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Packers: Trade Deadline Deals for RBs Jackson, Williams Unlikely

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Packers: Trade Deadline Deals for RBs Jackson, Williams Unlikely

Thanks to the implications of Hurricane Sandy, the Green Bay Packers and the rest of the NFL have two extra days to make a deal before the league-imposed deadline.

The NFL pushed the deadline back to Thursday at 4 p.m. ET, mostly because league operations have all but shut down on the Eastern seaboard. The original deadline would have been Tuesday.

But even with two extra days, don't expect the Packers to make a move for reportedly available running backs Steven Jackson or DeAngelo Williams.

ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported Sunday morning that both the St. Louis Rams and Carolina Panthers were fielding calls for their veteran backs before the deadline. The Packers, struggling to run the football without Cedric Benson (Lisfranc injury, new IR), were tied to speculation on both players. The two also reported that Packers GM Ted Thompson is a long-time admirer of Jackson, and had several times in the past attempted to deal for Jackson with "significant" trade packages.

However, Both Jackson and Williams have big obstacles that make it unlikely that Packers Thompson would pull the trigger on a move now.

We'll start with Jackson.

Remember back just two years. The Packers, void of Ryan Grant because of a season-ending ankle injury, joined the bidding for then Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch. Thompson stayed strong on not overpaying for Lynch, and the Seattle Seahawks eventually made the right offer to get the running back headed west.

Why would he put together a similar package for Jackson, a less talented, older and more worn down version of Lynch? And at an equal price?

Keep in mind: Lynch was 24 years old and had less than 750 career carries when Thompson showed interest in 2010. Jackson is 29, in his ninth season and the recipient of over 2,200 carries on his NFL body. He's no longer getting a full workload in St. Louis because of nagging injuries over the last couple of season. The fact is that Jackson is an aging, regressing asset that will likely end up costing something near what Lynch did in 2010.

He's also owed what's left of $3 million in guaranteed money in 2012.

And as an unrestricted free agent this summer, the Packers would essentially be spending draft picks on a rental running back. That combination certainly doesn't sound like one Thompson would be interested in.

What about Williams?

His contract is the big hurdle.

Just two years into a five-year, $43 million deal, Williams is owed $17.25 million over the final three years of his (ridiculous) deal. He'd also cost $2.6 million in guaranteed money on the 2012 cap. The Packers attempting to fit those numbers into their cap over the next several years would put Thompson into an even bigger money pinch with more important contracts due for renewal.

More than likely, the Packers would have to either re-structure his deal completely or cut Williams outright before the 2013 season. It's the situation Carolina is facing right now, which is why Williams is even available for trade in the first place.

Williams is no spring chicken, either. At 29 years old, Williams is also reaching the twilight of productive running back years. In seven seasons, he has over 1,000 career carries and a season-ending foot injury back in 2010 on his record.

Like the rest of the Packers backfield—which has no back averaging over 4.0 yards per carry—the production has been sparse for Williams in 2012.

In Carolina this season, Williams has averaged just 30.0 yards a game and 3.4 yards a carry. There's no guarantee that either he or Jackson would immediately solve what ails the Packers run game.

The argument for a deal continues to crumble when adding in the fact that just about everyone from Mike McCarthy to Aaron Rodgers has said that Benson is expected back sometime this season. Hastily dealing for an expensive back to bridge that gap between now and then just doesn't fit how this front office works.

Remember, Benson was a zero-risk, zero compensation-needed investment. He cost dimes and nickels and there was no team that needed draft picks in return. Comparing Thompson's signing of Benson then to a deal for Jackson or Williams now is foolish. They are two different situations.

Besides, the Packers issues in running the football go much deeper than just the player receiving the handoffs. If there was just one problem, the Packers would have already fixed it. Across the board, the Packers need improvement.

Thursday at 4 p.m. will pass, Williams will stay in Carolina, Jackson in St. Louis. The Packers will continue pushing forward with Alex Green and James Starks while Benson's foot heals.

