The NFL trade deadline is one week away, and while the Green Bay Packers are expected to be buyers on offense, they could also end up sellers on defense.
Little has gone right for Green Bay (3-4) through seven weeks, though the team remains firmly in the playoff hunt despite a stalled offense and an often porous defense. With just one week to shake up the roster, Zach Kruse of Packers Wire pitched a deal involving long-time starting defensive end Dean Lowry.
“It’s tough to imagine the Packers being sellers at the deadline, but that could change with Matt LaFleur’s team losing to Washington on Sunday,” Kruse wrote. “Who would GM Brian Gutekunst try to sell off? A veteran playing on the final year of his deal who isn’t expected to return in 2023.”
“Lowry fits the bill, especially if the Packers want to get first-round pick Devonte Wyatt on the field more in the second half of the season,” Kruse continued.
Kruse went to acknowledge that the chances Green Bay deals Lowry are relatively low, but some new blood on the field could help to right the ship as the Packers began the week 10.5-point underdogs against the Buffalo Bills — the largest negative point spread gulf in Aaron Rodgers‘ 15 years as the team’s starting quarterback.
Lowry’s Production Flattened After Signing Big Deal With Packers
Lowry has started every game for the Packers over the last three and a half seasons, making him one of the more reliable and consistent presences in the Green Bay locker room. But he is carrying an $8 million cap hit this season and has struggled to live up to the three-year, $20 million-plus deal he signed to remain with the team.
The defensive end had something of a bounce-back season in 2021, registering 42 tackles, nine quarterback hits, five sacks, four defensed passes and a fumble recovery. The two years prior, however, he combined for just three total sacks and six quarterback hits. He has tallied just a half of a sack through seven games this season.
Now 28 years old, Lowry will enter the eighth year of his NFL career in 2023. While young enough to potentially see a spike in production, it is more likely Lowry’s career assumes a flat, or even downward, trajectory over the life of his next contract.
Packers Need to Find Out What They Have in DL Devonte Wyatt
Wyatt, Lowry’s likely replacement on the defensive line, is only a rookie and his career arrow is presumably pointing upward for years to come.
The Packers spent considerable draft capital to acquire the University of Georgia standout when they selected him with the 28th overall pick in the first round, though he has played just 47 snaps on defense all season, per Pro Football Reference.
At some point, Green Bay needs to find out exactly what kind of player it has in Wyatt. Even if he proves disappointing in his first season, the drop off in production from what Lowry has accomplished this year isn’t likely to prove considerable.