Packers: 3 potential free-agent targets at wide receiver

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

If a championship-level team is in need of an upgrade or in need of a key piece to fill a void, they will tend to find it in free agency. That is what the Green Bay Packers must do at the WR position.

In my last article, I laid out the plan for the Packers if they possibly wanted to address the WR position in the draft. However, free agency is a safer bet, especially if it’s for the right price.

No, the Packers currently are not in place to sign any free agents due to them being more than $28 million over the cap. But through restructures, extensions, cuts, etc. the Packers can create room. They will have to anyway for their future draft picks.

If they can create enough room to the point where they feel like they can make a key move, GM Brian Gutekunst has proven over the last few years that he will go for it.

Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Adrian Amos, Billy Turner, De’Vondre Campbell, and Rasul Douglas have all been key, impactful pieces that Green Bay has brought in via free agency. Now, it’s time for the Packers to go after a key skill-position player. More specifically, an established WR. That’s they key word. Established.

That is the difference between drafting college players and dipping into free agency. Those players that teams pay up for have established themselves at a very high level.

The Packers are in need of another No. 1 WR. Somebody who has established themselves as a premier threat and superstar whenever they touch the ball. Somebody who can take the pressure off of Davante Adams in big moments and make defenses confused. Somebody who can develop a strong rapport with Aaron Rodgers and gain his trust when the game is on the line.

But the price also has to be right as well as that player’s skills matching up with what the Packers offense is trying to accomplish.

Here are three free-agent WRs that the Packers should consider signing should everything fall into place:

Allen Robinson

There was reportedly rumors of Allen Robinson possibly choosing the Chicago Bears over the Green Bay Packers during the 2018 free agency period. Robinson could have another chance to join Green Bay this time around.

In his eight-year career, the Penn State alum has played for the Bears and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The quarterbacks that he has caught passes from during his eight seasons include Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Mitchell Trubisky, Chase Daniel, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton, and Justin Fields.

Let’s just say that Aaron Rodgers is in a different stratosphere. That’s putting it lightly. Robinson has shown his ability to excel at a high level while being the No. 1 WR throughout his career. His best season in Jacksonville came in 2015. He caught 80 passes for 1,400 yards and 14 TDs.

That season resulted in his first and only career Pro Bowl appearance. In Chicago, he took another step with the Bears. In 2019, he caught a career-best 98 passes for 1,147 yards and seven TDs. The following season he set another career high with 102 catches for 1,250 yards and six TDs.

An interesting note here is that former Packers offensive coordinator and current Broncos HC Nathaniel Hackett was the QB coach and OC for Jacksonville from 2015-2018. Robinson is very familiar with the scheme the Packers run.

Matt LaFleur and Hackett helped create an offense that uses a lot of RPOs, pre-snap motion, and it schemes to get WRs open down the field. Robinson was very successful with RPO schemes in Chicago too when Trubisky was running the show. Just imagine him and Aaron Rodgers together.

Robinson has proven he has great hands and that he is a polished route-runner. He is great on the sideline and his shake-and-bake footwork movement is ridiculous. He and Davante Adams would form a deadly duo for all opposing defenses that would confuse them and put them in difficult spots.

Mike Williams

Mike Williams is the definition of big. He is big in size and is always a big-play threat. Standing at 6-4 and weighing nearly 220 lbs, Williams is a mismatch for any opposing DB. He is coming off of his best season in which he hauled in 76 passes for 1,146 yards and nine TDs. That is not the statline that should grab your eye.

In 2019, the former Clemson Tiger caught only 49 passes, but they went for 1,001 yards. That means he averaged 20.4 yards per catch that season, which led the league. Williams picks up chunks of yardage at a time.

Looking at the film, it can confidently be said that Williams is the best “jump ball” WR in the game. By playing with very good QBs in future Hall-of-Famer Philip Rivers and superstar Justin Herbert, Williams has experience performing his job well with great players.

The last Packers player who was big in size and deemed a matchup nightmare was TE Jermichael Finley. Williams is a quicker, more prolific Finley that can line up everywhere.

Davante Adams has had a heck of a stretch these last five years. With Williams stepping in, he would not have to catch 120 balls for 1,500 yards and 18 TDs. It would be more like 100 catches for 1,300 yards and 12 TDs. He could still be dangerous but this time around, he would have another big-play WR helping him out.

LaFleur could line up both Adams and Williams on the outside. Then players like Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, or Randall Cobb could stay in the slot. It’s a perfect signing.

Chris Godwin

This would constitute an “all-in” signing. Godwin has been the NFC South’s version of Cooper Kupp. His crisp route-running ability is top tier. He is extremely dangerous when it comes to where he lines up, especially during pre-snap motion.

Godwin put up great numbers with an all-time great in Tom Brady. Why not do it with another?

The last time the Packers had a season where two different receivers had over 1,000 yards, it was 2014. It was Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Rodgers just happened to win MVP that year too.

In two of his last three seasons, the former Nittany Lion has had at least 1,100 yards and 85 catches. He is coming off of a career-high season in terms of catches with 98. Just as Adams can do it all, Godwin can too.

The Packers would have to create a lot of room because Godwin is deservedly in line for a big payday. But if the Packers want to leave no doubt in their quest to bring another Lombardi Trophy home, this would be a championship-esque signing.