Isn’t it fun to see speculation about the Green Bay Packers signing free agents once again? Such is the life of Packers fans now that Ted Thompson is out of the general manager role with Brian Gutekunst taking over.
On NFL Network Monday afternoon, Ian Rapoport dropped a bit of speculation that may come as music to fans’ — and quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ — ears. Rapoport said that the Packers could be a player in the race to sign unrestricted free agent wide receiver Allen Robinson, formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Rapoport’s exact words were “I wouldn’t be surprised if the Packers dip their toe into these waters as well” (thanks to Chris Wesseling for the transcription). Although this is far from a confirmed report of the team actively pursuing Robinson, it is speculation that the Packers will make a run at the top wideout on the open market.
Robinson tore his ACL in week one of the 2017 season, missing the rest of the year. Without him, the Jaguars ended up winning the AFC South and making it to the AFC Championship Game. Robinson’s best season came in 2015, when he recorded 1,400 yards, averaged a whopping 17.5 yards per reception, and scored 14 touchdowns. He saw the same number of targets in 2016 as he did the year prior (151), but caught fewer of them at just a 12.1 yards per catch clip. However, the Jaguars’ passing production as a whole dropped dramatically that season, indicating that it was not necessarily a drop in Robinson’s individual performance.
All told, Robinson is one of the top wideouts on the free agent market this season, joining Sammy Watkins as the biggest names available. The fact that the Packers are mentioned as being even a possible player for one of these individuals is a sign that at least the perception of the team’s approach to free agency has changed, even if the team does not end up signing Robinson.
Of course, the Packers would likely need to free up some significant salary cap space in order to sign Robinson, who is likely to draw more than $10 million per year even despite coming off a torn knee ligament. One of the most logical ways to do so would be to cut or restructure the contract of one of the team’s veteran receivers — Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb.
Stay tuned, because there’s likely more craziness to come in the next several hours.