The Green Bay Packers emerged from the 2022 NFL trade deadline empty-handed, putting the pressure on quarterback Aaron Rodgers and head coach Matt LaFleur to turn the offense around. However, the inactivity at the deadline wasn’t for a lack of effort.
Packers’ general manager Brian Gutekunst made numerous calls in the weeks and days leading up to the trade deadline on Nov. 1. While Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks was never on the radar – owed an $18 million base salary in 2023 – Green Bay targeted other offensive weapons.
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According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Packers called the Las Vegas Raiders regarding the possibility of a Darren Waller trade. While the idea was discussed, Las Vegas still viewed Waller as part of it foundation on offense and wouldn’t move him for the draft picks Green Bay offered.
- Darren Waller stats (2022): 16 receptions, 175 receiving yards, 10.9 ypc in five games
It marks the second time that Gutekunst attempted to acquire Waller. When Green Bay and Las Vegas first engaged in negotiations regarding a Davante Adams trade, the Packers wanted Waller included in the deal. When the Raiders refused, Gutekunst accepted 2022 first- and second-round picks.
The Packers also made a run at Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore. The 25-year-old is under team control through 2025 after signing a three-year, $61 million contract extension, but the Panthers weren’t interested in moving him.
Related: Green Bay Packers whiffed on multiple receivers at trade deadline
Green Bay Packers trade offer for Chase Claypool
Heading into Week 9, with just a few days remaining before the trade deadline, Green Bay emerged as the favorite to acquire Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Chase Claypool. While there were still other suitors, Pittsburgh seemed prepared to accept the Packers’ offer.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, all of that changed on Monday. The Chicago Bears offered their second-round pick to the Steelers for Waller. Prioritizing the likelihood of that pick being higher, Pittsburgh reportedly turned down Green Bay’s offer of its 2023 second-round pick and a late Day 3 pick.
It left Gutekunst in a situation where he either had to overpay for Claypool or allow Chicago to acquire him. With the inflated cost, Green Bay backed off its pursuit of Claypool and allowed him to land with the NFC North rival.
A day after the Packers came out of the trade deadline without any reinforcement, Rodgers told reports he viewed it as the front office sending a message to the locker room.
“That just sent the message to us that we’ve got to play with the guys we’ve got and win with the guys we’ve got. I think there’s still a lot of confidence in the guys in the locker room. I do feel like we need to get healthy.”Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers on inactivity at NFL trade deadline
Failing to add an offensive weapon will likely come back to hurt the Packers’ playoff chances, but the team was always several pieces away from being a Super Bowl contender. Ultimately, coming away with nothing instead of paying a hefty price for Claypool or Waller will likely be the best long-term move for Green Bay.