PFF News Mailbag: Packers' remaining options at wide receiver, Odell Beckham's potential landing spots and more

  • Packers eschewed wide receiver deal: How Green Bay could still be hoping to land a veteran wide receiver after the trade deadline.
  • Odell Beckham Jr.’s suitors: The Ravens currently have the biggest need after Rashod Bateman’s season-ending surgery.
  • Bradley Chubb trade: The Dolphins appear all-in for the 2022 season after trading a first-round pick.
Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

The NFL trade deadline is over, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see any other wild moves throughout the rest of the 2022 season.

The Green Bay Packers still need wide receiver help, Odell Beckham Jr. is a free agent, and Brandin Cooks seems unhappy with the Houston Texans.

Read on for more in this week’s mailbag.

@ohcomeonnnn: Why do the packers continue to do nothing to get better while the rest of the division made moves? It’s infuriating.

It was a little perplexing to see the Packers stay inactive during the NFL trade deadline this week since it’s in their best interest to go all-in while QB Aaron Rodgers is still under contract and playing.

Reports that Green Bay was going after Chase Claypool and offering a second-round pick make sense. I had heard before the trade deadline the Packers ideally were looking for a bigger wide receiver. Perhaps that — or his age, contract situation and the Texans’ asking price — are why Green Bay didn’t more heavily pursue Cooks.

It’s understandable why the Pittsburgh Steelers would take the Bears’ second-round pick over the Packers’ when dealing Claypool. The Packers probably will be picking later than the Bears next season. But the Packers did have other options at that point. They could have offered a second- and a fourth-round pick for Claypool. Or they could have offered a second-round pick and a player for Claypool. Sending a first-round pick would have been too much, and some have even criticized the Bears for trading an early second for Claypool. But I don’t think the Packers, given their wide receiver situation and short-term outlook, would have been knocked for offering a package similar to the Bears to Pittsburgh for Claypool.

T.J. Hockenson would have been a useful add for them, as well, and the Detroit Lions were willing to trade him in-division to the Minnesota Vikings.

My best guess as to why the Packers weren’t more aggressive in pursuing wide receiver help at the trade deadline is that they must feel confident that they can still upgrade the position by signing Beckham or waiting for a team to waive a veteran wide receiver. ProFootballTalk speculated that Cooks could negotiate a release from the Texans. Cooks, who was inactive Thursday night in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, certainly doesn’t seem happy with Houston right now, though Texans head coach Lovie Smith said the veteran wide receiver would be back in the building Friday. There are other high-priced wide receivers around the NFL to monitor, as well. The issue with Beckham is that he might not be healthy until it’s too late for Green Bay to make a playoff push.

Beckham is still an interesting option for the Packers, Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants. The Ravens, after losing Bateman for the season, probably need him the most.

For Green Bay, there’s also the question of whether or not Rodgers will still be playing for the Packers next season. As of last month, Rodgers was talking like he hadn’t yet made a decision about his future. That, obviously, would factor into whether or not the Packers would rather give up future picks for a wide receiver or sit back and wait to see if they can get one without giving up draft capital.

@PatoVargas114: why are the cowboys so disappointing

Honestly, I think optics-wise the Dallas Cowboys were better off not trading for a wide receiver after the Amari Cooper deal.

That would have looked bad to trade Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns for a fifth-round pick and then turn around to send a Day 2 pick for Cooks or Claypool.

I also don’t think the Cowboys’ wide receiver situation is quite as dire as the Packers’. CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup are very good players, and Noah Brown has been effective this season, as well. As long as Gallup and tight end Dalton Schultz stay healthy, QB Dak Prescott has a pretty solid set of playmakers in that offense.

@freshme13609109: Do you think the James Robison trade was a good trade

I like it from both sides, though I might prefer it a little bit for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars are planning ahead, and running back James Robinson was going to be a restricted free agent after the season. This trade to the New York Jets shows they were not going to put a first- (projected at $6 million, per Over The Cap) or second-round ($4.3 million) tender on Robinson. That means they would have put an original-round ($2.6 million) tender on him. That’s still pretty pricy for a backup running back, and even if another team signed him to an offer sheet, the Jaguars would not have received anything for him in return since he was originally an undrafted free agent.

