The Green Bay Packers would seem to have a difference of opinions.
According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, the Packers have disagreed “at the highest levels of the organization” about the value of adding an elite wide receiver for the short-term future, particularly while discussing the possibility of trading for Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V. While no names were named, some Green Bay insiders filled in the blanks.
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur has made no secret about his appreciation for Fuller, who he coached at Notre Dame and has monitored throughout his first four and a half seasons in the league. He would no doubt bring immediate value to the Packers offense with 31 receptions for 490 yards and five touchdowns this season, but general manager Brian Gutekunst hasn’t shown much interest in adding substantial receiving talent over the past few years.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has voiced support for the Packers to add another wide receiver a few times over the past year, including during the 2020 NFL draft — where the Packers did not take a single wideout with any of their nine picks. Even star pass-catcher Davante Adams admitted ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline more receiving help would be useful.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a need, but I don’t think it’s any secret that could help us, potentially,” Adams told reporters Tuesday during a Zoom call. “So I wouldn’t be opposed to it. It could help us, but I definitely got full faith and trust in my guys here to be able to get it done.”
The NFL trade deadline is set for 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday afternoon.
Update: The Packers allowed the deadline to pass without making a trade as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported they could not agree with the Texans on the value for Fuller. There was also some speculation they could trade for defensive additions, but few rumors even materialized about defensive lineman or linebackers.
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Could Packers Be Leaking Dispute by Design?
The Texans have been holding their ground about wanting a second-round pick in exchange for Fuller, who could potentially yield a third- or fourth-round compensatory pick if he signs a large contract with another team for next year. The Packers, however, are most likely only looking to give up a third- or fourth-rounder for someone they might not be able to keep beyond 2020.
With that in mind, some have pointed out how seldom internal news is leaked out of the Packers organization and are wondering if the report of their “disagreement” is meant to push Houston into accepting whatever trade offer they have put on the table (assuming, in fact, the Packers have extended an offer to the Texans).
Leaks aside, the Packers could still be genuinely at an impasse about Fuller for a number of reasons. The draft capital lost could end up coming back to bite them if Fuller’s addition doesn’t deliver the results they need this season. He also adds another high-value free agent for the Packers during the 2021 offseason, which will also see David Bakhtiari, Aaron Jones, Kevin King, Corey Linsley and Jamaal Williams seeking new contracts.
As former Packers Vice President Andrew Brandt also pointed out, trade negotiations for someone with an expiring contract like Fuller would also almost certainly involve some form of “simultaneous contract negotiations” that would be necessary to get the deal done. In other words, a deal for Fuller would just take more money out of the pot that will later be needed to extend those other 2021 free agents.