Cap Consequences Of Trading For Various Wide Receivers

There is a lot of talk about improving the Packers' personnel at the wide receiver position via trade.  The trade deadline is 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, October 29.  Many names have been mentioned and how those players might fit within LaFleur's scheme, but less attention has been given to the cap consequences.

So, I wanted to systematically list the name of every wide receiver I have seen mentioned as a potential target and list the cap consequnces attendant upon such a trade.  As a note, the Packers have roughly $9 million in cap space for the rest of 2019 and roughly $24 million in 2020 (plus any rollover from 2019).  The projections by Overthercap and Sportrac for 2020 have been increasing despite the lack of any obvious reasons.  Be that as it may, the operative numbers if the Packers make no major moves in 2019 are $9M in 2019 and a total of $33 million in cap space available come next March when free agency starts, minus any costs for moves made in 2019.

Below is a chart with the name of the player, the cap cost to the Packers in 2019 (assumes trade is effective after the Dallas game), the 2020 cap cost to the Packers (Asterisk means the Packers can maintain control in 2021 as well), the dead money cost to the trading team, and a very rough guess as to what draft pick or picks the Packers might have to give up.

Name: GB 19 $ GB 20 $ Dead $ Pick
A. J. Green (CIN) $8.45M N/A $3.72M 3
E. Sanders (DEN) $7.16M N/A $5.57M 3/4
R. Anderson (NYJ) $2.18M N/A None 2/4
D. Parker (MIA) $2.47M $5.0M $1.125M 2
C. Davis (TENN) $455K $3.9M* $10.43M 1
M. Sanu (ATL) 4.23M $6.5M $2.8M 4/5
J. Crowder (NYJ) $1.06M $9.0M* $7.12M 3/4
J. Reynolds (LAR) $455K $735K $324K 6
D. Pettis (SF) $544K $1.06M* $2.8M 4/5
W. Fuller (HOU) $1.3M $10.16M $1.4M 5
K. Coutee (HOU) $402K $660K* $547K 6/7
John Ross (CIN) $1.43M $2.79M* $4.93M 1+
A. Callaway (CLE) $402K $660K* $496K 3
A. Thielen (MIN) $568K $10M*^ $15.4M 1+

As much as some might think it pains me to admit it, talent and production are more important than cap consequences.  Teams generally will be okay if the player excells, even if said player is overpaid.

Name Rec Yds Ave /gm TDs Rec Yds Ave /gm Td
Green 46 694 15.1 77 6 Inj Inj Inj Inj -
Sanders 71 868 12.2 72 4 23 298 13.0 74 2
Anderson 50 752 15.0 54 6 10 115 11.5 34 0
Parker 24 309 12.9 28 1 10 201 20.1 50 1
C Davis 65 891 13.7 56 4 11 173 15.7 43 1
Sanu 66 838 12.7 52 4 24 239 10 60 0
Crowder 29 384 13.4 43 2 20 164 8.2 65 0
Reynolds 29 402 13.9 25 5 1 22 22 5 0
Pettis 27 467 17.3 39 5 5 27 5.4 9 1
Coutee 28 287 10.2 48 1 3 18 6.0 6 0
Fuller 32 503 15.7 72 4 14 183 13.1 46 0
Callaway 43 586 13.6 37 5 Sus Inj Sus Inj
Ross 21 210 10.0 16 7 16 328 20.5 82 3

Parker was the 14th overall pick in 2015.  Corey Davis was the 5th pick in 2015.  Will fuller was the 21st pick in 2016, and John Ross was the 9th pick overall in 2017.  Though they were selected high, they have been in the league now for several years, and their respective draft statuses should not really affect their trade value, except perhaps for Ross, taken in 2017 who is currently producing well.

