With the Packers 2021 season officially over, the most masochistic of Packers fans (myself included) have already turned their eyes to 2022. It what will be be the most pivotal off-season since, well, last year – all eyes will once again be on GM Brian Gutekunst. The quarterback position is obviously top of mind. But the ripple effect will likely come from the decision made on the Packers wide receiver room.
Rodgers’ has clearly stated that he isn’t interested in being a part of a rebuild. What he likely means by that is, if Davante is gone – I’m gone. One only has to look at his target distribution in last week’s game to get the picture. All receivers not named Davante Adams logged a whopping total of 1 catch for 6 yards. The rumors of a possible franchise tag have been floated, but Adams himself has already expressed his displeasure towards that possibility. After electing not to hold out last off-season with no deal in place, who knows if the same would be true if he once again had to take the field with no long-term security.
Regardless of what happens with Adams, the Packers will have many other decisions to make. Amari Rodgers and Juwann Winfree are the only other two Packers WR currently under contract for 2022. Allen Lazard is a restricted free agent, and it’s hard to see the Packers not being interested in bringing him back. Lazard had career highs in catches, yards, and touchdowns in 2021. He also finished very strong, with 21 catches for 290 yards and 5 TDs in the Packers final 5 games. On top of that, he is also one of the best blocking receivers in the league.
The other key holdover is Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Injuries made 2021 a frustrating season for MVS, but it also demonstrated his value. He has a skill-set that no other WR on the roster possessed. The Packers desperately missed that element in his absence. His ability to stretch the field vertically provides so much more room for a lot of the short/intermediate concepts that the Packers love to run. It’s likely that the Packers will be able to bring him back at a reasonable number, and they should.
At the slot position, it’s hard not to see a changing of the guard. A lot was made about the decision to appease Rodgers by bringing back Randall Cobb. But Rodgers or not, it’s tough to see Cobb surviving the salary cap slashing needed. The Packers would save around $6.8 mil by cutting Cobb, and they already have his replacement on the roster. Despite struggling in his rookie year, Amari Rodgers gives Green Bay a similar skillset to Cobb, and a younger and cheaper version at that.
I would also expect the Packers to continue to add pieces through the draft. They have shown they have no qualms about devoting multiple picks to positions of need. In the 2018 draft they did this at the WR position, drafting MVS, EQ, and J’Mon Moore all on Day 3. They also did this in 2017 at RB, once again taking 3 on Day 3 – with Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, and Devante Mays. It wouldn’t be shocking to see them take a similar approach this year, giving them several chances to strike gold at a position that clearly needs upgrading.——————
Jared is a rogue Packers fan from a Steelers family and an overall football junkie, including playing 4 years at Ithaca College. You can follow him on twitter at @JPrugar.