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Packers Should Explore Veteran Trade Market

Last offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles were one of the most aggressive teams in the NFL and it paid off in the form of a Super Bowl championship.

Yet, the Eagles aren’t satisfied and Wednesday, pulled off a trade or a steal some might say, for former Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett. The only cost was a fifth-round draft pick and an unknown wide receiver.

Certainly, the Green Bay Packers could have made a better offer. Of course, if they end up signing Muhammad Wilkerson, it won’t matter as much. That’s a move Green Bay should make, in fact, the team shouldn’t let him out of the building Thursday until a deal is done.

There appears to be mutual interest between the Packers and Wilkerson, the former New York Jet who has 44.5 sacks, although he has just eight over the past two seasons. It would be a perfect move and would give Green Bay a great chance to utilize some three and four man fronts.

But the Packers shouldn’t stop at Wilkerson. They should follow the Eagles example and make a trade for a veteran. In this case, the target should be Aqib Talib of the Denver Broncos.

Right now, the Broncos are said to be in trade talks with the New England Patriots, where Talib apparently wants to go. But no deal is done yet. Denver wants to try and get something done before next Wednesday, which would give the Packers time to enter the discussion.

It’s no secret that the Broncos are going to get rid of Talib, either by releasing him or trading him. That means Denver isn’t going to get tons in terms of draft pick compensation and with the Packers gluttony of day two picks, Green Bay should make an offer.

The Packers need to find some help at corner and bringing aboard a veteran could be the solution. Adding a guy like Talib to a group that includes Damarious Randall and Kevin King sounds enticing. He’s made five straight Pro Bowls and isn't overly expensive.

Talib basically has two years and $20 million left on his deal. It’s probably a little spendy for the Packers, but it’s about the same as a good starting corner would cost on the free agent market. In fact, it could help avoid a bidding war for a guy like Malcolm Butler.

This is probably a long shot, but it’s just an example of what the Packers need to do. The defense is 3-4 guys away from being pretty good. A legit corner is needed, so is a pass rusher or two. But the cupboard isn’t bare. Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Blake Martinez, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Randall and King are all solid players. There are more too still developing. 

The Packers just need more depth and a couple more Pro Bowl caliber players. Talib is one, Wilkerson could be another. Green Bay would be smart to get one or both. Just with the extra picks it has in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, the Packers could be the perfect trade partner for teams hoping to unload veteran contracts.

The Packers don’t have to sign the top free agents or completely break the bank. It just has to be strategic and try to find some bargains. Free agency can get crazy and can lead to big-money deals Green Bay won’t agree to. That’s what happens a lot.

So by going after released veterans or players like Talib, who are on the trade market, the Packers can avoid bidding ways, while adding the veteran talent it so desperately needs on defense.


Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (49) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Chuck Farley's picture

You mean the angry kneeler. Ya he had no chance coming here and turning our team into a bunch of complainers. He is breaking up the band in Seattle with Sherman next on the block. That team had a fester of bad attitude that took their minds off football. Bennet was the gang leader

Royalty Free GM's picture

My prediction is that after the Eagles won the Superbowl with a backup Foles, it will never win Superbowl with Wentz as a starter.

Colin_C's picture

True, the Eagles did get a good player with Bennett, but they also have to pick up his contract. Right now I think they're about 17 million over the cap, so they're gonna have to do some major negotiating and cutbacks. Once Wentz gets off his rookie deal, it'll be even harder to maintain that much talented veteran depth. Not saying we shouldn't make any moves, but just keep in mind what we're paying Rodgers compared to what they're paying Wentz. It limits what you can do. That said, I really think Wilkerson is the one big name FA worth pursuing (even though he's not a trade). Fingers crossed!