Green is not on the PUP list but has not yet played this year due to injuries to the ligaments in his ankle.  Adam Shefter recently reported that Green is not expected back until at least week seven.  Robby Anderson was given the 2nd round tender by the Jets as an RFA, but he has been arrested twice.  In 2017, he was arrested at a music festival for resisting arrest with violence.  In 2018, Ross was arrested for reckless driving (105 M.P.H. in a 45 zone), eluding, resisting arrest, threatening an officer's family (Ross told the officer that he would have relations with the officer's wife and perform a specific act with her), plus 5 other charges.  Somehow, Anderson got probation and the NFL has never suspended him.  Antonio Callaway is serving a 4-game suspension for substance abuse (not PEDs).  Perhaps other players have issues of which I am unaware.

Some of these players would provide immediate help.  Well, one would hope.  Others have fallen out of favor and might be  longer term moves to acquire talent.  I do not know why Pettis, Reynolds, and Coutee have fallen out of favor.  I included Thielen simply because I saw him mentioned in an article recently.  I cannot imagine the Vikings trading him to the Packers, and given trading Theilen means taking a $15.4M dead money hit, I cannot imagine the Vikings trading Thielen at all.

All of the draft pick compensation is just a rough guess on my part.  I have been surprised before.  John Ross might take more than a first round pick to acquire.  He is on pace for 1,312 yards and has scored touchdowns on 27% of his receptions so far.  The Bengals would have to take a $10.43M dead money hit if they traded Corey Davis.  Sanders (age 32) and Green (age 31) are veterans, but Green is coming off an injury.  The Packers might want them as rentals, meaning the Packers send a 2020 second or third round pick and let them walk in order to recoup a third or a fourth in 2021.  More likely, acquiring Sanders, Green, or Anderson would involve a contract extension.

My own bet is that the Packers will wait to see how Kumerow, Shepherd, Valdes-Scantling and Allison perform in the Dallas game and perhaps one or two more games after that.  If Brian Gutekunst makes a move, I will be interested in whether it is for immediate help or something more long term.   

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Comments (26)

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Nick Perry's picture

October 04, 2019 at 05:39 am

John Ross is on IR yet AGAIN TRG. I think it just happened but IMO the Packers should stay far, far, far away from players like Ross with a long history of injuries.

If Reynolds could be had cheap he might not be a bad addition. I'd LOVE Sanders but not his cap hit next year. Plus he's getting up there in age and will soon start the decline 99% of WR's do.

Cory Davis would be interesting...It actually surprised me he's on your list.

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dobber's picture

October 04, 2019 at 07:23 am

Remember that LaFleur worked with Davis in Tennessee last season. That would have a lot to do with determining whether the Packers would have any intersest in him (were he to be available).

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 04, 2019 at 10:15 am

You're right, Nick: John Ross went on IR due to an injury in last Monday's game. I started the research for this a couple of days ago and just didn't see that news.

Oh well, that's what the comments section can be: collective wisdom!

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Nick Perry's picture

October 05, 2019 at 03:08 am

YES... I didn't mean that in a snarky kind of way TGR...If it came across like that I do apologize. Like all the writers here I appreciate ALL the content you guys provide. The only reason I knew was I had read about it 5 minutes before commenting!

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Razer's picture

October 04, 2019 at 06:33 am

Trading for a WR will not translate into 2019 production. We have to go through all that Rodgers talk of gaining the trust and comfort with the player, I can't recall any WR that didn't take at least two years before Rodgers would throw any love his way. Trading for a cap or contract hit without immediate return would be short sighted

Seems like we have enough catching horsepower, we just need to use them better - including our TEs. We also need to get the run game going so that every defense we face doesn't just play us to throw sideline passes. I think the answers are on this team - we just need to start using them.

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murf7777's picture

October 04, 2019 at 07:56 am

I would argue that those trust issues comes from low draft picks or UDFA and not an established vet.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 04, 2019 at 10:39 am

If the coaches trust the guy enough to put him on the field, the QB should trust him to do his job.

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dobber's picture

October 04, 2019 at 09:47 am

I agree in the sense that an MLB-type, 1-year rental might not generate dividends of the sort we'd be looking for. I would say that a deal at this stage would be more of an indictment on the WRs on the roster and their fit as time goes by. Injuries could cause them to pull that trigger sooner than later, but if they look at Allison, Kumerow, etc., and decide they looked good in camp but can't get it done, that will be more telling.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 04, 2019 at 11:37 am

Davis, Pettis, Coutee, and Callaway would (or could) all be under control through the 2021 season (IIRC and didn't mess up the research).

