Packers Pegged as Team of Interest by Free-Agent Wideout

Packers Robby Anderson Hint

Getty Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 on the sidelines during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Arlington, Texas.

One of the top free-agent wide receivers set to hit the market next week just name-dropped the Green Bay Packers.

New York Jets wideout Robby Anderson made an appearance Tuesday afternoon on ESPN’s NFL Live to discuss his impending free agency and was asked about some of the factors influencing his decision-making throughout the process. The 26-year-old wide receiver said there is mutual interest in him re-signing with the Jets  — for the right price — but he also seemed to entertain the possibility of joining the Packers for the 2020 season when asked about where he would consider living.

“I mean, not really 100 percent sure on that,” Anderson said. “I just want to be somewhere that I enjoy outside of football. There are some great teams in the middle of the country, like Green Bay.”

Program host Wendi Nix cut him off and rolled into the next question before he could elaborate much further on his answer, but the smirk on Anderson’s face after he said “Green Bay” and the fact that he brought up the Packers’ home city seemingly out of nowhere suggests he’s at least entertained the idea of catching passes from Aaron Rodgers.

The Packers reportedly showed interest in Anderson ahead of last October’s NFL trade deadline with general manager Brian Gutekunst later confirming the team had tried to add an “explosive offensive player” down the stretch of their resurgent season. The Packers finished 13-3 with a playoff win, but being unable to find a suitable No. 2 receiver opposite star Davante Adams hindered their success.

Anderson, who has caught 165 passes for 2,472 yards and 18 touchdowns in his past three seasons for the Jets, could certainly solve those problems for the Packers if they were to sign him to a big contract, but his rumored asking price — between $12-15 million — might not be worth the potential payoff with other options to explore and needs to address this spring.

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Sign TE, Draft WR Looks More Plausible for Packers

The Packers signing a high-value receiver such as Anderson has its appeals, but the talk around last month’s NFL Scouting Combine suggests Gutekunst is more interested in addressing other positions through free agency, such as inside linebacker and tight end.

Gutekunst didn’t tip his hand to anything specific while speaking with reporters at the Combine, but he did discuss the upcoming draft class as being “a little bit deeper” with receiving talent than previous groups, giving some substance to the idea the Packers could take a wideout in an early round.

If the draft can satisfy the need for a speedy receiver, the Packers might be better off targetting a pass-catching tight end in free agency. As ESPN’s Rob Demovsky previously reported, the Packers are planning to “make a run” at Atlanta’s Austin Hooper, a two-time Pro Bowler who wouldn’t come cheap but could do for their passing game what Jimmy Graham never did.

Matt Schneidman of The Athletic projected a similar scenario for the Packers this offseason that put an emphasis on acquiring Hooper. While he also picked the Packers to sign wide receiver Demarcus Robinson from Kansas City, he described Hooper as “the big fish” for Gutekunst’s next haul.

Per Schneidman:

“Gutekunst should get the most out of Rodgers while he has him, and signing Hooper would help do that. Give (Jace) Sternberger more time to develop as a complementary piece and maybe even run more plays with two tight ends running routes. Yes, Hooper will cost a pretty penny, but now’s not the time to be frugal when Rodgers’ career is winding down.”

Answers will start to come in the next few weeks as free agency gets underway. Teams can start contacting player agents when the NFL’s legal tampering window opens from March 16-18 before the new league year officially begins at 4 p.m. ET on March 18.

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