The Green Bay Packers‘ options to add a veteran wide receiver to their roster are thinning, though a few affordable players with strong track records of success remain available.
Former Cleveland Browns pass catcher Jarvis Landry came off the free agent board Friday, May 13, when he inked a one-year deal to join the New Orleans Saints. Landry was among several free agent wideouts the Packers were thought to be considering as potential additions to a position group devoid of any true top-end talent.
Also among those wide receivers named by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport as candidates to join Green Bay are Julio Jones, most recently of the Tennessee Titans, and Odell Beckham Jr., who just won a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Los Angeles Rams.
Rapoport laid out the specifics of the situation in Green Bay during a hit on the Pat McAfee Show Tuesday, May 10.
I think the Packers are gonna be involved in this market, and this is actually a great market for them. … Let’s say you’re Julio Jones and you’re not gonna get $15 million, you’re probably not gonna get $10 million, the Packers would be one of those teams you wanna join.
Maybe you make $3 million with some incentives, but you know you’ve got a chance to make a Super Bowl — that actually is attractive. We’ve got Odell [Beckham Jr.], who obviously had interest in the Packers last [season]. You have [Jones], who I imagine will get some interest. … All those guys would make sense for Green Bay, who I would say might add another wide receiver at some point.
ALL the latest Packers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Packers newsletter here!
Colts WR T.Y. Hilton Could Also Be Among Packers Targets
Another possible free agent target for the Packers could be former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. The 32-year-old struggled through injuries much of last season, which led to less than pedestrian statistics including just 23 catches for 332 yards and three touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference.
But like Jones and Beckham, the four-time Pro Bowler would be most apt to rediscover his elite form by joining arguably the NFL’s best quarterback in reigning two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers.
Mike Chiari of Bleacher Report laid out an argument for the Packers pursuing Hilton in free agency, including Jones in that mix, as well.
Jones and Hilton are both getting up there in age and have dealt with injuries in recent years, but either could be a nice value signing for a receiver-needy team.
The receiver room is crowded in Green Bay, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers is short on proven options, which could make Jones or Hilton a nice addition.
Beckham Likely Packers’ Only Option With Chance at Reclaiming Top Role
While Jones or Hilton might prove a solid veteran presence to add to the current mix of pass catchers in Green Bay that includes Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Sammy Watkins and incoming rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, it’s unlikely either is capable of returning to their previous form as No. 1 wide receivers. But such may not be the case with Beckham.
Bill Barnwell of ESPN predicted that Beckham, who is recovering from a torn ACL he sustained during the second quarter of the Rams’ Super Bowl win in February, will wind up in Green Bay. While Beckham is unlikely to suit up until mid-season, Barnwell explained that the Packers are in a unique situation to play out the Beckham string, adding that the incentive for the wide receiver to rehab in Green Bay is also significant.
If any organization can afford to be patient, it’s the Packers, given that Green Bay is the prohibitive favorite to win its fourth straight NFC North title. Nobody can afford to sleepwalk through the regular season, but the Packers have a clearer path to the postseason than most, and it’s easier for them to justify adding Beckham now, even while knowing that they may not get much out of him until Halloween.
Beckham was reportedly considering the Packers before joining the Rams last year, and while things worked out very well in Los Angeles, the circumstances have changed. The Rams have replaced Robert Woods with a big-ticket investment in Allen Robinson II.
The Packers, meanwhile, suddenly lack a No. 1 wideout after dealing Davante Adams to the Raiders. Green Bay did draft Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs in the second and fourth round, respectively, but Beckham would get a chance to be a true WR1 with a great quarterback if he joined the Packers this time around. That opportunity just doesn’t exist anywhere else, and Beckham’s best chance of earning a significant contract in 2023 is to excel with the Packers in 2022.