While many are thinking big, I am also thinking about players who might be able to give 40 to 50 receiving yards per game. Sanders might be the grand slam (but see Razer's comment), but someone who can produce much better than Allison, et al, and about as well as MVS, might work out, particularly if GB gets at least a cheap 2020 season as well.

Corey Davis is intriguing if his character checks out. He could be the grand slam, mid-level #1 WR. He could simply give 50 yards per game and be a nice #2 to go with MVS. He is under contract in 2019 ($455K) and 2020 ($3.9M) and has a fifth-year option, the amount of which has not been set. Since he was a top 10 pick, it is unfortunately for whatever the transition tag turns out to be: the last known amount for WRs is $16.78M. I am sure Tennessee would want a #1 and perhaps something more. Okay, that is a lot, but it is a negotiating tool as well.

Josh Reynolds from LAR is also intriguing. He is buried behind Kupp, Woods, and Brandin Cooks.

Full Disclosure: I am not a fan of MVS other than as a deep threat who puts up 600 to 800 yards per season (not bad for a 5th-rounder). I am already assuming GB uses a first on an OT and a 2nd on a WR if the available prospect talent aligns with GB's pick and no one drops unexpectedly. TBH, IDK what I'd do. No strong opinions. See what happens in Dallas, I suppose.

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edp1959's picture

October 04, 2019 at 12:33 pm

This trust thing is exactly what you are saying. It's talk and just plain BS. I have yet to see where anyone has shown proof it's true.

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SterlingSharpe's picture

October 04, 2019 at 07:21 am

Emmanuel Sanders is the type of WR who would be able to help/mesh sooner than most.

By the way, if my spotty memory is right, he and Antonio Brown were rookies on the Steelers when we played them in the Super Bowl.

That means they were part of the Draft Class of 2010 which also includes Dez Bryant, who was the #1WR taken in that draft & whom Ted Thompson had graded extremely high. Ted, for all his faults, did better than any GM in the past 2 decades when it came to drafting WRs.

Robby Anderson & John Ross should be in prison.

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dobber's picture

October 04, 2019 at 07:46 am

"Ted, for all his faults, did better than any GM in the past 2 decades when it came to drafting WRs."

So it's Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams
vs.
Terrance Murphy, Craig Bragg, Cory Rodgers, David Clowney, Brett Swain, Charles Johnson, Kevin Dorsey, Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Janis, Ty Montgomery, Trevor Davis, Malachi Dupre, and DeAngelo Yancey.

I might amend your statement to say that his miss rate on early (2) round WR was better than most. But, aside from Jones, he had a 100% miss rate after round 2.

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Leatherhead's picture

October 04, 2019 at 11:23 am

Several of those " misses" actually played In the NFL and produced, like Davis, Johnson, and Montgomery.

Last day of the draft guys are always longshots. We had a very good receiving group during Thompson's tenure, and Day 3 guys were going to have a tough time getting on the field..

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PatrickGB's picture

October 04, 2019 at 07:50 am

I was reminded that in 1996 we picked up a troubled player and went to the Super Bowl with him. Andre Rison. We cut him afterwards.

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dobber's picture

October 04, 2019 at 07:54 am

My recollection was that Rison was only on a contract for '96 and was allowed to walk (he signed with the Chiefs) after the season.

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murf7777's picture

October 04, 2019 at 07:54 am

Although, I stated I would like Green or Samuels yesterday, my thought is to wait a couple weeks to see how others perform. We might be pleasantly surprised. If the choice was WR or run stoppage personnel I’d take the later.

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Guam's picture

October 04, 2019 at 09:02 am

I was talking with a couple of doctor friends (one of whom is a podiatrist) and they both opined that turf toe is a really tough injury and has a very slow and uncertain recovery period. D. Adams might be missing or limited in his effectiveness for longer than the Packers are letting on. As much as I don't like the idea of tying up cap space for a veteran WR, it might be necessary. Can the Packers survive the next month or more with the current receiving group given the toughness of the schedule?

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dobber's picture

October 04, 2019 at 09:49 am

I had a turf-toe type injury once, and it took forever to get over it. Not so much the initial injury, but reinjury was really the problem.

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murf7777's picture

October 04, 2019 at 01:13 pm

After Sunday, our next two games are Detroit and Oakland at home, so I think waiting a couple of weeks to find out what we have in Receivers without Adams is a good idea. The Away Dallas game is arguably the toughest of the three game stretch and adding someone today won't help for Sunday anyways. So, in 16 days, we will have a better idea of Adams injury and how the other receivers performed. I'd rather not give up the SC and draft capital resources any earlier then necessary. After two weeks, it still will give us add'l ammo for the 2nd half of season, which has a tough set up with many away games. If anything, bring in some run stopping support with our capital. Defense does win championships over 80% of the time. Now, if our receivers fall flat in the next three games, which I doubt then before the end of October trade deadline make a move. Even, with average receivers I think Detroit and Oakland at home are very winnable and we will be favored in both.

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Favreisgod's picture

October 04, 2019 at 02:22 pm

This is an easy one. Don't trade for a WR - Bring back Jordy Nelson. Why? Let me count the ways:

1) Cobb, not Jordy should have been cut last year
2) He had a good year with Carr throwing to him
3) He said he'd have a hard time saying no if Rodgers asked him to come back.
4) I'm sure he's stayed in football shape - just in case.
5) He'd be inexpensive and we wouldn't lose a draft pick
6) This is the biggie - He and Rodgers have esp! Speed isn't the issue as we've seen many old receivers have productive years when they got older and slower. The chemistry between Jordy and Rodgers would pay instant dividends
7) Our newbies aren't working out well so adding Jordy at the number 4 position would be great.
8) See Donald Driver for justification of this type of move.

Edit

And trade Jimmy Graham & a late round pick to N.O. for Cook

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sam1's picture

October 04, 2019 at 04:58 pm

Jordy is DONE and Over the Hill! Get over it!

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fastmoving's picture

October 04, 2019 at 01:46 pm

we have more than enought cabelble WRs. watch the film, its not their fault...…
no WR in the world would change that.

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Razer's picture

October 04, 2019 at 02:27 pm

Totally agree. A change of direction by our QB and the coaches bring a lot more catching potential into play. OR, we could go out and get an expensive WR from some other team that gets ignored. New England changes WRs and TEs like underwear and the break-in period is a matter of games not seasons

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Rak47's picture

October 04, 2019 at 04:38 pm

Very nice article TGR, excellent charts. I must say I agree with you 100%. I think Gute will wait at least until after the Cowboys game before making any moves so he can see how his guys respond/play under pressure on the road. If guys ball out and play well, I don't expect any move to be forthcoming. However, if they falter badly Gute could be looking to make a move sooner rather than later. Green and Sanders concern me as one year rentals for such a steep price that will be too old to resign for any real money. The only other guy on that list who is a proven #1 is RobbIe Anderson. Because of his age, speed, and contract along with playing for the Jets, he appears to be the best option for the Packers if they can swing it. I think Sanders and Green would also help this year but without question would be gone next year. Trading for Green may be smart because if he plays well he will command a big contract next year, and the Packers would have the best chance of recouping a 3rd rounder for his services.

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flackcatcher's picture

October 04, 2019 at 06:18 pm

Well done TGR. The only comment I have, is many of the above teams have either front office /owner conflicts and are not above dumping player contracts for the 'future'. Would the Viking trade within their division, normally no. But with the mass turmoil in both coaching and front office, nothing would surprise me from the land of a thousand lakes.

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ShooterMcGee's picture

October 05, 2019 at 12:43 am

Rodgers reluctance to throw to unproven receivers is what concerns me. Shepard was uncovered on the last play of the Philly game and yet Aaron threw into double coverage. Thus I am sceptical that a new receiver, even a veteran would get any targets, unless he was named Jordy Nelson.

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