Spock's picture

I'm not sure trading for a player who is likely to be released is a solid strategy. Then again I'm not familiar with Talib (I don't follow other teams) and maybe this would be the type of 'aggressive' move that Gute talks about. It should be interesting.

kevgk's picture

if packers trade for him they can get him for $10 mil a year rather than what he could get on the free agency which is potentially more. They would basically trade a draft pick for saving money. They have tons of picks but little money.

flackcatcher's picture

That's the reason why the packers are letting Burnett go to FA. If the Packers did that, they would lose what little cap room they have this year. It is a lose lose situation either way.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Spock, Denver is trying to free up cap space to sign Cousins: that's why they are going to release him, plus Denver has a fine young CB in bradley Roby waiting to take Aqib's place. and still has CB Clark Harris (the guy several players have been compared to in CHTV articles because he's really good too). Talib Aqib at least gets a mention for being an All Pro every year for the last 6 years, including last year. He is 32, He was a pro bowler in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. 1st team All pro in 2016 by AP, PFF, Sporting News and Pro Football Writers. No doubter.

As a packer, he is not just our #1 CB, he would be the #1 on almost all teams. Pair him with King and put Randall in the slot, and now we're just looking for a rookie to groom and play nickel or dime. Can go OLB, ILB, S, OG, OT or CB in the first, look for best player in the 2nd at OT, TE, WR, CB. Getting Aqib really opens the draft for us. He is getting older, and has an $11M cap hit but just $8M in 2019, so figure it at 2 yrs and $9.5M. Ouch, but he fixes an issue for a couple of years.

Okay, I wrote comments a month ago about picking up Aqib and I still have some excess enthusiasm for the idea. So sue me!

Bearmeat's picture

I'd love to have Talib. He'd instantly make the defense better. But in order to afford him, Gute would need to renegotiate either Nelson or Cobb and cut the other one. He'd also need to extend CM3 in order lower his cap hit, and possibly cut Bulaga.

Plus, word on the street is that Talib wants to go to the Pats. If he's cut and can renegotiate with anyone, it'll be with New England. If he's traded, he'll require too much cap room without the moves above.

In other words? It should happen. But it won't.

Chuck Farley's picture

I'd love to see Sherman on this team. Wont happen but what a wow factor he would be and make some of our marginal guys better knowing he is back their saving the day.
The Packers cannot afford any top players like him or Talib. Rogers eats up too much salary.

4thand1's picture

I dislike Sherman because he can be such a dick. But, I'd rather have him being a dick to the queens ,barelys and lolions twice a year with us. Also he'd be a real thorn in the side of the seachickens when we played them.

OrganLeroy's picture

2 Hamstring injuries, no thanks to Sherman.

Bearmeat's picture

And an achillies to boot. Yeah, Sherman is too beat up for what he'll cost and his loud mouth is a downer too. But Talib really hasn't been that beat up over the course of his career. He's a jerk. But he's a quieter jerk than Sherman.

kevgk's picture

disagree on sherman. Too expensive, too overrated, too old, and too injured

dobber's picture

Was physical but not fast prior to the injury. Achilles injuries are hard to rebound from...they rob you of your flexibility and agility. He's a SS now, and likely not a very fast one.

Chuck Farley's picture

I too would love to see them get some usable, key word usable, free agent help not another Bennet who wanted a pay check and did nothing for us.
The problem I'm sure is management has to pay the big guy and the question is how much? Rogers will get the bulk of the team money leaving only scraps on the table and they know it.
That's the curse of having the top guy in football you have to pay him top money and hope they get you to the playoffs and beyond and not sitting on a bench with a broken shoulder again.
Case Keenum won 11 games last year for 2 million. His wins counted in the win column just like everyone one elses.

