Packers Trade Proposal Unloads Draft Bust for Star Wide Receiver

Getty The Green Bay Packers could swap wide receivers in this trade proposal.

The Green Bay Packers might be ready to move on from one of their recent draft picks. However, instead of cutting him, general manager Brian Gutekunst could try to package the player with some draft capital to try and bring in another weapon for Aaron Rodgers.

Unlike the quarterback with the same last name, Amari Rodgers might have worn out his welcome in Green Bay. The wide receiver has virtually never seen the field on offense this season, primarily serving as a return specialist. However, in Week 5 it was Christian Watson returning kicks, leaving Rodgers strictly to punt return duties, where he proceeded to fumble early in the game.

If the Packers wanted to move on, they could simply cut him, but ESPN’s Bill Barnwell suggested an interesting trade idea that would send Rodgers and a fourth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for wide receiver Chase Claypool and a seventh-round pick in 2024.

“Trading for Claypool would give the Packers access to a low-cost starter over the next two seasons while buying low on a receiver who has never played with even an average deep passer as a pro,” Barnwell said. “Claypool would need some time to settle in, but he could be a vertical difference-maker by the time the Packers get to the postseason, something Green Bay could sorely use as it tries to stop teams from selling out to stop the run.”

What’s Happened to Chase Claypool?

Claypool took the league by storm as a rookie, but with the Steelers losing their offensive identity and a Hall of Fame quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger, the 24-year-old hasn’t looked like the same player.

Coming out of British Columbia in Canada, Claypool was still generating attention from programs around the United States in 2016 as a 4-star recruit. Programs including Michigan and Mississippi State offered Claypool a scholarship, but he decided to play for a storied program in the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Claypool slowly improved over his four years at Notre Dame, and once he became the No. 1 target in South Bend as a senior he took his game to the next level. As a senior in 2019, he caught 66 passes for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns.

With that kind of production and impressive size in the pre-draft process at 6’4″ and 229 pounds, Claypool was taken in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Steelers. It didn’t take long for him to have an impact in Pittsburgh, catching 62 passes for 873 yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie.

Unfortunately, Claypool’s production has taken a huge hit in Pittsburgh. Through five games in 2022, the young receiver has caught just 16 passes for 129 yards. With inconsistency at the quarterback position and a crowded receiver room, Claypool isn’t getting the opportunities he had in 2020, and that could mean he’s ready for a fresh start with a new team.

Is Amari Rodgers On His Way Out?

Even if the Packers don’t package him in a trade, it’s seeming more and more likely that Rodgers’ time in Green Bay is coming to an end.

Watson taking over kickoff return duties in Week 5 was a big sign of things to come, considering Rodgers’ role was already extremely limited within the team. Since coming into the league in 2021, Rodgers has caught just four passes for 45 yards, and he made countless mental errors as a return man.

The Packers already have their backup plan after the team signed speedy veteran kickoff return man Corey Ballentine to the practice squad. Rodgers should already be gone, but if he continues to make mistakes as a return man, then expect Ballentine to be called up and the former third-round pick to be sent home.

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