Why the Green Bay Packers should trade Christian Watson

Green Bay Packers, Christian Watson
Green Bay Packers, Christian Watson / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Trading Christian Watson, on the surface, makes little sense for the Green Bay Packers. It's only been two seasons since the team generated plenty of excitement by adding him in the 2022 draft.

Selected 34th overall, Watson became the highest-drafted Green Bay wide receiver since Javon Walker in 2002. After several years of build-up, where fans and critics implored Brian Gutekunst to use an early-round pick on a pass catcher, Watson seemed to be the guy many were waiting for.

The North Dakota State product's unique blend of speed and size gave Matt LaFleur a potential offensive building block going forward. Yet, after two seasons, Watson hasn't cemented himself as a future star.

There have been moments where he's looked every bit worthy of his high selection, but there have also been stretches where his presence was hardly felt. So, would Green Bay be wise to make a bold move and trade the 24-year-old? It's not outside the realm of possibility.

The case for the Packers trading Christian Watson

Watson's biggest issue thus far has been an inability to stay healthy. Despite his young age, the wideout has already missed 11 of a possible 36 games in his career.

These injuries have not only kept Watson off the field but also diluted his role while on the gridiron. During his NFL debut, Watson infamously dropped a laser from Aaron Rodgers against the Vikings. While this play may have slowed his elevation into a starting role, it was truly his subsequent hamstring injury that stalled his progress.

Oftentimes suiting up at less than 100%, it took the wideout another two months to earn a bigger role. When he finally got more opportunities, he hit the ground running by scoring seven touchdowns across a four-game stretch.

Capping off his rookie campaign with a 104-yard showing versus Detroit, there was every expectation that Watson would be the Packers' top target in 2023. Yet, that's not how things played out.

The injury bug was once again present, as Watson was limited to nine games while many of his young teammates broke out in big ways.

The combination of Jayden Reed's emergence, Romeo Doubs' continued reliability, and the additional contributions of Dontayvion Wicks and both rookie tight ends helped render Watson's absence a minor inconvenience.

Even when he was active, Watson struggled to carve out a steady connection with Jordan Love, catching two passes or less in four of his appearances.

Of course, there were some bright spots. Watson played an instrumental role in helping the Packers earn season-altering wins over both Detroit and Kansas City. Unfortunately, lingering hamstring issues stalled his momentum and kept him out of action for the final month of the regular season.

When he returned for Green Bay's postseason run, he caught just two total passes during a two-game run where the team scored 69 points.

What's next for Christian Watson?

With all these struggles aside, it'd be disingenuous to paint Watson as a bad player. When healthy, he's highly capable of making an impact as a deep threat. There's also a chance he continues to develop, as he's still in the early stages of his NFL career.

But his injury history, coupled with the Packers' impressive depth at receiver, makes Watson a name worth watching on the trade market.

While some may argue shipping him out now would be selling low on someone who's flashed talent, you could also argue it'd be selling high due to his durability concerns. If Watson continues to be limited by injuries, it's only a matter of time before his value sinks further.

With the Packers having an array of young pass catchers already in-house, it would be worth trying to trade Watson and bring in draft capital to help rebuild the team's defensive unit.

Watson is still on his rookie contract, so he brings plenty of value on a cheaper deal. Brian Gutekunst shouldn't be looking to unload him for any old offer.

However, if the Packers can net a draft pick in the early-to-middle rounds in exchange for Watson, they shouldn't hesitate to make it happen.

More Packers news and analysis