On the same day that free agent wide receiver Robby Anderson agreed to a two-year, $20 million contract with the Carolina Panthers, the Green Bay Packers landed a free agent wide receiver of their own.
That player is Devin Funchess, a former Panther himself. Funchess and the Packers have reportedly agreed to a contract, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Funchess was originally a second-round draft pick of the Panthers’ in 2015, going 41st overall, and he recorded 161 receptions for 2,233 yards and 21 touchdowns in his four years in Charlotte.
However, last season Funchess signed a one-year, $10 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts only to see his season end abruptly and early. He started just one game, the Colts’ opener, but broke his collarbone in that contest and missed the remainder of the season. Coming off a year lost to injury, any contract for Funchess will likely be short — probably for just one year — and with little to no guaranteed money. The Packers could also incorporate heavy incentives and per-game active roster bonuses as a way of keeping Funchess’ cap number lower.
A big body at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Funchess is neither a true deep threat nor a consistent possession receiver. He has caught just 52 percent of his career pass targets as a pro, never exceeding 60% for a single season, and has a career yards per catch average of 13.8. However, he has some significant athletic limitations, as illustrated by his 40 time of 4.70 seconds from the 2015 NFL Combine. He improved that to 4.48 seconds at Michigan’s Pro Day that year, but reportedly had a particularly slow 4.48-second shuttle run to go with it.
An outside receiver only due to those less-than-stellar change-of-direction skills, Funchess does fit the size mold of the Packers’ receiving corps, becoming the fifth wideout on the roster who stands at least 6-foot-4. The difference between him and the others, however, is in their speed: Marquez Valdes-Scantling ran the 40 in 4.37 seconds at the Combine, with Allen Lazard running 4.55 and Equanimeous St. Brown going 4.48. Jake Kumerow, the other such receiver, did not attend the Combine in his draft year (also in 2015) but reportedly ran a 4.54 at his Pro Day that year.
One factor working in Funchess’ favor is his age. As a player who entered the NFL at 21 after his true junior year, Funchess will turn 26 years old in May. If he is fully recovered from his injury, he would at least provide a fairly established veteran presence opposite Davante Adams, and he should at least be a low-risk signing. Neither is he a dynamic playmaker, however, which is arguably the quality that the Packers most strongly need on offense in 2020.
Funchess has played in two games against the Packers in his career, both Panthers wins. He caught three of four targets for 71 yards and a score in a 37-29 Panthers win back in 2015, then was held to just one reception on four targets for 19 yards in a 31-24 victory in 2017.
Stay tuned for contract details and more news about the impending signing.