4thand1's picture

Will we ever see a Reggie White deal again?

worztik's picture

The odds are much better (according to Las Vegas) now that TT is in the background!!! HAHA

kevgk's picture

Im sure in the post-rodgers rebuild, or maybe if they cut several veterans next year

Since '61's picture

4th - we won't see that deal again because we won't see another Reggie White again. Thanks, Since '61

worztik's picture

No on Talib and Sherman!!! Two high priced big mouths whose best days are behind them!!! We don’t need either one in our locker room!!! Spend that kind of money wiser than on those two...

kevgk's picture

Agree! Same thing with Butler. Slow, small, overrated, and expensive. We need a Marshon Lattimore or Tredavious White that can transform a defense for cheap

ricky's picture

A few years ago Philly went heavily into FA and had a "dream team" which turned into a nightmare. The Bears went into FA pretty heavily last year, and are now busy getting rid of those signees. Miami is regretting (over)paying Suh. Seattle got Graham, who did little/nothing to help the team. Simply being aggressive in FA does no good if you're not focused, disciplined and get a guy or guys who fit your system, and aren't just "names".

kevgk's picture

good examples

4thand1's picture

The bears have been one of the most active FA signers over the last several years. They have also been crap, and still suck.

stockholder's picture

I like the idea of trading players. Even Draft Picks. But let's not get away from the draft. True, not all draft picks make it. We hope NFL Ready. We THINK BARGAINS! But Free Agents aren't BARGAINS. They come from other schemes. TT signed Ricky Jean Francious, Bennett , Kendricks, Even McCray. They just left are expectations short. And thats just the problem here. Buyer beware. You get what you pay for. Past injuries, Cancers, suspensions, etc., the quick fix. I don't see a Charles Woodson, even Peppers coming to us. (ALL- pros!!) I believe the packers have to get players with something to prove. Lets not trade for the sake of trading.

worztik's picture

I, too, like trading players for players or players for picks if we can get something out of it instead of just releasing players outright. I certainly can’t say to who or for whom but, I wouldn’t doubt that Gute may be shopping Cobby very quietly! If we could find a trading partner with the need for a 28 year old, proven receiver with a huge contract, that would be ideal, however, probably unlikely...

Bearmeat's picture


NO one, and I mean no one, is going to take on that contract. Cobb is a slot WR only and he hasn't produced for one reason or another at more than an NFL average level since 2014.

worztik's picture

Yer right!!! I was just sayin’...

Lphill's picture

We could have picked up Revis last year on the cheap , no way the Packers target Taliq or any other questionable veterans , Wilkerson maybe , he is still young and played for Pettine plus we don't know the full story with the Jets and I don't think he had any off field issues .

Handsback's picture

You hate to give up too much for an aged vet. Talib will probably not won't to come to Green Bay. Sorry to say that, but have posted before about guys who have said no to the Packers. So trading low picks could work and he becomes a hired gun as a CB. I'm sure there will be draft picks in the CB position, but having a vet to add maturity will help the Packers reach the playoffs.

TXCHEESE's picture

Talib is OK, but he's a head case like Sherman. I would fear either one would drop off the table ability wise, much like Revis did. There are still going to be some cap casualties in the coming days, that probably have way more left in the tank than those two, that can be had for a smaller asking price and wouldn't count in the compensatory pick formula. I would guess the closer we get to the end of next week that activity will pick up quite a bit.

dobber's picture

An interesting development. I wish him well...and hope he'll still be able to find his car keys--or even just identify car keys--when he's 35.

worztik's picture

I didn’t go to the site you mentioned but, why would anyone mess with their memory as Sam will be doing? There’s no amount of money that can replace a person’s ability to remember what’s happened the day before! I have a relative with Alzheimer’s and it is really sad! Good luck Sam...

flackcatcher's picture

I know from personal experience what going though TC is like. I was very lucky in the after effects were fairly shot lived. Sam Shields took more than a year to recover, and the Rams signed him? Sometime, elite athletes can be quite stubborn. (shakes head)

Michael Hughes's picture

Its all very well all these articles saying we need to be aggressive and sign player A and player B and so on but they need to suggest where the money comes from.

Giving up a 6th round pick to get a vet corner sounds great. But you may end up giving up nelson and cobb if they dont take heavy discounts as well as the 6th and end up with more holes than you started with. Do you add clay to the list of cuts if we get wilkerson as well ?

Hagster's picture

Aqib to the Rams for a 5th.

