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The National Football League’s new league year doesn’t start until Wednesday afternoon, but the “legal tampering” period kicked off at 11 a.m. CDT Monday and the Green Bay Packers apparently have wasted little time jumping into the free-agent fray.
After Friday’s trade of starting cornerback Damarious Randall left a sizable hole in the secondary on a defense in general need of a major talent infusion, one may have thought first-year general manager Brian Gutekunst would be touching base with every defensive free agent who would take his call. But early on in the process it would appear Gutekunst is looking at the possibility of adding some speed and athleticism on the offensive side of the ball.
First, NFL Network reported the Packers appear to have interest in soon-to-be free agent wide receivers Allen Robinson of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Sammy Watkins of the Los Angeles Rams.
Robinson missed nearly all of the 2017 season after tearing his ACL in Week 1, while Sammy Watkins is coming off his lone year in Los Angeles after the former first-round pick was traded by the Bills last summer.
When healthy, Robinson has produced at a high level despite subpar quarterback play. Watkins failed to live up to his Top 10 status in Buffalo and was never a consistent part of a high-octane Rams offense that took the league by surprise last season. That said, the Rams are reportedly still interested in bringing Watkins back. It’s possible one or both receivers could use the Packers' interest to drive up their prices with other teams.
The interest in both would certainly suggest the Packers may be looking to move on from either Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb, two high-priced veterans who will be due over $10 million each in 2017.
One other early free-agent target reportedly is Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham.
Graham never quite lived up to the potential most saw for him in Seattle when the Seahawks traded for him back in 2015, but he would undoubtedly help the Packers at what is arguably the thinnest position on their offensive depth chart.