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Ah Jeez, The Packers Really Wanted To Add A Receiver But Just Couldn’t Swing It

Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws a pass during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on October 30, 2022 in Orchard Park, New York.
Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

Tuesday's NFL trade deadline was lively, with a record 10 deals closed on the final day. The Bears made trades, the Dolphins made trades, and even the Jaguars did a little trading of their own; Calvin Ridley plays for Jacksonville now, or might someday. One team that didn't get in on all this action was the Green Bay Packers. It would've been prudent of them to make a trade to improve their offense. And they were so close, too!

The Packers, currently 3-5 and carrying a four-game losing streak, were in need of someone who can catch. Watch one of their games and it feels like the broadcasters mention Davante Adams as much as any of Green Bay's actual receivers. Although it'd be an exaggeration to say that Adams, traded to the Raiders this past March, was holding the offense together, the team is no longer scoring like it did in 2021. Rookie Romeo Doubs put on a show in last Sunday's loss to the Bills, but on the whole, the current group of Packers WRs are inexperienced and/or inconsistent. The team's leading receiver sits outside the top 50 in receiving yardage across the NFL (Allen Lazard with 340 yards in six games, for the record). This is a problem for Green Bay, and it visibly bothers Aaron Rodgers, though it's a good source of entertainment for anyone else.

The trade deadline was an opportunity for the Packers to fix this problem. A few WRs still on rookie contracts were available, and while none of them were guaranteed game-changers, it would've been in GM Brian Gutekunst's interests to close a deal. He did not. He made no deals, of any kind. The Packers reportedly had a chance to get Steelers WR Chase Claypool, but Pittsburgh instead traded him to the Bears. ESPN's Rob Demovsky got an explanation through a source:

The fifth-year GM zeroed in not just on the receiver market but also tight ends. In the end, however, players he coveted either did not get traded or went to other teams. One example of the latter was receiver Chase Claypool, who was their top receiver target, according to a source with direct knowledge of Tuesday's trade negotiations.

The Packers were believed to be in on Claypool late until the Bears offered a second-round pick to the Steelers. Even if the Packers’ offer was in the same round, the Steelers almost certainly believed the Bears’ pick would be higher in the round. For Gutekunst, parting with a first-round pick was a non-starter.

Argh, blocked by a division rival! Demovsky also said in a SportsCenter segment that the Packers were in on "another offensive player," until his team decided not to trade him. (This player might have been Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy.) Presumably the source—let's say his name was Ryan Kutegunst—wanted this information public to soothe anxious Packers fans and prevent his quarterback from vanishing into the desert midseason.

But Rodgers did not sulk about Gutekunst's impersonation of Danny Ainge. On Wednesday, the QB put his confidence behind the front office, perhaps because in March that same front office gave him a contract extension with a $40.8 million signing bonus:

"We didn't subtract, either," Rodgers added. "I think that’s a really important point to make." Sure. The Packers were neither buyers nor sellers. They did nothing and remain a sub-.500 team with a dire salary cap situation and a quarterback who wants to win arguments with his teammates by the use of logic. They are so deeply lucky that their next game is against the Lions.

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