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Wednesday Walkthroughs: What unexpected moves should the Packers make?

There have already been a few surprises in this year’s free agency period, but the Packers probably aren’t done. Here are a few more off-the-wall ideas for Brian Gutekunst.

Divisional Round - Green Bay Packers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With two weeks having passed since the start of the 2018 free agency period across the NFL, teams have gotten crazy with trades and free agency signings. The Green Bay Packers have delved into the fray on both fronts, trading defensive back Damarious Randall to the Browns for DeShone Kizer and throwing significant money at free agent tight end Jimmy Graham.

Are they done? The NFL as a whole certainly is not, as trades keep flowing through the offseason. With that in mind, APC’s writers put our heads together to come up with some unexpected or off-the-wall trades and signings that might seem crazy at face value but that would be fun and helpful for the Packers to explore.

Shawn Wagner - Trade for Josh Gordon

I’ll be the first to say I’d love a trade for Patrick Peterson if he was available for the right price. But that price figures to be a hefty one. Other players like Odell Beckham, Jr. and Earl Thomas would also require significant trade capital.

So I’m going to make what will probably be an unpopular pick and say Josh Gordon. The Packers and Browns have already utilized their networks on the Damarious Randall trade and Cleveland has been incredibly active this offseason under John Dorsey and Company. The Browns certainly could use a player like Gordon, who is still just 26 years old, in their system to go along with new pickup Jarvis Landry and recent draft picks Corey Coleman and David Njoku. There’s also a chance they look to start fresh, stamp their own brand on the troublesome franchise, and cast away players that have caused locker room turmoil.

Is there a chance that Gordon could negatively impact the Packers’ locker room? Sure. But maybe the fit, quarterback, and culture of a team like Green Bay would better suit the veteran receiver. It depends on the Browns’ asking price, but I can’t imagine it would be overwhelmingly high considering Gordon is basically on a last-straw relationship with the NFL and the substance-abuse policy. He’s also going into the last year of a contract before hitting restricted free agency. Cleveland would be selling low for sure (a possible deterrent for them) and probably seek a trade that garnered a conditional draft choice based on performance in return.

Gordon would require a lesser price than OBJ and still provide Green Bay with a six-foot-three option that can work the middle and stretch the field. Combine him with Jimmy Graham, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams and the reward could outweigh the risk. Plus, he’d be controllable for up to two seasons.

Jon Meerdink - Trade for Patrick Peterson

If we’re going to get weird, the Packers should get a decisively top not player for their troubles. Peterson is that player.

The apple of Packers Twitter’s eye since Deion Sanders floated the idea of a trade last fall, Peterson would be the finest cover man in Green Bay since the 2009 version of Charles Woodson. Still just 27, Peterson has three years left on his deal. Sure, it’d be expensive to keep him after the trade, but no weird deal is perfect.

It hasn’t been all that long since we last saw a cornerback with Peterson’s pedigree traded. In 2013, the New York Jets shipped Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for the 13th overall pick in that year’s draft and a conditional pick the next year. The Packers, in possession of the 14th overall pick and in need of secondary help, could put together a very comparable package from Peterson.

Sure, it’s unlikely, but nothing is impossible, and the blueprint is there for the Packers to follow.

Mike Vieth - Sign Brian Cushing

An out of the box or weird move I’d like to see the Packers make would give them an older player that might be able to create an impact while he nears the end of his career. This move would be adding middle linebacker Brian Cushing. While I really like Blake Martinez and find Jake Ryan to be a good player in the middle, Cushing could bring something that the Packers seem to be missing on the defensive side of the ball, someone who has an attitude and plays with a nasty edge.

I first really got a good look at Cushing after seeing him on the HBO series Hard Knocks a couple years ago. He reminded me of the old school type linebacker who has one of those crazy and mean mentalities while he’s at practice and on game days. He is never one to shy away from trash talk or defending his teammates and that’s a great quality to have.

The most important aspect of it all is the effort he gave day in and day out. It didn’t matter if it was practice or a game; he always played at 100 mph and was making plays all over the field. I even remember having a meeting with some of the high school kids I coach and showed clips from the show featuring Cushing. I emphasized the approach and attitude he brought to the game and I told them that this is how they need to play when they were on the field, not only on Friday nights but also during practice Monday through Thursday.

I realize the chances of this happening are slim to none, especially since Cushing has a long history of injuries and PED questions, but it would be fun to see his him in Mike Pettine’s new defense. It would also be fun to see him play along college teammates Clay Matthews and another USC product in Nick Perry. It might also give them a new attitude to follow and bring a bit of an edge to the new defense.

Matub - Trade for Martavis Bryant

The Packers are sorely lacking in a true deep threat for the coming season. There are a few players on the roster with the blistering speed necessary but they either haven’t put it together or are too inexperienced to be relied upon heavily.

A trade for the oft-maligned Martavis Bryant could prove to be mutually beneficial for the Packers and the Steelers. With Bryant on the last year of his rookie contract, he will become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season. The Steelers are unlikely to retain him due to his suspensions and being the 3rd receiver on their depth chart. The Packers need a true #2 behind Davante and it would seem Cobb’s days are numbered with little depth behind him.

Speculation on Bryant’s trade value are anywhere from a 2nd round pick all the way down to a 5th rounder. Let’s assume it’s somewhere in the middle. If he can be had for a 4th rounder in 2018 and a 6th in 2019, the potential return on investment is definitely there. In terms of previous drafts, it could cost the Packers a Carl Bradford and a Christian Ringo to help sure up their receiving corps.

Evan “Tex” Western — Sign Tre Boston

The safety market this season is bizarre, and Boston is an oddity even within that strange market. After three years in Carolina, Boston landed with the Chargers last season and had a breakout year at the free safety position. While Jahleel Addae was more of the box safety, Boston manned the deep middle and was one of the best coverage safeties in the NFL; according to Pro Football Focus, he was targeted just 12 times on 581 snaps and intercepted a whopping five of those passes while allowing just three receptions.

While not exceptional in run defense, he did prove to be a solid tackler and finished 16th among all safeties last season in PFF’s tackling efficiency stat.

Safeties are cheap this season (for some reason), so Boston probably would not command a deal higher in price than Morgan Burnett’s three-year, $14.5 million contract in Pittsburgh. Furthermore, Boston will be just 26 this season and he has proven to be a very good deep safety.

Of course, the Packers have Ha Ha Clinton-Dix as their free safety at present, which is why this kind of signing would seem to be strange on its face. However, Ha Ha struggled mightily in 2017 when asked to play more of a traditional deep safety role. Contrast that with 2016, when he played closer to the line of scrimmage on a much more regular basis; that year he went to the Pro Bowl (and thoroughly deserved it).

Boston’s presence would have a cascade effect on the secondary: Clinton-Dix could move into more of a strong safety role where he could play closer to the line of scrimmage, which could improve his productivity, while Josh Jones could essentially become a full-time Will linebacker — the position where he had his best successes in 2017. Furthermore, this deal would give the Packers additional insurance at the safety position if Clinton-Dix continues to struggle and the team decides to move on from him after he plays out his option year.