So, they trade him early and wind up getting a fifth- or sixth-round pick for him. If Robinson rushes for 243 yards over the final nine games of the season, then it’s a fifth; if it’s less than that, it’s a sixth.

The Jets must make that same decision on Robinson’s restricted free-agent tender after the season, and it might depend on the health of Breece Hall, who tore his ACL and meniscus in Week 7, this offseason. But for this season alone, trading for Robinson allows the Jets to continue running their offense and assessing QB Zach Wilson. It provides them with an experienced early-down rushing threat and allows Michael Carter to maintain his pass-catching role. I don’t think the Jets are true contenders this season. But I do see the benefit in allowing Wilson to exist in a competent offense to see how much he can improve this season.

An NFC analytics executive also mentioned to me after the trade deadline that he was surprised “to see the value teams are putting on RBs” and that it “seems to be a kickback from years of RBs don’t matter.” The Jets got better value in trading for Robinson than the Dolphins did in trading for Jeff Wilson. New York also got slightly better value in Robinson than what the Bills traded for Nyheim Hines, since Zack Moss was part of that deal.

@Zuc21: Some of the trade day moves are short-term, win-now moves and others are more forward-looking and longer-term. Which teams do you think set themselves up for the best 2-3 year success post-NFL trade day? 

The Denver Broncos definitely set themselves up better for the future by recouping a first-round pick from the Dolphins in the Chubb trade. The success of that franchise will ultimately be determined by how well Russell Wilson plays, but getting a first-round pick for a player they were going to lose in free agency anyway was a win for them.

The Jaguars made two smart moves, as well, in trading away Robinson and acquiring Calvin Ridley for, at most, a little more than a second-round pick.

@_1conic_: Do you think the Patriots are going to push hard for talent with Mac Jones' third year coming up?

The New England Patriots are currently set to have over $60 million in cap space, and their top free agents are cornerback Jonathan Jones, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers and running back Damien Harris, as well as long-time captains safety Devin McCourty and special-teamer Matthew Slater.

So, they can definitely add talent. I think the priority in the first round of the NFL draft should be to get an offensive tackle. Re-signing Meyers should likely be a priority, as well, unless they think they can swing for the fences in a trade for a wideout. There’s not a better wide receiver than Meyers out in free agency, and they just selected Tyquan Thornton in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

@MambaSportsTalk: How do you feel about the Dolphins post-deadline? Do you think this was a move to go all in for this year or continue to build for the future

The Dolphins’ decision to trade for Chubb was certainly viewed around the league as a move to go all-in for this season. Obviously, it helps that they already signed him to a long-term extension, but giving up the first-round pick signals that they’re planning more for the present than the future.

@Golf_and_Cidre: @DougKyed I keep hearing people saying that teams can let a player walk at the end of the season and pick up a comp pick. I see a lot of players waiting until after the comp pick cut off date before signing with a new team. Isn't that always a danger?

Not really. Any player who’s going to garner a high compensatory draft pick will sign right after free agency opens. The issue in planning for a comp pick by allowing a player to leave in free agency is canceling it out by signing a similarly valued player.

@ashley1992__: Hi Doug, Are you surprised that the Patriots didn't make any trades before the deadline?

Moderately surprised. I think they would have liked to shed some salary to carry more cap space throughout the season. We’ll see if they restructure a contract or make a cut to do that now.

The Patriots’ biggest current need is on their offensive line. We could see them reshuffle some parts to improve the unit as a whole. They could move Isaiah Wynn to left tackle or one of the guard spots, Trent Brown from left tackle to right tackle or Michael Onwenu from right guard to right tackle.

Wynn has historically played left tackle better than guard or right tackle. Brown is pretty similar as a left and right tackle, and Onwenu has graded highly at both guard spots and at right tackle.

For Week 9, it appears New England will be without starting center David Andrews and right tackle Marcus Cannon, both of whom missed practice Thursday in concussion protocol.

@dobbinstop10: Does Roquan Smith make the ravens the second best team in the afc?

No, and the Bateman season-ending surgery hurts the Ravens quite a bit, as well. I still would put the Bills and Kansas City Chiefs ahead of the Ravens, and the Dolphins have a case, as well.


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