The average age of the Packers’ 2023 roster will drop significantly after the exit of Aaron Rodgers, but the team will also move on from Rodgers favorites Randall Cobb and Marcedes Lewis. Neither of the 30-something pass catchers will be back, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes. Both are now candidates to follow Rodgers to New York.
Despite the exits of Cobb and Lewis, and the drawn-out conclusion to Rodgers’ 18-year Green Bay run, the Packers do not want to turn their quarterback and pass-catching groups over to rookie-contract players entirely. The team is looking for veterans in its now-Jordan Love-centered quarterback room and alongside Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs at receiver.
Once Rodgers is traded to the Jets, Love and Danny Etling will be the only Packers passers on the roster. It certainly seems like Etling — a 2018 Patriots seventh-rounder who has bounced around since, though he has never seen game action — will not be the Pack’s first choice to back up Love.
“I think it would be nice to have someone who has some experience,” GM Brian Gutekunst said, via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman (subscription required). “We have a lot of respect for Danny and what he’s done and would be very comfortable with him in the two spot, but I think we’ll look at a lot of different options. Back when Aaron took over in 2008, I think it was Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn who we drafted that year and they were our backups, so I think we’ll kind of see how that works itself out.”
Indeed, 2008 draftees Flynn and Brohm served as Rodgers’ backups during his first season as Green Bay’s starter. Etling having a legitimate chance to be Love’s primary backup will hinge on who the team adds. Teddy Bridgewater and Blaine Gabbert remain available, as do Mason Rudolph and Trevor Siemian. Carson Wentz is on the market as well, and the former No. 2 overall pick and seven-year starter said he would be open to continuing his career as a backup.
The Packers adding a player with 92 career starts and only a few weeks as a backup would be an interesting path, considering the doubt Love has generated since his 2020 NFL arrival. Love has been in Matt LaFleur‘s system for three years, but he is obviously well behind his peers for game action. Love has thrown 83 regular-season passes.
The Sammy Watkins flier and Rodgers-demanded Cobb reacquisition aside, Green Bay has preferred to fill out its complementary receiver crew with younger players in recent years. The likes of Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown came through as Davante Adams supporting-casters. Each is now elsewhere, and the Packers — post-Cobb and Lazard — will need to add some receivers for depth purposes. LaFleur confirmed as much, per Schneidman (on Twitter).
Jarvis Landry‘s Saints deal expired, while ex-Falcon Olamide Zaccheaus and former Chiefs cog Byron Pringle are also free agents. As are Chosen Anderson and Kenny Golladay, the latter coming off a disastrous Giants tenure that will probably limit his earning potential henceforth. A host of tertiary-type wideouts have signed with teams in recent days, and given Rodgers’ status as a Jet-to-be, Odell Beckham Jr. — whom the Packers finished second for in 2021 — should not be viewed as a viable piece. The Packers could also look to the trade market for a vet to work alongside Watson and Doubs, but the pickings are slimmer in free agency two-plus weeks since the market opened.