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Brian Gutekunst Is in the Hot Seat

We’re 11 days from the NFL draft and Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has yet to take any action to replace receiver Jordy Nelson, the Packers extremely productive all-purpose receiving threat for nearly a decade.

Aaron Rodgers has always required multiple years with a receiver before the relationship became productive. Because the Packers have so far failed to pick up a veteran receiver this offseason, it’s looking like they’ll have little choice but to select a receiver high in the draft.

Because there are few highly acclaimed wide receivers in this year’s draft, it spells double trouble for Gutekunst and the Packers. There might be another option, however.

April 20 is the deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets. This only means that if the Packers make such an offer, the RFA’s current team can match the offer and retain the player – it’s what happened when the Packers tried to steal cornerback Kyle Fuller away from the Bears.

Back on March 28, I anticipated this scenario. At that time there were seven restricted free agent wide receiver still available.

Before getting down to the slim possibilities, you need to know that the RFA market is nearing extinction. Seldom are offers made any more on RFAs, and even more seldom do such offers go unmatched by the player’s current team.

But it happens. In late April of 2017, for example, the Patriots made an offer on running back Mike Gillislee, which his current team, the Bills, did not match. Gillislee thus signed on for two-years and $6.4 million with the Pats. He went on to have an unremarkable year in New England.

With the deadline looming on RFAs, the most talked-about guy had been the Bears’ Cameron Meredith. Too late Brian – the Saints signed him on April 6, when Chicago chose not to match the Saints’ offer. Meredith got a two-year deal, for $9.6 million, with $5.4 million guaranteed. Did Gutekunst miss out here?

The Jets’ Quincy Enunwa is still an RFA. However, he’s been recovering from a bulging discs neck injury and surgery dating back to August 2017. He had a fine second year in 2016: 58 catches, 857 yards, four TDs. The other issue here is the Jets put the second-round tender on Enunwa. So if the Packers or anyone else wanted him and the Jets allowed Enunwa to sign elsewhere, they’d forfeit a second-round pick.

Not likely.

How about the Buccaneers’ RFA Adam Humphries? His second and third seasons with the Bucs have been nearly identical: 55 and 61 catches, for 622 and 631 yards. However, the 24-year-old is only 5’11” and 195 pounds – probably not what the Packers are hoping for size-wise. Randall Cobb already mans the slot, for now, and Humphries also received the second-round tender.

So, no chance.

Willie Snead, only 25, is the same size as Humphries. His first and second seasons with the Saints were highly productive: 69 and 72 catches, for 984 and 895 yards, and three and four TDs. Then in 2017, he was suspended three games for an auto collision involving a failed breathalyzer test. That, a hamstring injury and a muffed punt return left him with eight catches for 92 yards in 2017. Unlike the other guys we have discussed, Snead was offered the lowest tender. That means the Saints could match, but wouldn’t be owed any draft pick compensation if they didn’t.

That brings us to the Chargers’ Tyrell Williams. Twenty-six years old, 6’4” and 205 pounds, out of Division II Western Oregon, Williams in his second season with the Chargers had 69 catches for 1,059 yards, a 15.3 per catch average and eight TDs. In 2017, his third season, he dropped off to 43 catches for 728 yards and four TDs. Still, here’s a guy who went from undrafted and virtually unused his first year, to having almost 1,800 receiving yards in 2016 and 2017.

Why don’t the Chargers seem to value Williams? Well, they drafted Mike Williams seventh overall in 2017 and they need to develop him. Tyrell Williams is in the way of Mike Williams. Keenan Allen is the team’s No. 1 receiver and the team also has Travis Benjamin, whose release would trigger and unwelcome amount of dead cap money. There’s quality and value here.

That is, except for the fact that the Chargers put a second-round tender on Williams. The Packers aren’t going to give up that pick for Williams. A trade involving a lower pick, perhaps.

Last Chance for a Veteran?

Given the perilous state the Packers are in, I’d take a long look at Williams and gauge the Chargers’ interest in a deal. Also, if Gutekunst is willing to go small, statistics suggest that Snead could be a great value and a marked upgrade over Geronimo Allison, Trevor Davis or Michael Clark.

Here’s the arguably attractive aspect about the RFA market. You only wind up there by your current team indicating their interest in you is marginal. Any of the remaining receivers on the RFA list can likely be had at a pretty reasonable price. The only issue is the draft-pick compensation.

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. Skinny April 15, 2018

    Sign Dez and the problem is solved for this year.

    1. Cheese April 15, 2018

      No it isn’t. Dez Bryant is a handful of problems all by himself. Not to mention the Packers won’t pay him what he wants.

      1. PF4L April 15, 2018

        Could have kept Jordy for 4 or 5 million, and there is nothing to think about. Other than the steal you got.

        I’d like to apologze for making to much sense.

        1. Skinny April 15, 2018

          Jordy was done. Didn’t you watch over half the season? Guy literally was barely making it through games. Completely different players at this point in their careers.

          1. PF4L April 15, 2018

            So…..when Rodgers got hurt, it was the same time that Jordy lost it, and was done? A coincidence perhaps?

