Packers Trade Proposal Lands Team $60 Million Wide Receiver

Aaron Rodgers, Packers

Getty Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (left) of the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Jordan Love (right) take the field for warmups before a game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField on October 23, 2022 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The Green Bay Packers have problems beyond the uncertainty around Aaron Rodgers, like to whom will he throw the football if he does play for the team next year?

Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs are among the roster certainties in 2023, but they may be the only ones at wide receiver. Both Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb are free agents come March and neither is likely to return if Rodgers doesn’t. Every other wideout on the roster is probably conditional depending on how their training camps go and what upgrades the Packers can make at the position in the interim.

The free agent class is thin at receiver, though some interesting names either have, or might soon, make their way to the trade block. Among them is Chris Godwin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team in salary cap hell that just lost the best quarterback of all time to retirement.

Bucs’ Chris Godwin Perfect Trade Candidate For Green Bay Packers

Chris Godwin

GettyWide receiver Chris Godwin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sets up for a play during a game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Bill Barnwell of ESPN explained on Monday, February 20, why the Bucs desperately need to move off Godwin and what a team like the Packers will have to offer in return for his services.

The Bucs aren’t in a great situation at the moment. They are $55.7 million over the 2023 salary cap, in part because they owe $35.1 million in dead money after the retirement of Tom Brady.

One way to create cap space and improve the weaker spots on the roster would be to trade from a position of strength. Tampa’s strongest position is at wide receiver. Mike Evans is 30 and entering the final year of his deal, but repeated restructures will prevent the Buccaneers from realizing significant cost savings if they were to deal him.

Trading Godwin, on the other hand, is a different story. Parting ways with the 27-year-old would free up nearly $9 million in cap room and take a significant earner off the payroll in 2023 and 2024. … The deal would also net the Bucs some useful draft capital. I’m not sure they could expect to land a Tyreek Hill or Davante Adams-sized haul, but a late-first-round pick would hardly be out of the question.

Packers Projected to Add Pass Catcher With First-Round Draft Pick

GettyTight end Michael Mayer of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs for a first down during a game against the Boston College Eagles at Notre Dame Stadium on November 19, 2022 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

The Packers hold the No. 15 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and several mocks have the team looking for a pass catcher, including those of ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay who both have Green Bay selecting tight end Michael Mayer out of Notre Dame.

The Packers could also look to the receiver position with that pick. Kiper has the New York Jets selecting Jaxon Smith-Njigba out of Ohio State at No. 13, while McShay has Quentin Johnston of TCU coming off the board at No. 12 and heading to the Houston Texans. Neither veteran draft expert has any other wideout going before Green Bay selects at No. 15.

The Packers have been linked to both Smith-Njigba and Johnston, and either could be a quality supplement to Watson and Doubs — the two second-year wideouts guaranteed to play a role in Green Bay’s passing game in 2023.

Going wide receiver with the 15th pick makes more sense if Rodgers retires or is traded to another team, and Jordan Love assumes the role of starting quarterback. Mayer makes more sense if Rodgers sticks around, though an argument can also be made for the Packers using the pick to make a run at Godwin who is obviously more experienced and accomplished in the NFL than any incoming rookie could possibly be.

Godwin is a one-time Pro Bowler with two years left on a three-year, $60 million deal. He suffered an ACL tear late in the 2021 season, which impacted his production in Tampa Bay last year. However, the receiver still made a career-high 104 catches for 1,023 yards and three touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference.

Pro Football Focus ranked Godwin 26th out of 113 players who qualified at the position, with an overall rating of 75.7. Both his traditional statistics and advanced analytics should improve in 2023 when he takes the field at full health to begin training camp.

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