It's not the perfect situation—nothing about the Packers' run game is right now—but a panicked, high-risk move for Jackson and Williams just doesn't appear very likely.

 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (58) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jmac3444's picture

way to be a wet blanket, Zach

Denver's picture

Hope Starks gets a chance. Not sure what MM see's in Green, but I'm sure not seeing it...guess that's why he's the coach and not me.
Has TT ever made an in-season trade? I can't think of one...think Grant was just prior to season if I remember right.

Pack Fan in ATL's picture

Agreed. I just don't understand what Starks could have done to be so deep in the dog house that he has only gotten 3-5 snaps in the last 2 games being healthy while Green has struggled mightily.

Even if it is the line, let Starks see what he can do with it. What's the worst that could happen? We gain 1 yard instead of 2?

Don Nutter's picture

They should play Dujuan Harris. He averaged over 4.9 yards per carry last year in pre season. But he was with the Jaguars MJD is the main guy. I have watched Dujuan Harris since he was in High School. Fast Scat Back

kennypayne's picture

"Thompson stayed strong on not overpaying for Lynch, and the Seattle Seahawks eventually made the right offer to get the running back headed west."

I'd love to know what the author means by "not overpaying for Lynch." Seattle sent Buffalo a 4th rounder so presumably the Pack, which had a better record, would have had to trade their 2011 3rd round pick. Interestingly, TT used his 2011 3rd rounder on a RB -- Alex Green.

Anyone think Thompson "stayed strong" on not overpaying for the leading rusher in the NFL so we could see Green run for 2 yards a carry?

Zach Kruse's picture

In Thompson's mind, in 2010, that would have been overpaying. Easy to look back on that now with perfect 20/20 hindsight.

Thomas Hobbes's picture

Hey Zach,

One thing that might need to be considered with Jackson is that he might be willing to restructure his contract for the right team, i.e. a team that is contending for a Super Bowl, like the Packers. Jackson has always been a consumate professional, but one would have to think that he wants to win a Super Bowl before his career is up. I'm not sure how guaranteed money works after a trade, but he might play at a discount. Even with that I doubt Thompson will pull the trigger, but the money can be massaged all sorts of ways where the financial hit isn't too bad for the Packers.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I agree. Everyone wants to look back at what the team should do.

How many times do these trades work out for both parties? I was one that was hoping the Packers would have traded for Lynch but it didn't happen.

I don't believe Thompson will trade for anyone. Of the RB's listed I would say Jackson based on contract. Although what does he have left? In about 5 weeks? we'll be getting Benson back. I believe TT will wait till then to get his RB back.

kennypayne's picture

Yep always easy to look back. However, does that mean we should not praise TT for taking ARod when Favre was on the roster, selecting Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, etc. because that would constitute "looking back"? I mean, everyone knew Lynch was available and the Pack needed a back (heck even ARod lobbied for him) and I think TT's failure to pull the trigger on that deal coupled with the lack of production (to date) out of the 3rd round back he chose instead of trading that pick to Buffalo is worthy of criticism.

Jamie's picture

Apples and oranges. 1) Lynch was also a documented idiot, 2) he wasn't to that point near what he's shown in SEA, both of which = 3) he wasn't worth a 3rd rd pick. What eventually happened to that pick has nothing to do with what TT should have done in dealing for Lynch. Two separate things...

Mike's picture

Thank you! Also, there's no guarantee he would have resigned - anyone remember Andre Rison?

Evan's picture

I actually like the idea of a Steven Jackson rental. That'll drive the price down and the Packers won't be committed to any contract going forward.

Derek in CO's picture

Is Ryan Grant that washed up now they won't even give him a sniff? At least he's familiar with the team, offense, etc. Wouldn't cost much.

some guy's picture

Ryan Grant was a Washington Redskin for one carry this season. That was all it took for them to know he was done, and compared to McCarthy, Shanahan is just a liiiiittle bit better at getting something out of nothing in the running game. So yeah, he's done.

woodson4president's picture

If we just woulda grabbed skittles last year :(

packsmack25's picture

Disagree about Jackson. Williams is absolutely impossible because of that insane contract, but the hurdles listed for Jackson aren't hurdles at all. The Rams aren't going to get anything for him if they don't trade him and likely know that his age is an issue, so I could definitely see a scenario in which they take a low-ball offer for him. And comparing a guy like Jackson to Lynch is ridiculous. Jackson is a proven Pro Bowl talent, and a model citizen. Lynch was a young, unproven, miscreant at the time of the deal.

BrianD's picture

Exactly. I see a conditional 6th or 7th getting this deal done. It frees up money for St. Louis ($3 million is no small chunk of change for an owner to be paying) and removes any hard feelings for their young running backs to get playing time.

Mike's picture

Definitely! I don't see why so many people say the Rams wouldn't go for that. They'd be getting a guaranteed (as opposed to compensatory) pick for an aging, semi (nagging) injury prone RB.

MarkinMadison's picture

"The Rams aren’t going to get anything for him if they don’t trade him and likely know that his age is an issue, so I could definitely see a scenario in which they take a low-ball offer for him."

I think that is the key right there. I don't think the Rams will get a 4th for a 29-year-old back with high mileage. They will accept less. Lynch may have been a young punk who hadn't proven anything, but he was worth a 4th (or a 3rd) because he was a young punk with low miles, a big body, and talent. He was a boom/bust pick, but you could say that about a lot of guys that TT could have drafted with a 3rd or 4th round pick.

Mike's picture

That is true. I think TT will kick the tires by offering a pick in the range of 4th-6th. Of course, if he can get Jackson for a 6th pick it's a no-brainer. But I get the feeling that St Louis is at that point the Packers were in 08, possibly a little less since they have no o-line. So the lower pick could work since the want pieces to possibly trade up.

I'm assuming that St Louis will start by asking for something around a 4th, but could resort to accepting a 5th or 6th since that's likely equal to or more than they'd receive in terms of compensatory picks if Jackson walks in FA. Of course, I won't hold my breath over this as I've learned one thing the last seven years - TT doesn't do in-season trades.

Perhaps TT will play this scenario differently as he may be nearing the final few years of his tenure as GM (dude is getting up there in years). He may elect to go all in for the championship if he and McCarthy feel that Jackson could put this team over the top! Also, getting Jackson now wouldn't be that bad in terms of learning the scheme since the bye is next week!

Nick perry's picture

That would require for Ted to admit he totally blew it with the lynch trade and green draft pick. I still wake up from bad dreams on that move!

packeraaron's picture

How did he "blow it"? They won the Super Bowl.

Mike's picture

Exactly. There is no shame in that pick. TT was expecting Starks could step up and carry the load, which he did on the way to SB XLV. The following draft he picked Green in the hopes that he would replace what Brandon Jackson gave the team, which I believe Green does and is far better at (pass pro, screen game). However, Starks has not panned out as hoped and Green hasn't shown the ability to carry the load yet (I say "yet" as Green is still basically a rookie). So it's not as though TT messed up. Don't forget, Lynch was getting traded because of his off field issues, something TT has never been one to dip into.

some guy's picture

Uh, say what? Are you suggesting 2011 3rd round pick Alex Green was key in winning the 2010 Super Bowl? The idea is that *going forward*, a 2011 3rd for Lynch was a better idea than using it on Green. You can't wave that away by talking about a Super Bowl that happened while Green was still in college.

Jamie's picture

Yet you blame TT not only for knowing in 2010 what he was going to do with that 3rd rd pick, but also that he should have known that the guy he should have known he was taking was not going to rip shit up in the league in his first two years (missing one to injury), while winning the SB, all while Green was still in college. See one side much??

RC Packer Fan's picture

Its really not fair to compare Alex Green to Marshawn Lynch. Alex Green was the 3rd round pick that would have gotten Marshawn Lynch. But at the time TT had no clue who he would be picking in the 3rd round or if he would have kept that pick. What if he made a deal and packaged that pick to move up to take someone like a Clay Mathews type of player. I also think its hard to compare the 2 especially when Green is coming off of a torn acl last year. Wait till next year with Green to determine how good he is or can be.

In 2010, I liked the idea of bringing in a young RB that could have lifted the team. However, if they did bring him in does it still guarantee that they win the Super Bowl that year? I said just after they didn't get him, that TT will never win a super bowl because he isn't willing to do what it takes to get the team over the top. I was wrong.

Sometimes its the moves that you don't make that are the best for the team.

The question for me to you is, Would you rather have Marshawn Lynch or the Super Bowl win?

mark's picture

Chris Ivory.

Rocky70's picture

TT won't do a thing because Benson will return with his 3.5 ypc average to finish another dismal rushing year for the Pack. Green, Starks & even Johnny (the new kid) White will be enough until then.

Everyone knows (or should know) that the fate of the GB Packers rides on the arm of AR. A running game ???? Maybe in season 2013 or when pigs can fly.

PadLevel's picture

Exactly. We could have Barry Sanders or Jim Brown at their peak and would still not have a running game. Someone need to teach our OL to run block. Doing lip service that run attempts are more important will give us just that - run attempts and zero or negative yards

packsmack25's picture

Apparently you never saw Barry Sanders play. He never had a line.

Pack Fan in ATL's picture

+1

Nononsense's picture

I hear TE Jared Cook is asking to be traded from the Titans. Wonder if they would be interested in shipping him and a draft pick to GB is exchange for JerMichael Finley?

NoWayJose's picture

Screw the draft pick, swap 'em straight up! And send flowers to the GM for taking his $7M deal next year!

MadMan's picture

All points are well taken but it has to be said. The Packers O-line is atrocious at run blocking and the zone blocking scheme has not worked well in Green Bay. It's soooo painful watching RB's running up the backs of blockers.

Fish/Crane's picture

Marcus Jones Drew....in the air.

woodson4president's picture

Yeah. We all just need to face the sad facts...we wont get anybody new. Ced was our new RB n that was ruined by injury. And i agree that it isnt our rb that makes us get 50 yrds or less a game....its our garbage line. Doug Martin couldnt save our run game.

pkrNboro's picture

An article at GBPG caught my attention:
"Notebook: Finley aims for bigger role, better chemistry with Rodgers"

After reading it, I wondered...
(1) if the Finley experiment goes into year 2
(2) does Finley have any trade worthiness to offer

I understand you need to carefully gauge what you read as well as consider the source, but I think Demovsky & Dougherty are credible.

They quoted Finley, as follows:
"I’ve got my swag back"

"My head’s right"

"Like I tell Rodgers, ‘The more that we’re different, the more that we’re alike.’"

"It was exciting, and you could tell I was comfortable out there"

"I know he had my back"

IMO...
...these are just some flat-out, weird-ass things to say.

I get how premiere athletes may come from impoverished backgrounds as well as how they may coast through school, from puberty onward. The combination of arrogance and ignorance makes for unusual sound bites and interviews -- some of which are stupid, others downright funny, usually (and unknowingly) at the expense of the athlete.

But the things I see written here are symptomatic of much larger concerns: more mental-health than football/slump/chemistry.

Five years ago, he was telling the media that coaches didn't know how to use him and that QBs couldn't pass to him correctly.

A couple of years ago, he's yapping about a takeover.

This season, he's publicly complaining about chemistry with an NFL MVP.

And now this?

This guy is a fucking fruitcake and they'd be wise to dump his ass in the most expeditious manner possible.

Pack Fan in ATL's picture

I've been a huge Finley supporter the last couple years, but he is making it stupid hard to continue backing him. His play is off and yet he keeps running his mouth.
I have never been one to bag on a player just because of running off at the mouth, but dude really just needs to pipe down and not turn it back on until he has a 60 minute performance somewhere close to Gronk .

BrianD's picture

For all of you who are looking back at the Lynch contract, consider that he may not even be in Green Bay this year if the trade had been made. Before last season he signed a 4 year deal worth $31 million. That's an average of $7.75 million per year. Imagine paying that amount of money for a complimentary part of the offense.

Mike's picture

Good point. The argument could be made that he may have taken a pay cut to stay with a contender. But at the same time, Lynch was 24 at the time and at that point, players want to make sure they get their money. "Hometown Discounts" tend to occur when the player is on their last contract or so, not their first large one following the end of their rookie deal...

Wenis's picture

I agree completely pkrNboro. Can we please get rid of him and while were at it get rid of Clubfoot Crosby and Saturday.

KurtMc's picture

The Jackson makes sense for these reasons.

1) We don't expect Jackson to carry 25x a game.
2) The threat of a running game opens a already great passing game.

Opposing D's do not respect Green or Starks.

Jackson would be happy to restructure. It fits our current cap.

Pull the trigger Ted

KurtMc's picture

Ted, better yet trade the nut case 88 and Jennings for Run DMc.

Mike's picture

Too injury prone, last thing we need in Green Bay now.

Jack's picture

Jennings and Finley are just as injury prone as he is. I think it would be a great deal. Never would happen, but still

packsmack25's picture

Jennings is injury prone?

Jamie's picture

Had to do a fact check on Williams and Jackson being the same age. Yep, though drafted four years after Jackson, Williams is actually three months older. Cheaper, "younger", Jackson makes some sense.

Brut Slap's picture

No more has been rb's, the packers need to scout them out better. Ever since TT took over as GM, the Packers have been terrible at finding quality running backs. The thing that upsets me about it is that it almost looks like stubborn arrogance about how they evaluate talent for that position. Brandon Jackson a second round bust, Alex Green- a 3rd down back at best, and James "i cant stay healthy" Starks. That is Ted's effort toward drafting a ground game. Obviously doing it through the draft doest seem to work, so i guess im in favor of picking up someone else's hot garbage.

Cole's picture

Wasn't Seattle's 3rd round pick higher than ours anyway? So we would have had to put in a third and something else.

Mike's picture

They sent a 4th rd pick. TT wanted to send a 4th but since ours was a lower pick Buffalo wanted our 3rd. But since Seattle was - at the time of the trade - a team with a crummy record, their 4th round pick was more appealing.

Brut Slap's picture

Haha, how about green bays flu shot JFin

Cole's picture

That said, if you can get Jackson for a 5th or lower, pull the trigger. We can't afford to lose many more games and we know McCarthy's horrible play calling isn't going to change so we need a solid back to keep the chains moving.

You know when your only recourse in converting 3rd and 1's is to throw deep bombs down the sideline hoping for pass interference that your running game is shot.

Mike's picture

Couldn't agree more. 5th round and later picks tend to be flyer/crap shoot picks anyway. So if that pick helps us win a Super Bowl, go for it!

Brut Slap's picture

Amen

Brut Slap's picture

I like the defensive improvement compared to last year, but dedicating the entire 2012 draft on defense was a little knee-jerk to me. But it doesn't surprise me that they draft how the play,... inconsistent.

Chad Toporski's picture

I can't believe people are seriously considering the notion that the Packers would trade for Steven Jackson or any other big-name veteran RB at this point.

Have we learned nothing, people?

Hands's picture

Maybe Blount, just don't see anyone else that fits the Packer's situation.

Lou's picture

How about another perspective on running the ball better ? Had Sherrod stayed healthy they could have had an option of moving Lang to center and have Sherrod replace him at guard. In the same fain, why not give EDS a chance at center, everyone knows Saturday is their weakest link, the only thing he does adequately is pass block, he has no speed to reach block and can't move anyone in the run game. In addition, give Barclay and Van Rotten an occasional snap to asses their potential. Marginal backs without instinct (Green) can look good behind a solid offensive line.

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