            Never stop educating me please.

          2. PF4L April 15, 2018

            Fails to spot?…hell, he’s looking right at him.

          3. Kato April 16, 2018

            Cheese, Jordy running wide open down the sideline doesn’t necessarily mean he is still the stud he was, that means busted coverage more than anything. But holy shit does it make Hundley look like Joey Harrington.

            If the packers do indeed sign another receiver for 5-6 million, I will be pissed. Because then it would make zero sense that they cut Jordy at that point when they could have restructured his deal for that money. While he has declined, I would still take him and his chemistry with Rodgers over some other guy that hasn’t played with Rodgers. Even if that player was Dez Bryant. Amazing. I went from sheer disbelief, to accepting it and reasoning the packers want to take the offense in a different direction, Jimmy Graham will open up things for Cobb, blah blah, to bewilderment again

          4. Cheese April 16, 2018

            It doesn’t matter if Nelson is wide open because of busted coverage or because he blew the doors off of the secondary. The point is that he’s WIDE OPEN and Hundley is staring right at him, yet doesn’t throw him the ball. Saying that this doesn’t prove that Jordy hasn’t lost a step is irrelevant. It does, however, prove why his production went down greatly. His quarterback was an idiot. You don’t need to be the fastest guy on the field to be productive. Davante isn’t some speed demon and he just got a Nick Perry style contract for being above average. Cobb is supposedly fast. Where the hell has his production gone? It’s been MIA for about four years. But Nelson leads the league in touchdowns until Hundley enters the scene and all of a sudden everyone wants to complain about how he lost a step? Fucking lunacy.

          5. Nihilist Packer Fan April 17, 2018

            Here’s some edumacation. Fire Gute!

        2. Mitch Anthony April 15, 2018

          Is the new GM just trying to be too smart by half. How come so many seen this as an option? Give Jordy a decent, respectful, but discounted offer. Work with the man and his agent, but don’t insult him. You may have retained him for right around that affordable range.

          Get Cobb to take the discount since it is a whole lot easier finding his replacement. Heck, you have the guy on the roster who can already do what Cobb does at a fraction of the price and his name is Montgomery!

          Indeed sir, you made too much sense. You often do.

          1. PF4L April 15, 2018

            TY…as you do as well.

          2. moooolla April 16, 2018

            In releasing Jordy, Gute had to have a plan in mind to replace him. No way is he stupid enough just to release the man as a panic response to getting some cap for Graham.

            Now was the plan:
            a) Foiled? As in he was targeting some veteran but things didn’t work out. Maybe, but if that is the case then their must be a back-up plan to this, otherwise this is a colossal fuck-up.

            b) That he likes what the Packers already have. I don’t think anyone sane can confidently say any of last years WR3 and below will step up to account for Jordy’s production this year.

            c) Graham. He will basically be Jordy’s replacement as he’s just a glorified wide receiver anyways. But again that is silly, you could have had Jordy at a third/half of the price and picked up another TE on the market.

            d) The draft. I can’t bring myself to believe that any WR rookie can come in and be productive in his first year in the Packer’s offense. Especially as all we keep hearing is the dearth of talent this year in the draft.

            e) Something else? Some more wheeling and dealing with draft picks, some late cheap vets…

            At this point, I just hope he has a plan.

          3. Kato April 16, 2018

            The packers are still operating in the fairy tale that Montgomery is a RB.

          4. FTS April 16, 2018

            WR are a dime a dozen.

        3. Turbo April 16, 2018

          Hey Jordy!

          i thought you went to the Raiders… enjoy your fun in the sun.

          Literally every other Wideout did fine with Hundley as QB. Maybe Rodgers was throwing Nelson open? You will never understand that but the nice thing about disagreements is we will see how he performs in Oakland wont we? If hes as good as advertised ill eat crow… now i doubt you will if he isnt.

          1. PF4L April 16, 2018

            Put Jordy on the right side, and Adams on the left, and see what happens.

            Hundley was constantly rolling to his right, you think he’s, A) looking for Jordy? Or B) talented enough to set and pass across the field to Jordy?

            I love you guys.

      2. Skinny April 15, 2018

        But hes got talent and hes never had a qb like Rodgers throwin to him.

        1. cz April 16, 2018

          She is right, Dez had Romo and Prescott.
          Rodgers and Bryant would be tough to stop.
          Why is Hundley still on the roster?
          They should cut him so he has a better chance elsewhere, cause he wont ever actually play for us anymore

          1. Cheese April 16, 2018

            Maybe you missed the article on NFL.com today mentioning that Dez was getting into fights with everyone in the locker room, even the players that were trying to help him. Sorry, we don’t need an overgrown manchild who is going to throw hissy fits and pick fights with the rest of the team. If the Packers wanted that they would have kept Martellus Bennett.

  2. PF4L April 17, 2018

    04/16/2018 at 3:55 am
    In releasing Jordy, Gute had to have a plan in mind to replace him.

    “Everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth.” – PF4L stolen from MD