Packers are idle before NFL trade deadline, but NFC North foes make deals
GREEN BAY – The NFL trade deadline came and went Tuesday afternoon and while there was some action in the NFC North, none of it involved the Green Bay Packers.
The trade market was active and among those changing teams was Pittsburgh wide receiver Chase Claypool, Detroit tight end T.J. Hockenson, Denver defensive end Bradley Chubb, Atlanta wide receiver Calvin Ridley and Indianapolis running back Nyheim Hines.
Of the three teams in the NFC North, the Packers were the only ones who did not make a move.
The Lions traded Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings in a rare intra-division deal that calls for the Vikings to send their second- and third-round picks in 2023 for Detroit’s fourth-round pick in ’23 and a conditional fourth-round pick in ’24.
Hockenson, a first-round draft pick in 2019, has one more year after this one left on his contract at $9.4 million guaranteed.
The Steelers traded Claypool to the Bears for a second-round pick. Claypool, a second-round pick in 2020, has one year left after this year at $1.5 million.
The Packers were rumored to be interested in Claypool but offering a second-round pick might not have been enough to acquire the tall, physical receiver. The Packers and Bears have the same record, but if the Packers were bidding for Claypool, the Steelers probably would have bet on the Bears having a worse record and, thus, receiving a higher spot in the second round.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had been kept abreast of general manager Brian Gutekunst’s discussions with other teams and said on the Pat McAfee Show that he was hoping a deal for an offensive player would be announced before the deadline.
He mentioned Claypool but didn’t say whether he thought the Packers were in the running for him.
“I was kind of hoping there was some news in this show we could break in live time,” Rodgers said. “That would be pretty cool. I have had some conversations with Brian in the last few weeks. I’m not surprised to hear that maybe we were involved in the Claypool (deal).”
The options for the 3-5 Packers to improve their offense are minimal now.
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is a free agent they could sign, but he is recovering from a torn ACL and might be ready to return at the end of this month. The Packers would have a lot of competition for his services and by the time he is able to have an impact it could be too late to save Green Bay’s season.
The Packers are likely to activate second-year running back Kylin Hill to the 53-man roster and while he is an explosive athlete, he’s coming off a torn ACL, hasn’t played more than a handful of regular-season snaps and would have to take snaps away from Aaron Jones or AJ Dillon to get onto the field.
As it stands now, the Packers’ wide receiver corps consists of veterans Sammy Watkins, Allen Lazard, Amari Rodgers and rookies Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson and Samori Toure.
In addition, veteran Randall Cobb is on injured reserve with an ankle sprain and will be eligible to practice after the Dallas Cowboys game Nov. 13.
Lazard missed the game against the Buffalo Bills last week with a left shoulder injury and is a question mark for this week’s game against Detroit.
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Doubs leads the team with 32 receptions for 296 yards and three touchdowns, Lazard is second with 26 catches for 340 yards and four touchdowns, and Cobb is fourth with 18 catches for 257 yards. No other receiver has more than eight catches.
Doubs is coming off one of his best games (four catches for 62 yards and a touchdown) and Toure took a big step forward (37-yard touchdown catch) in the loss to the Bills on Sunday. But Watson, who has missed considerable time with knee and hamstring injuries, suffered a concussion Sunday and might not be available this week.
The Packers rank 15th in the NFL in rushing and 22nd in passing. They are coming off their best running performance of the year (208 yards) and jumped up to a tie for 10th place in yards per attempt (4.9).
The Lions are 1-6 and have the 32nd-ranked defense in the NFL.