Ya know I completely understand that we have limited cap space, and we have to be smart with how we put a team together. But I’ve heard we’re gonna what, turn over every stone? That includes through trades. Peters and a 6th to the Rams for a 4th and next years 2nd. That’s good value of a player of his caliber. I get it, he’s a little bit of a headcase, so if you wanna pass. Ok I’m good with that. Now aqib to the Rams for a 5th (Talk about aggressive, I’m excited to watch what this Rams defense looks like). Especially in a year where we have so many picks. Realistically what does a 5th rounder bring us compared to what Talib would bring. I understand serious cuts are required to be so aggressive, but I feel like to make a serious run you have to have a legitimate number one guy. Maybe they sign a top end guy through free agency, but I’m worried on relying on yet another rookie.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

That is pretty good value for a contender like the Rams. Aqib is 32, but still good. On a trade, he comes with an $11M cap hit this year, but $8M next year, and no dead money. Not sure we could afford $11M.

Rams signed Sam Shields as well.

John Kirk's picture

Excellent post, Hagster. Watching two guys who can play CB get acquired via trade makes me terribly jealous. Plus, they take a chance on Sam Shields who I bet can still run like the wind.

Now, Sherman is out there. He's was a better player for Seattle than ANY of the guys we haven't moved on from or done anything with for us. Again, a huge position of need. Plus, he's badly injured. Screams Green Bay doesn't it? What team will snap him up that isn't us?

We've seen several defensive stars find new homes and none of them have come to Green Bay because we'd rather hold onto our own? Waiting for Aaron to sign?

Every stone. Riiiiiiiiiight.

John Kirk's picture

I always smile when I read all these tales of woe when other teams sign FAs only because we don't. That confirmation bias is strong and sought after just because we know we won't be aggressive and won't do what teams that are trying to win will do.

What would you rather have your team do? Sign FAs in the pursuit of winning or not sign them in the pursuit of what exactly?

Hard not to be jealous of what the Rams are doing or the Eagles who win the SB, have Wentz coming back, and then go get Michael Bennett in the pursuit of getting better so they can repeat.

What are we doing? Justifying holding on to our "good" players who are paid like elite stars? The fact that Brian didn't come in and blow out some of the old guard tells me he's not much different than his predecessor. It's clear he's a weak man. Taking the job on the condition he couldn't hire and fire and had to run everything by Murphy? I'm sorry, but that's...pathetic. As was reported by Dougherty, Ron would've never even interviewed under such a scenario yet Brian accepted those terms? W E A K. No way we win with a weak man in the big chair.

I used to think I'd have to wait until Ted left to enjoy being a fan of this team again but now I know I'll have to wait until Mark Murphy is gone and Brian as well. I honestly feel for the fans of this team. Of course, the rebuttals will be how great we've had it with all our "winning". Yup...all those SB appearances over the last 20+ years. A I'm ready for the 80's again. We have the management in place, but the QB is hindering the return to 80's football.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I read your posts with interest, JK. Have to say that it seems premature to judge Gute. I don't share your belief that we should blow up the team in 2018. I think if we got a couple of guys to extend and reduce cap hits that would be good management. True, Gute's interest in Wilkerson tips his hand that he isn't going to cut a bunch of guys, most likely anyway. But I think Gute might fairly be judged to have some moxie while extending instead of blowing up the team.

John Kirk's picture

Hey JR...congrats, again, on the writing gig. You're an upgrade.

I understand the premature comment but not as it applies to him being weak. That is something done and over and not rewritable. That's DVD-R not DVD-RW.

Additionally, he's been in charge for a few months now and he's signed the slow RB from N. Illinois, Bouagnon. We've watched teams improve themselves while we let Mo get on a plane out of town knowing our defense is terrible and has been. This is Ted speed all over again.

Brian hasn't decided what to do with our glut of overpaid aging "good" players? How long does that take? Not this long. OR...Has he decided and the decision is to just proceed as is?

