Trade Proposal Lands Packers Elite Pass-Catching TE

Aaron Rodgers, Packers

Getty Quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers reacts to a fumble during a game against the New York Jets at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

The Green Bay Packers need more firepower in the passing game and can’t wait long if they hope to achieve that this season.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers spoke to the possibility of the Packers being active in the trade market following the team’s disappointing blowout loss to the New York Jets at Lambeau Field on Sunday, October 16.

“We need Sammy [Watkins] back. I think that’s happening here pretty soon,” Rodgers said. “[Randall Cobb], I’m guessing he’ll be out for a little bit. [GM] Brian [Gutekunst] and I have had a number of conversations. I trust him and his staff. If they feel like they need to add then they will.

“I think there is enough on this team to be a successful team. There’s a possibility if certain guys emerge of us having a chance to make a run,” Rodgers continued. “But if there’s an opportunity, I would expect that Brian would be in the mix.”

The Carolina Panthers appear already to be in seller’s mode, as talks of availability surrounding wide receivers Robbie Anderson and D.J. Moore have already begun.

However, Green Bay can also look to add an elite pass-catching tight end out of the AFC East in Mike Gesicki of the Miami Dolphins, who is expected to be on the trade block over the next two weeks.

Packers Would be Better Fit For Gesicki Than Dolphins

Mike Gesicki, Dolphins

GettyTight end Mike Gesicki of the Miami Dolphins reacts after a catch for a first down against the Minnesota Vikings during a game at Hard Rock Stadium on October 16, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Deadline day falls on November 1, leaving Green Bay just over two weeks to get a deal done to improve their passing game, and Gesicki makes sense for several reasons.

The first is that Gesicki is an exceptional catcher of the football. The second is that he isn’t an exceptional fit in the Dolphins’ new offense, implemented by rookie head coach Mike McDaniel. There is a reasonable chance the TE will depart the roster in 2023, after the team franchise tagged him for close to $11 million during the offseason.

Several members of Miami-based podcast The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz spoke to Gesicki’s situation on Wednesday, October 12.

“We thought this [was] a guy they can build around as a skill guy,” LeBatard said. “One of these guys who can’t be guarded.”

The host of the show went on to quote Dolphins tight ends coach Jon Embree, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers before coming over to Miami along with McDaniel, who invoked All-Pro TE George Kittle in what sounded like a rebuke of both Gesicki and his attitude toward the game.

Embree spoke last week of receiving an early morning text from Kittle, which included a video of the Niners tight end blocking a player downfield.

“That’s the mentality we want our tight ends to have,” Embree told reporters. “It’s not about catching passes.”

But that is simply not Gesicki’s game.

“Gesicki wants to do the ‘Griddy’ and catch passes. It’s what he’s good at,” LeBatard continued. “He’s not good at blocking. It’s not that he doesn’t want to block. It’s not that he doesn’t have a desire to do it.”

Other members of the show speculated that Embree’s quotes were a message to both Gesicki about how he needs to shift his playing style, as well as potentially to the rest of the league that the pass catcher is available.

“He’s probably gonna get moved, right?” LeBatard Show producer Chris Cote posed to his podcast mates. “They’re gonna trade him.”

Fellow producer Mike Ryan agreed, adding that any team interested could probably get the TE at a bargain-bin price of a late-round draft pick, considering he will hit free agency in 2023 and would function essentially as a rental for the rest of this season.

“He’s on a franchise tag and his particular skill set doesn’t match this offense,” Ryan said. “It happens often in the league.”

Gesicki Would Add New Element to Packers’ Diverse TE Group

Robert Tonyan, Packers

GettyTight end Robert Tonyan of the Green Bay Packers runs the ball before being tackled by Jordan Whitehead of the New York Jets during a game at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Heading into this year, Gesicki had produced back-to-back campaigns of more than 700 yards receiving. He’d also scored 13 touchdowns over the previous three seasons.

Through five games in 2022, however, Gesicki had caught just nine passes for 101 yards and a single touchdown. He reminded the league at large what he is capable of on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, pulling down six catches for 69 yards and two scores in an eight-point defeat.

Gesicki’s ability to move like a receiver and create matchup issues, despite having the size of a tight end, would add another element to the Packers’ passing game.

Veteran TE Marcedes Lewis remains on the roster specifically because he’s a quality blocker, having caught just a single pass all season for a two-yard score.

Robert Tonyan is Rodgers’ top target at the position. He got off to a slow start this year, after a knee injury in 2021 cut his season off at the midway point. The tight end caught his first TD pass two weeks ago against the New England Patriots before producing his best game of the year against the Jets, in which he made 10 catches for 90 yards.

Based on Rodgers’ comments following the loss to the Jets, it would not be a surprise to see the Packers make a play for at least one pass catcher before the deadline. If they do decide to look for an upgrade at tight end, Gesicki is likely at, or near, the top of that list.

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