When the news of the Packers blockbuster trade to the Raiders was announced, Packer nation was in disbelief. Adams was recently franchise tagged, but the Packers were still looking to sign him long term.
Obviously, that didn’t happen. Now that the dust has settled, one big realization has happened. Who will be catching the ball in 2022?
Only three receivers are under contract next season being Cobb, Lazard and Amari Rodgers. With $20 million extra cap room and two high tier picks, Green Bay has room to make a deal to acquire some talent. With how the offseason has been going, there is reason to believe teams are willing top part with high level talent.
Let’s look at three options the Packers could look at to fill the massive hole Adams left
What made Rodgers and Adams so successful was their chemistry. It almost felt like they knew exactly what each other was doing on every single play. Between the two of them, they led the league the last three seasons in yards and touchdowns between a QB and WR duo. Second on that list? Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett. And they were very similar to Rodgers and Adams.
Lockett has quick feet like Adams, but is a tad quicker and prone to catch the deep ball at a higher rate. Lockett had seven 40+ yard touchdowns last season, third in the NFL. With MVS also looking to go, this could be a hole the Packers could fill with Lockett.
The #Seahawks use “Yankee Concept” on this TD play against the #LARams. Fake the run and a deep pass to Tyler Lockett running the post route. #LAvsSEA pic.twitter.com/I9zh6UeCiL
— Joel (@JoelBishopFB) October 7, 2018
The biggest concern for Lockett is well, he’s small (5’ 10”). But Adams was never a tall receiver, only standing at 6’ 1”, and he didn’t make a living catching over defenders. In reality, Adams never had a defender near him. His route running was that good. Lockett will never be at that level. But he’s still one of the best in the game.
With $20 million free, Lockett would cost $10.2 Million in 2022, then nearly $17 million in 2023. But the Packers were already planning on giving Adams $30 Million a year. So, a contract half of that shouldn’t be a problem.
About two years ago, Packer fans were begging for a trade with the Texans for Will Fuller. It ending up falling apart at the deadline, but the teams later made a deal the next offseason for Randell Cobb. Now a new contender is up to bat.
Realistically, Brandin Cooks is the most likely receiver to be traded out of these three, and might be the best option for the Packers financially. Cooks is on an expiring contract with a $12.5 million hit in 2022. After that he becomes a free agent. This could just be a one year fill in while the Packers try to find their man of the future in 2023. But Cooks is used to that.
Between 2017 and 2020, Cooks was on the Saints, Patriots, Rams and Texans. And all but one year he has had insane production. In 6 of the last 7 seasons, Cooks has had 1000 yards and 5 touchdowns. While Adams is 4th in receiving yards since 2015, Cooks is 5th.
From 2015-2018, four wide receivers had at least 65 catches and 1,000 yards in each season: Julio Jones, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown… and Brandin Cooks. pic.twitter.com/s6vQH3dEhk
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 18, 2020
Cooks also has a track record for durability, playing in at least 14 games since 2017 in each season.
The Packers probably wouldn’t have to give up much for Cooks, and the Texans would take the dead cap most likely if a trade were to happen.
Okay stay with me.
First, in 2019 he was THE best receiver in football, breaking the receptions record. Then he got hurt the first week of 2020 and things with the Saints organization went south (remind you of anyone?)
So his asking price is at an all time low, and the Packers did just acquire picks from the Raiders for Adams. Thomas is a very different receiver than Adams, being more of a physical type with a very wide catch radius standing at 6′ 3″. But his game matches very well with how Rodgers wants to attack defenses. Hyper target one man and bully their weakest corners.
⚜️144 ⚜️@CantGuardMike's record-breaking catch #Saints pic.twitter.com/lZpKfNxmhr
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) December 22, 2019
But on the outside looking in, Thomas has an insane contract coming up. With $27 million in both 2023 and 2024. But those years are not guaranteed, and can be voided by the Saints. If Thomas were to get traded before the draft. A team could null his contract past 2022 and sign an extension.
The best part? His restructured2022 contract would only be $7 million. For the best talent on this list, that would be the cheapest.
This trade is also the most unlikely, as the Saints are in the running for Deshaun Watson, but this would be hypothetically the best replacement for Adams.
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