Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Either Needs To Go All-In With Their Wideouts Or Reboot

Photo credit: Mike De Sisti (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY)

Setting aside the Aaron Rodgers decision, the Green Bay Packers’ front office has plenty of hurdles to navigate this offseason. There are a ton of receivers among their many free agents, including their top three at the position. Green Bay should go all-in with their own wideouts or start a reboot.

A lot of what the Packers do will hinge on Rodgers’ decision. But even if he moves on, they’ll have to build towards something at wideout with whoever the next quarterback would be.

It all starts with Davante Adams. The 29-year-old All-Pro will hit free agency if he isn’t franchise tagged or re-signed. He and Rodgers have all the makings of a package deal. But there could be a shot at Adams sticking around even without Rodgers, albeit a slim one. The first order of business at wideout is solving the Adams riddle. If they retain him, they should work towards bringing the whole group back even though it would take a lot of salary-cap maneuvering.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling is also in line to be a free agent. His presence may have been most notable in the playoff game he missed against the San Francisco 49ers. Without him, the Packers had no real vertical threat, which allowed the 49ers to play even more aggressively at the line of scrimmage and shift more attention over to Adams.

On the surface, it seems unlikely that MVS is back with the Packers, given that they will probably prioritize Adams, De’Vondre Campbell, and Rasul Douglas in free agency. If Adams is back, though, there should be an emphasis on getting Valdes-Scantling back in the building as well. He takes the lid off the defense, opening space across the middle for Adams and Lazard to roam about. Without Rodgers, the odds of getting all three to sign on the dotted line happily is unlikely. But it’s worth a shot anyway.

Then there’s Allen Lazard.

Lazard is set to be a restricted free agent, and it’s unknown what sort of qualifying offer the Packers could lob in his direction. Lazard is the hidden gem of the wide receiver group, and he finished the last five weeks of the regular season on a tear. Rodgers abandoned everyone except Adams and Aaron Jones in the playoff game. That included Lazard. But it’s no reason not to bring him back if there’s a deal that makes sense for both sides. The passing-game malfunctions in the playoffs were a Rodgers problem, not a Lazard problem, and it shouldn’t count against him.

For the first time in a long time, the Packers are in a peculiar spot with no guarantee of their superstar quarterback coming back into the mix. It’s impossible to take Rodgers out of the equation when Brian Gutekunst and Russ Ball start deciding how to attack the offseason and the salary cap. But the receiver spot stands alone as a focal point.

It would make little sense to bring back Lazard but not Adams and MVS. It would make little sense to bring back MVS but not the other two. Green Bay could back up the Brinks truck for Adams and then piece together the rest of the depth at the position. However, what’s best for the Packers and their chances of keeping a well-oiled machine in the passing game is finding a way to bring all three back — even if Rodgers is gone. There have long been complaints that the Packers don’t have a true No. 2. The Packers could address that in the draft if David Bell, Drake London, or Chris Olave slip a little in the first round. Even if they do bring back Lazard, MVS, and Adams, it doesn’t mean they have to shy away from really going all-in at the position.

All of this sounds fine and dandy, but it leaves out one name: Randall Cobb.

Cobb’s contract costs Green Bay $9.5 million against the cap next year. There is no chance they will bring him back at that price. If they can restructure something significantly smaller, go crazy. It was a fun one-year reunion while it lasted if they can’t. If Green Bay can make it work, the priorities need to be Adams, MVS, and Lazard. And if they can’t, there’s little point in trying to bring back only one of them — unless it’s Adams. But he likely won’t be receptive to that unless No. 12 is there as well.

A reboot at the position sounds terrifying, but the offense will have to go through much more than that if Rodgers isn’t back. Building up the position through the draft would be exciting and would show an investment at the spot in a way that the Packers haven’t in recent years.

This will be a heavy offseason for Green Bay with so much uncertainty. As it pertains to the wide receiver room, either go all-in and get the whole gang back together or start anew through the draft. There shouldn’t be a middle ground in bringing back just one of the wideouts unless it’s Adams. Push all the chips in or fold the hand and play some new cards.

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