Three veteran free agent WRs the Packers should consider this offseason
There’s a decent chance that Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb won’t be back with the Green Bay Packers in 2023. If that is the case, the team will likely want to bring in a veteran free agent to lead a young wide receiver room.
Both Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs appear to have strong futures after promising rookie seasons, but make no mistake, they could still benefit from having a veteran presence around. Last year, Lazard and Cobb provided much-needed mentorship but are now scheduled to be free agents.
Last season, Lazard stepped into the role of WR1, and even though his numbers didn’t live up to his new title, his run-blocking and familiarity with the offense made him one of the most reliable players on the team. After a year in which he posted career-highs in targets, receptions, and yards, Lazard will hit the open market, where he could receive a big payday from a team looking to add his unique skillset. Pro Football Focus projects he could make $11 million per year on his next deal.
That sort of price tag could be too rich for the Packers, who have limited cap space.
Meanwhile, Cobb’s future is likely tied to Aaron Rodgers. It’s hard to imagine the 32-year-old receiver returning if Rodgers retires or gets traded. In 2022, Cobb finished fifth on the team in receiving yards and missed four games with an ankle injury. At this point in his career, Cobb has slowed down and a laundry list of injuries doesn’t help. Still, he does have a reliable set of hands and could be brought back on another cheap deal if Rodgers returns.
If Lazard and Cobb do end up leaving, it will create a void that Green Bay then has to fill. The likes of Watson, Doubs, and possibly another high draft pick would benefit from having a veteran voice to lean on. Luckily, there will be some options available in free agency.
Here are three veteran receivers the Packers could consider signing.
Fans will remember Jones from his days with the Detroit Lions. He had a 1,100-yard season in 2017 and finished third in franchise history with 36 receiving touchdowns. Then, after leaving Detroit in 2021, Jones had a successful first season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, finishing first on the team with 73 receptions and 832 yards to go along with a team-high four receiving touchdowns. Unfortunately, 2022 wasn’t as fruitful for Jones as the additions of Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram severely impacted his production. Even at 32, Jones proved he still has some juice left in the tank. He made some highlight plays for the Jaguars last season and could be had for relatively cheap, according to Spotrac.
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Chark seems like a Packers type: he’s tall (6-3) and runs a 4.3. A former second-round pick by Jacksonville, Chark took a giant step in only his second season when he totaled 73 receptions for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. Although since then, he has been unable to re-capture that magic, with injuries being a deterring factor. Chark finished with 706 yards in 2020 but missed three games due to injury. In 2021, he played in only four games after suffering a broken ankle. After the Jaguars didn’t resign Chark, he signed a one-year deal with the Lions. Unfortunately, injuries followed Chark in his one season in Detroit, as he appeared in 11 games and finished third on the team with 502 yards. However, when healthy, Chark can still be a big play target after averaging 16.7 yards per reception. Given his potential, he’s an intriguing option for Green Bay since his speed paired with Watson would give the offense another deep threat. Chark is also relatively young at 26 years of age and should carry an average annual salary under $10 million.
GO DJ 🦈
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Slayton’s drop against the Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs is fresh in everyone’s mind, but it doesn’t discredit what he did in his fourth NFL season. Slayton led the New York Giants with 724 receiving yards, marking the third time in his career that he finished with at least 700 yards in a season. He also averaged 15.7 yards per reception, bringing his career average up to 15.0, which ranks 10th among wide receivers. Sure, Slayton may drop some passes, but it can be offset by his big play ability. The Giants should strongly consider offering him a contract, but if they let him walk, the Packers should jump at the opportunity. Slayton likely won’t command a ton of money, and he will bring a workman’s attitude that would be great in the locker room.
WHAT A CATCH BY DARIUS SLAYTON 😱
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