The Green Bay Packers are moving on to quarterback Jordan Love, which has made finding some extra help for the first-year starter a priority this offseason.
Love’s top two targets in 2023 figure to be Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, both of whom dealt with injuries in their rookie seasons but also produced prolonged stretches of promising play. But with the departures of Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb in free agency, a niche has opened up for a veteran slot receiver to step into a tertiary role. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell tossed a couple of names into the mix on Friday, including that of former Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints wideout Jarvis Landry.
“Relying on general manager Brian Gutekunst & Co. to acquire a wide receiver has proved to be a fool’s errand over the past few offseasons, but it certainly seems like there’s a space for the Packers to add at least one veteran,” Barnwell wrote on March 29. “Richie James, who had 330 yards for the [New York] Giants over a six-game stretch at the end of 2022, is still a free agent, as is five-time Pro Bowler Jarvis Landry. The latter could be a replacement for Cobb in the slot.”
Landry, Coming Off Injury, Should Improve With Love as QB
Landry is looking for a fresh start in his 10th NFL season after a disappointing campaign with the Saints last year. He made only nine appearances due to an ankle injury that eventually saw him head to the injured reserve list (IR).
In the games he did play, Landry made just 25 catches for 272 yards and a single touchdown, all career-lows per Pro Football Reference. But the former second-round pick has produced three seasons of more than 1,000 yards in his career and never put up fewer than 500 yards and multiple touchdowns in any campaign before last year.
Landry caught passes from Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton in 2022. Love should be an upgrade over both, even while dealing with growing pains as he attempts to follow not one, but two legends in Green Bay.
Landry Can Provide Veteran Voice For Love in First Year as Starter
An upgrade to both his quarterback and offensive roster in general should help Landry recapture his pre-New Orleans form, especially if he can remain healthy. What might be even more valuable to the Packers, however, is Landry’s decade of experience.
Love isn’t a rookie, but he will functionally perform as one next season — albeit a highly-prepared one. Playing behind Rodgers for three years had to have been an illuminating experience for the now 24-year-old Love, but watching a mentor from the sidelines isn’t the same as maneuvering through regular season games as QB1.
Green Bay let veteran wide receivers Lazard and Cobb walk, along with veteran tight ends Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis. Watson and Doubs are second-year guys and the Packers are projected to select a tight end early this year’s NFL Draft, meaning just about every skill player in the passing game will be as inexperienced as Love is.
Landry can serve as a sure-handed safety valve in the slot and a voice of calm and reason in the huddle, not just for Love but for the rest of the receiver room as well. He should also be affordable coming off of an injury and after playing on a one-year deal worth $3 million last season.