All of this comes after a drama-filled off-season between Green Bay and reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers. Now that the Pack have to be seen as legitimate Super Bowl contenders, embattled general manager Brian Gutekunst is remaining proactive. That recently included signing Pro Bowl linebacker Jaylon Smith off the streets.
Whether it’s to cater to Rodgers and help lure him back to Green Bay beyond the 2021 season or to fill out holes, here’s a look at three moves the Packers should still make ahead of November’s NFL trade deadline.
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Green Bay Packers trade for Andrew Norwell
Offensive line issues remain persistent in Green Bay. It will help when star left tackle David Bakhtiari returns from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. However, there’s major issues inside with Green Bay starting two rookies. Adding someone of Norwell’s experience at guard would make sense.
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The one issue here is that Norwell, 29, is earning a base salary of $12 million with the Jacksonville Jaguars this season. That’s why the team was unable to trade him during the spring. He’d have to take a restructured deal to fit under the Packers’ salary cap.
Green Bay Packers trade for Xavien Howard
There’s no telling whether Howard will return to the struggling Dolphins next season after a major contract stalemate heading into the 2021 campaign. He’s under contract for three more seasons, but remains extremely unhappy about being underpaid.
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That’s where the Packers might be able to come into play. Sure Gutekunst would have to do some salary cap gymnastics here, but it could work. The idea of teaming Howard (19 interceptions past 37 games) up with Jaire Alexander is all sorts of sexy. Perhaps, Green Bay offers up struggling youngster Kevin King and a couple early-round picks to bring Howard into the mix. He’d help create the Packers’ version of the Legion of Boom.
Green Bay Packers trade for JuJu Smith-Schuster
It’s now high time that Pittsburgh looks to the future, one without future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers have lost three consecutive games and look more like a last-place team than a playoff contender. It might now get to the point that trading off veteran assets for draft capital makes sense for general manager Kevin Colbert. In terms of Smith-Schuster, he’s set to become a free agent next March and might not be in the Steel City for too long.
Green Bay would be banking on the still-young 24-year-old Smith-Schuster returning to earlier-career form after some recent struggles. Rodgers might just be the guy to do that with the former Pro Bowler lining up in the slot or opposite Davante Adams on the outside. If it works out, the Packers could consider locking Smith-Schuster up long-term ahead of free agency.