make sense for Green Bay who, I would say, might add another receiver at some point.
Julio Jones for $3 million? I’m sure many Green Bay fans didn’t think that was going to be an option a few months ago.
According to Spotrac, the Packers have $10.6 million in cap space available right now as the top-51 contracts on their books are the only deals counting against their salary cap at this point in the offseason. Their salary cap will not only shrink when the team has to account for their 53-man roster during the regular season but also when the team has to place players on the injured reserve list throughout the year. The team has essentially maxed out their ability to make salary cap tricks this year, aside from two deals that still carry a base salary of over $4 million: cornerback Jaire Alexander and defensive end Dean Lowry.
In all likelihood, the team will need to come to terms with Alexander, either on an extension or a trade, to lower his cap hit from the $13.3 million base salary he is set to make on his fifth-year option this year. That would free up enough cap space for the team to make low-level additions in-season to bring in players as injury replacements while also being able to make a move like signing a wideout, if they really are willing to sign a deal like the proposed $3 million with incentives contract that Rapoport proposed.
Should the Packers add another receiver, the position would be an absolute logjam. Aside from the returning veterans in Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, the team added Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Samori Toure and undrafted free agent Danny Davis this offseason. The team also retained Amari Rodgers, special-teamer Malik Taylor, practice-squadders Juwann Winfree and Chris Blair and futures contract player Rico Gafford. Green Bay’s roster already sports 12 receivers, meaning there will be some very tough cuts in August as the Packers typically only roster about six receivers on their 53-man roster.
Would the Packers be willing to give up on the Rodgers experiment just one year into his four-year third-round contract? Would Green Bay release draft pick Toure before he can play a regular-season game for the team? Would general manager Brian Gutekunst part ways with Watkins after giving him a $350,000 signing bonus this offseason? Those are the type of conversations that would need to be had if the Packers can land someone like a Julio Jones this summer.