It sucks losing good players. It’s even worse when the players are fan favorites or, you know, All-Pro wide receivers. Davante Adams, of course, was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders for a first and second round pick. Marquez Valdes-Scantling has signed a three-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Equanimeous St. Brown has signed with the Chicago Bears. Yes, St. Brown was not much a contributor. However, losing Adams and MVS hurt. Right now, the Packers’ wide receiver room looks like Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Juwann Winfree, Amari Rodgers, David Moore, Rico Gafford, and Chris Blaire. As bleak as it is to lose three wide receivers, it is not the first time the Packers faced such a massive turnover at the position. In fact, the team faced a similar situation after the 2001 season.
The 2001 Packers Wide Receivers
The Green Bay Packers were 12-4 in 2001 with Brett Favre as their quarterback. That season, the team’s top wide receivers (in terms of receiving yards) were Bill Schroeder, Antonio Freeman, and Corey Bradford. Schroeder led the team with 918 yards. Freeman had 818 yards. Bradford had 526 (Ahman Green was third on the team with 594 receiving yards to go with 1,387 rushing yards).
At the end of the season, Schroeder and Bradford departed Green Bay as free agents. Antonio Freeman was released after he would not take a pay cut. In short, the Packers lost three wide receivers who accounted for 92% of the yards and 89% of the touchdowns scored by their wide receivers.
How the Packers Revamped the Wide Receiver Position in 2002
Obviously, with so many holes at wide receiver, the Packers needed help from three different directions. One, they needed a receiver they currently had to step up. Two, they needed to sign a free agent wide receiver. Finally, they needed to draft a young stud at the position. They got all three.
Donald Driver, who had just 167 receiving yards in 2001, led the Packers with 1,064 yards in 2002. Green Bay went out and signed Terry Glenn, who had 817 receiving yards in his first year with the Packers. Finally, the Packers drafted Javon Walker in the first round. While Bubba Franks (a tight end) and Ahman Green (a running back) had more receiving yards, Walker had the third most receiving yards on the team among wide receivers (317).
The Packers finished 12-4 again.
Okay, yes. Bill Schroeder, Antonio Freeman, and Corey Bradford were never as good as Davante Adams. However, they all combined for large percentages of the passing/receiving offense. Adams and MVS combined for 63% for the receiving yards among Packers wide receivers in 2021, far less than the 92% Green Bay lost when the aforementioned receivers left at the end of the 2001 season. Additionally, the pair combined for 52% of the receiving touchdowns among Packers wide receivers in 2021. This is far less than the 89% accounted for by Schroeder, Freeman, and Bradford in 2001.
So yeah, it isn’t great in the wide receiver room right now. However, if history has shown us anything, it’s that the Packers are more than capable of competing with new weapons. Brett Favre is long gone, but Green Bay still has a Hall of Famer under center. Combined with a great backfield in AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones and a solid offensive line, this offense will still be among the NFL’s best in 2022.
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