With one week until the NFL trade deadline the Green Bay Packers find themselves with a few roster holes to fill and some extra draft pick ammunition to use in trades. Here are a few options General Manager Brian Gutekunst could consider:
CB Patrick Peterson – Arizona
Peterson is still an elite cornerback, but could be moved with Arizona facing a steep rebuild. He’s signed to a very reasonable contract through 2020 and is only 28 years old. Plus, once he starts to slow down he’s the kind of player who could have a similar career arc to Charles Woodson and convert to Safety. Would the Packers be willing to part with a first rounder plus for Peterson? Maybe. Would they be able to fit his salary under the cap? It would be tough for 2018, but much more affordable going forward. It is fun to dream how elite the secondary could be by moving Tramon to safety full-time and line Peterson up with Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson, Kevin King, and Bashaud Breeland.
RB Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh
This is probably the craziest of my crazy trade ideas. How about acquiring Bell for Aaron Jones and a 3rd round pick? Why would the Steelers do it? They don’t want to bring back an angry player halfway through the season who is likely a high injury risk who is planning to leave at the end of the season. Right now they are relying on James Connor and Aaron Jones would be an excellent compliment. I’d have to think that no team is going to be willing to part with higher than a 2nd rounder. The Packers would be giving the Steelers an excellent young runner and a draft pick to acquire a difference maker that they’ve never had at running back. Bell could be the bell-cow (pun intended), an incredible weapon out of the backfield, and even line up at slot receiver on passing downs. And even if Bell can’t be resigned, the Packers would get a 3rd round comp pick in 2020 to make up for the lost pick in 2019. It’s highly unlikely to happen without a long-term deal, and Green Bay is probably not going to invest in an expensive RB, but it’s one solution that improves every element of the offense. If the Packers aren’t going to use Jones the way we want, maybe they can get someone McCarthy will be forced to use.
S Karl Joseph – Oakland
Joseph is a versatile player who has struggled since being a first round pick. Rumors are that Joseph could be had for a late round pick, and he has to be able to play better than Kentrell Brice. He provides the ability to play in the box and shore up a suddenly shaky-looking run defense, and can play over the top a little bit. Safeties tend to take a little longer to develop, and Joseph is certainly the type of risk the Packers can afford to take.
EDGE Jerry Hughes – Buffalo
Hughes has been incredibly productive for the struggling Bills. They are obviously not a serious contender, so recouping a mid-round pick for Hughes to help accelerate their rebuild would be a major plus. The Packers pass rush has been really bad, and Hughes would provide an immediate upgrade over Nick Perry and Clay Matthews.
EDGE Chandler Jones, LB Deone Bucannon, LB Hassan Reddick – Arizona
The Cardinals have a lot of talented players, but are in the early stages of a wasted year. Chandler Jones is still a very effective pass rusher, but would probably cost more in draft compensation than Hughes. Deone Bucannon and Hassan Reddick are both first round picks who have tremendous athletic traits but have fallen out of favor due to scheme changes and ineffectiveness. Reddick is especially intriguing because of his scheme versatility, and Bucannon would replace the Morgan Burnett role in sub situations.
As trades become more prevalent in the NFL, Green Bay needs to be monitoring the trade market to find ways to improve this team. Certainly, the biggest changes are going to need to be internal, but a sudden boost of talent could go a long way in the pursuit of another Lombardi Trophy.Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a host of the Pack-A-Day podcast and a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig