As we near the beginning of minicamp, the Green Bay Packers are still intent on making moves to improve the team. Though the dark cloud of an Aaron Rodgers holdout still looms large, they signed De’Vondre Campbell to add some depth and experience to a linebacker corps that needed both.
If the Packers intend to build around Jordan Love, should Rodgers decide to continue his holdout into the season, it stands to reason that the Packers could add another wideout to their stable to give Love some help.
Golden Tate, 32, might not be the same player who once wreaked havoc on opposing defenses as a member of the Detroit Lions, but he could still greatly impact the Packers’ offense next season. The question is, would head coach Matt LaFleur and general manager Brian Gutenkunst want to bring him in?
The Case for Golden Tate
There is some optimism about the Packers’ receiving corps going into the season. However, we should tread carefully. Though Davante Adams is a premier pass catcher, there is less certainty about what the rest of the group will offer.
It’s fair to be excited about Amari Rodgers, but it is important to remember he is only a rookie. Expecting him to make the impact that Justin Jefferson did last year would be unfair. And LaFleur may be heaping praise on Devin Funchess, who opted out last year due to COVID, but this season will be his first football action in almost two years (he missed 2019 with a broken fibula). Adding Tate to the mix will allow other wideouts like Rodgers and Funchess to rotate out while not having a massive drop-off in quality.
Tate would also serve as an excellent mentor for Amari Rodgers, who is expected to play most of his snaps in the slot due to his size, and Tate has made a career of operating out of the slot with precise route running. In the past two seasons, Tate has played 85% of his snaps in the slot, where he takes advantage of the opposing nickel corners who are usually the third-best corners on the team. Tate could teach Rodgers how to operate from the slot at an NFL level and read different coverages from opposing DBs.
Tate could also serve as a great fill-in for Rodgers if he were to get hurt. Tate has a similar skillset and years of experience as both a pass catcher and punt returner. He could help complete this already-improved Packers receiving corps because he’s a veteran who can compete at a high level. Tate would allow the Packers to have a WR2 by committee and toss different looks at opposing defensive backs.
The Case Against Golden Tate
Here’s the thing: Tate would be a great mentor for Amari Rodgers, but if the Packers believe that Rodgers is ready to make an immediate impact, they would have two wideouts with skill sets that are almost completely redundant. Both players primarily operate out of the slot and are really not going to win on the outside consistently.
Tate is also coming off one of his worst seasons, where he was limited to only 388 yards in 12 games. He suffered from a reduced role and a below-average quarterback in Daniel Jones, and his production since leaving the Motor City has dropped off. While this could be due to his unfamiliarity with systems and poor quarterback play, it is more likely that he has lost a step with age.
Perhaps the biggest problem in this situation would be in regards to the salary cap. After completing the Campbell signing, the Packers have around $5 million left to spend. While this might seem like a lot, signing Tate would take up most of the money they have left and wouldn’t allow them to make moves during the season if they need to. The wide receiver position has been a need in the past, but perhaps not as much so now. If a need does crop up, the Packers can use the money they have during the season to make a move.