Initially, I wasn't for a total rebuild believing we could cut our dead weight "good" players and find some real difference makers with that money. Instead, we're in a holding pattern that feels way too familiar. If we haven't figured out a plan by now and haven't started executing it there's little to be hopeful about. Brian needed to set a new tone a new direction. Show his team, the league, and the fans things are going to be different. I can't tell you how funny it is to me reading headlines like how MM loves Brian's new approach to FA. It's new? In lip service, yes, but not in practice.

What is undisputable is the fact that Rodgers value will never be higher than it is right now. Further, there will not be another team with picks 1 and 4 in Round 1 to get in trade. Also, not in dispute Rodgers extension is going to be weighty and limiting. Plus, not in dispute that our cap is not in good shape. Is Aaron going to be Aaron 3 years from now? Debatable. Go for it, now, and try to win a couple over the next two years, or just start over. The in between is where we have lived way way too long.

Just to be clear, I'm only for a rebuild because I don't see a way to make this a winning situation short of blowing out all those "good' players. Watching the Rams and Eagles is like watching new versions of Seattle and SF whom we also couldn't get by due to them having QB's on rookie deals. Now, it's Goff and Wentz instead of Kaepernick and Wilson. The advantage is heavily with Philly and LA and will be for the next 3 years. That just so happens to be Aaron's window for the greatness we've seen. I don't believe Brian Gutekunst has it in him to match Philly and LA blow for blow. He's already gotten us further behind them while they act and he does not.

I'll take my chances starting over vs. trying to convince myself that if I squeeze the rag hard enough I can get a life giving drop of water from it. Most of the posts I've seen from reasonable fans like yourself paints the road to actually being able to win as incredibly difficult filled with caveats. Pull back and look at Philly and LA and ask yourself honestly if they don't have an overwhelming advantage and then ask if you honestly believe we're overcoming it? I think the honest answer is very unlikely, but the temptation is still there. We can play the lotto all day but the odds aren't in our favor.

Just rebuild. Ted created this nightmare and Brian can't save us squeezing the rag.

Royalty Free GM's picture

And he is gone. (Rams, 5th pick)

It might come to this... ;) We hit and miss all the good ones again... and then sign TE Bennett in a hurry . Yuck.

carlos's picture

Talib goes to Rams who are going to be hard to beat. Rams and Eagles not sitting on there hands.

dobber's picture

Eagles have a lot of selling to do, yet.

Rams are going to regress offensively in 2018.

dobber's picture

First time 'round for Gutekunst, and I'm going to give him credit for having a plan. With the current cap situation of the team, I don't think he GETS the job without having been able to articulate a plan in his interview. Maybe Talib, a very good player but aging with 'personality issues' and a big contract, fit into that plan...maybe he didn't. Perhaps Wilkinson would have fit into that plan. Perhaps Wilkinson was an opportunity that the neophyte GM felt was too good to not kick the tires on. Who knows--and, frankly, who CARES anymore--if TT would've brought Wilkinson in for a visit. Whatever the case, let's not get too bent out of shape until we see how the big picture pans out. Four months of player procurement, yet, folks.

worztik's picture

Too many neophyte GMs here that want every big name, scratch that, “recognizable” name player that gets cut or traded to be signed by GB. Our team is SPECIAL because we build a team and stick with the players for the most part! TT may have (did) keep some players too long and it hurt us at times but, between Capers and TT that combination was just a winning team killer! FA hasn’t even started yet and we’re already in a tizzy!!! (I like tizzy!) Let us all
R-E-L-A-X and enjoy the ride... good things will come to those who wait... I heard that somewhere!!!

Lare's picture

Eagles and Panthers make a trade this afternoon. Landry just traded to Cleveland.

No trades by Gutekunst/Thompson yet.

Lare's picture

Trading Randall for Kizer?

I hope Gutekunst has some plans to improve the CB position.

Royalty Free GM's picture

He already did improve by trading Randall away.

But for sure there is something new coming... who it will be...

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