We have barely reached the Super Bowl, and already the rumors, interests, hirings, and trades have begun for the NFL offseason.
The Green Bay Packers are already making headlines across the NFL. Who will be the new defensive coordinator? Will Aaron Rodgers’ contract be updated or changed? How will they clear cap space? Rodgers has a new girlfriend!
Like all NFL teams, the Packers have several holes to address. If Kevin King isn’t re-signed, who will be the No. 2 cornerback? If Corey Linsley isn’t re-signed, does the offensive line have enough depth? Does their secondary have enough talent? Who will be the running back corps? The NFL draft can’t address all those issues.
There is a good chance the Packers will select a wide receiver or two in this year’s draft. Is there also a chance they will sign a veteran or free agent player to plug into Matt LaFleur’s offense?
Davis’s name has seemed to be most closely connected with Green Bay. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell predicted Davis would sign with the Green & Gold, and the social media posts and articles went wild.
The 26-year-old from Western Michigan had his fifth-year option declined by the Tennessee Titans before the 2020 season and will become one of the top wide receiver targets. Over four seasons, Davis had 2,851 yards, 207 receptions, and 11 touchdowns. He was picked fifth overall in the 2017 draft, so expectations seemed almost too high for the talented receiver.
The 2019 season was disappointing for Davis, he had 601 yards and only two touchdowns, but he bounced back last year. After nearly a 1000-yard season, he tied career-highs with 65 receptions and five touchdowns in 2020.
Davis would easily become a speedy No. 2 option behind Davante Adams. Marquez Valdes-Scantling ended his 2020 season with 33 receptions, 690 yards, and six touchdowns. Davis excelled in all of those categories, but to be fair, MVS also has one less season in the league and wasn’t a top-five draft pick.
Davis will probably generate around $10-13 million a year on a two- to four-year deal. Would the Packers be able to afford a contract like that? A lot would have to happen first, and his price might be just a little bit too high. If Green Bay restructures Rodgers’ deal and releases a player like Preston Smith to clear cap space, someone like Davis would be perfect. But would throwing money at a wide receiver help more than a reliable cornerback next to Jaire Alexander?
Like the Packers, the Titans also have cap issues and are $7.3 million over right now. They would probably not be able to match an offer of $10 million or more a year. Davis also worked with Matt Lafleur in 2018 when he was the offensive coordinator. He had his breakout second season with LaFleur as his coordinator, so I am sure a team like the Packers — contenders with a familiar coach — will draw interest from Davis.
Samuel would honestly be a perfect fit in Green Bay. He is fast, and LaFleur would love having someone like him involved in his offense. Samuel recorded 2,087 yards, 185 receptions, and 14 touchdowns over four years with the Carolina Panthers.
His ability in the run game adds another dimension. He had 478 rushing yards over 72 attempts and five touchdowns, averaging more than 6.5 yards a carry. His 330 rushing yards were first among wide receivers since 2019.
Throwing screen passes or end-arounds to Samuel would enhance the Packers’ offense. His speed adds another element for defenses as a dual-threat wide receiver who can outrun you. Sure, teams can focus on Adams and double him on some plays, but there is no way you can cover him and also cover Samuel and MVS sprinting down the field.
When I first thought about these two receivers, I honestly thought Samuel’s contract projections would be a lot less than Davis’s. I think I was wrong. Barnwell predicts a 4-year, $46 million deal. $11.5 million a year is not too far off from what Davis is expecting.
Again, the Packers might not be able to afford him. However, it’s possible to get a two- or three-year team-friendly deal from Samuel because they are Super Bowl contenders. Currently, the Panthers are not in that situation.
Who to Pick?
What’s not to love about both? I am still in the camp that Samuel will not be as expensive as Davis. Some team that needs a true No. 2 receiver could definitely overpay for him (looking at you, Detroit Lions). But it seems ridiculous if a wide receiver doesn’t want to come to Green Bay at this point — they are a great team with an explosive offense. Oh, and they’ve reached two straight NFC Championship games. I think Davis will get a nice contract offer from a team like Washington, or he might even return to the Titans, but stranger things have happened. Adams and Davis together would be electric.
Is there also a good chance they won’t sign any free agent receiver and rely on the draft? Of course. It’s the Packers way! Yet, if someone like Davis or Samuel arrived in Titletown, bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay is a lot easier.