In an offseason with a plethora of viable options, the Green Bay Packers did little to address their dearth of passing game weapons.
The team signed veteran wide retriever Devin Funchess but otherwise passed on other weapons in free agency. They had opportunities to take a wide receiver in the deepest WR class in recent memory but chose to focus on other areas. AJ Dillon and Josiah Deguara will have opportunities to contribute in the passing game, but no true pass-catching specialist was taken. The Packers believe they have good options on the roster capable of taking the next leap. Hopefully, they’re correct.
Yet there is a new opportunity for Green Bay, one they should definitely look into. Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku has asked for a trade, according to his agent. The Browns signed free agent tight end Austin Hooper, a player the Packers actively looked into, this offseason, but the team claims they want Njoku around. Nonetheless, Njoku is looking for a new team.
Njoku hasn’t quite lived up to his draft value, but he possesses tremendous talent and some of his lack of production isn’t his fault. He suffered a broken wrist and sat on IR for most of 2019 and seemed to be disregarded by then-head coach Freddie Kitchens, who was bad. Before then, he was coached under Hue Jackson, who was an even worse coach.
A change of scenery and scheme could be what Njoku needs to thrive in the NFL, as the talent is there. And he would be a cheap addition, likely costing a fourth- or fifth-round pick.
The downside would be his potential cost in the future. Should Njoku thrive in the Frozen Tundra, he’ll cost a pretty penny once his rookie deal ends. Green Bay has major free agent decisions coming up, including Kenny Clark, David Bakhtiari, Aaron Jones, Corey Linsley, Kevin King, and Jamaal Williams. It may be hard to make a long-term investment in Njoku with so many important players already in the free agent mix.
The Packers also likely want to see Jace Sternberger in the lead role, and his development will only come from meaningful playtime. Josiah Deguara was another early-round tight end selection the team would love to see in action. That being said, too many good players is never a bad thing, and the offensive coaching staff should be innovative enough to get multiple tight ends on the field.
Ultimately, trading for David Njoku is a low-risk move that could benefit the team immensely. Should he not pan out, the team is only out an early Day 3 pick, and he’ll be a street free agent. Should he succeed, the Packers get their high-impact receiving threat to truly push for a Super Bowl. The cost is worth the risk.
The team appears to be content with his weapons, but it’s hard not to believe Gutekunst isn’t looking into a potential trade. Should he pull the trigger, the national narrative of the Packers offseason changes dramatically.Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.