The Green Bay Packers (3-2) have been hit hard with injuries through their first five games of the season, but no position group was hit harder by the injury bug than the wide receivers on Sunday.
During their 19-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens (3-3), Packers wide receivers Randall Cobb and James Jones both suffered knee injuries. Jones could be out for possibly one game, while Cobb could be out for possibly one month.
With the injuries as of Tuesday morning, the Packers now only have two healthy wide receivers (Jordy Nelson, Jarrett Boykin) listed on the 53-man roster. The NFL‘s October 29 trade deadline is quickly looming with notable wide receivers rumored to be on the market.
New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon and Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt are all quality players on the market, so the Packers will make a deal for one of them, right? WRONG.
Leading off, the Giants are winless through six games and Nicks is a free agent at the end of the season, but trading a draft pick for a three-month rental is pointless for the Packers.
Secondly, Browns CEO Joe Banner reportedly told USA Today that Cleveland is “absolutely not shopping Josh (Gordon),” ending any kind of trade speculation.
Lastly, the Titans are willing to trade the struggling Britt, but the team has been reportedly asking for a third-round pick. Britt is also a free agent after the season, but compared to Nicks, Britt is far-less talented and he presents much greater trouble off of the field.
In baseball and basketball, mid-season trades are much easier to complete because players can easily sift into a role. In football, though, mid-season trades are rare because there are different terminologies which are difficult to adjust to for transitioning players.
For example, look at the Trent Richardson trade from the Browns to the Indianapolis Colts earlier this season. Richardson has been with the Colts for one month, and mentally he has often looked lost and confused out on the field (Richardson is only averaging 3.1 yards per carry with the Colts).
Packers General Manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy are two different people with one philosophy when it comes to building a football team: Draft and develop. Thompson and McCarthy are all about drafting talent and developing the players, not trading for talent and losing potential assets (draft picks) while building.
In 2010, the Packers reportedly had “interest” in trading for former Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch. Thompson refused to trade away a high draft pick, Lynch was traded to the Seattle Seahawks and the Packers won Super Bowl XLV only months later.
Since 2010, the Packers have won back-to-back NFC North Division titles and have been perennial contenders, even without the Beast.
Yes, the Seahawks have become one of the NFL’s best teams, but it wasn’t JUST because of the Lynch trade (see: Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, etc.).
Hypothetically speaking, if the Packers would’ve given up a second-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft to the Bills for Lynch, the Packers wouldn’t have Cobb right now. It’s blind luck, but draft picks like Cobb should make fans happy that the Packers didn’t ship off arguably the Packers’ most dynamic offensive weapon of the future.
Without Lynch, the Packers’ rushing offense was one of the NFL’s worst the previous three seasons, but a couple of draft picks (Eddie Lacy, David Bakhtiari) have changed the Packers’ offensive identity into becoming one of the NFL’s best on the ground in 2013.
Obviously, the Packers need some depth at wide receiver, but it won’t come via trade. The Packers will likely promote Myles White from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, and they could possibly make a run at a wide receiver on an NFL practice squad or take a shot on a free agent wide receiver like Brandon Lloyd.
As long as Thompson avoids giving up a draft choice to help the Packers overcome injury, a free agent acquisition could be enough help for Green Bay.
At the end of the day, the Packers are winning football games because they have a plan, they trust the plan and the process which helps the plan become successful. Just because a few key wide receivers get dinged-up doesn’t mean the team will do anything desperate.
Patience, not desperation, is the the Packer Way.