Green Bay Packers

What Does A Successful Offseason Look Like For Amari Rodgers?

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan (USA TODAY Sports)

The Green Bay Packers did the unimaginable when they spent a whopping third-round pick on Amari Rodgers in the 2021 draft. Green Bay took the stud wideout from Clemson early in an area where the Packers typically haven’t invested significant draft capital. However, his rookie campaign was an absolute dud. This offseason will be critical for his development and for Green Bay’s future.

There is a lot of fogginess surrounding the Packers and their wide receiver group entering the offseason. Both Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are unrestricted free agents, while Allen Lazard is a restricted free agent. Randall Cobb‘s cap hit isn’t worth the return, and the Packers will either restructure his contract, or this will be a one-and-done reunion trip to Green Bay. It opens up the door for a lot of uncertainty. But Amari Rodgers will be locked in on the roster regardless of what happens.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Green Bay gets all of Adams, MVS, Lazard, and Cobb back for 2022. Green Bay’s cap issues have been talked into the ground, but they are very real. Even if they can bring back Adams and MVS or any combination of a couple of the top options from last year, the door will still be open for Amari Rodgers. It’s a chance for him to break out after a brutal rookie campaign.

In his debut season, Rodgers will be best known for being a shaky punt returner. Packers fans held their breath every time the ball was sailing through the air in his direction. A clean fair catch felt like a massive accomplishment. We don’t know if he will return to that role in 2022. Even if he does, that can’t be the lone expectation Green Bay has for him. They used a third-round pick on him, and Rodgers’ tape at Clemson speaks for itself. Draft experts expected him to be a Cobb clone and instead barely saw the field on offense in 2021. He played more special-teams snaps than offensive snaps last year. If that’s the case in 2022, things have gone off the tracks. That’s what makes this offseason so crucial for the team’s other Rodgers.

Green Bay’s priorities at wide receiver will be figuring out who will be back and who won’t. Even with Amari Rodgers on the roster for 2022, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Green Bay use a first- or second-round pick on a wideout in the upcoming draft. Unconventional, perhaps, because it’s rare for Green Bay to use a selection that early on a wide receiver. But it wouldn’t be surprising given what the needs may end up being and who’s sitting on the board when they select.

For Rodgers, the first step this offseason is carving out a more prominent role on the offense. He can’t do much if he doesn’t deserve playing time. In his defense, it was a crowded room in 2021 with a ton of proven talent. Rodgers’ place on the pecking order was apparent early in the season, and any thoughts of him making a splash as a rookie quickly dissipated.

Rodgers finished the season with four total catches for 45 yards and never caught more than one pass in any game. He hauled in his longest reception, 19 yards, in garbage time against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1. Rodgers’ rookie campaign needs to be the anomaly when looking back four, five, six years from now. It’ll be a short-lived career if it becomes the norm. However, that seems unlikely given the potential he displayed at Clemson.

Nobody is asking for Amari Rodgers to become the No. 1 wideout for Green Bay in 2022. It will be considered a successful 2022 campaign if he can take over the slot spot and even produce typical WR3 numbers. It isn’t too high of a bar, but earning the reps and the opportunities by showing what he can provide this offseason will be of utmost importance.

Green Bay’s wide receiver corps could have a complete overhaul this offseason, or they could retain at least half of the group. However the pie is sliced, it’s almost guaranteed that it won’t be exactly the same as it was in 2021. As a result, a prime opportunity for Amari Rodgers sits on the table. If he seizes it, it will validate Green Bay using a third-round selection on the shifty wide receiver from Clemson. If he doesn’t, the doubters will get loud.

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