4 early free agent targets the Packers should consider

Sammy Watkins, Packers
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers are one of the NFL’s best teams in 2020 and while on the surface it may not look like they need much of anything to stay on top in the NFC North, the rich could and should look to get richer by signing a series of 2021 NFL free agents.

Everyone knows about the obvious need the Packers never seem to correct for whatever reason, which is adding some wide receiver help opposite Devante Adams. The Packers’ next best wide receiver after Adams is Devin Funchess, but he chose to opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns which forced players like Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St Brown to step up and be the pass catchers for Aaron Rodgers who is having an MVP type of season.

Obviously, a unit like that needs some help and a great wide receiver could open the doors even wider on what is already an explosive offense.

The Packers will still have Rodgers at the helm in 2021 barring any sudden change or retirement and they need to focus on getting him more weapons. The Packers defense has been pretty good this season and Za’Darius Smith has paved the way with his stellar play at outside linebacker as his current ranking in the NFL in sacks stands at a tie for third place with 12.5 sacks.

While the defense in Green Bay has been good, they could certainly use some help in that area as well. Defense wins championships and if they plan on helping Aaron Rodgers get another ring before he hangs up the cleats then they need to correct some holes in that unit as well. The Green Bay secondary is arguably the best in the NFL, however, but some fine tuning at linebacker and defensive end could make a huge impact.

All in all, the Packers don’t have too much to worry about other than how many points they’re going to hang on their struggling NFC North opponents in 2021, but a simple fine tuning is basically all the team needs to remain in contention. In all honesty, the Packers could probably keep their exact same roster and still be competitive, but imagine how good Aaron Rodgers would be with weapons and how good their team would be as a whole if they corrected a few flaws.

Here’s a look at four players who could mesh well in Green Bay and help the team stay competitive in the ever-changing NFC.

AJ Green, Wide Receiver

The most important thing the Green bay Packers could do to help give the NFC’s number one seed an even greater advantage is give Aaron Rodgers some other weapons rather than Devante Adams and Aaron Jones. They could start by signing the best wide receiver on the free agent market in 2021 with Cincinnati’s AJ Green agreeing to terms.

Green, 32, is and has been one of the NFL’s best wide receivers since he was drafted by the Bengals back in 2011. Green has excellent speed for his 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame and could give the Packers the number two guy opposite of Adams that they’ve been searching for.

Rodgers has already proven to his new coaching staff that he has what it takes to thrive with few weapons despite his age and the least they could do is help their signal caller out by bringing in a seven-time Pro Bowler to aide their receiving unit.

Green will likely wind up being the highest paid wide receiver in this upcoming receiving class if it stays the way it is, and the Packers need to dig into their pockets a little bit to bring in a wide receiver of Green’s caliber. The Packers’ youth now has some valuable game experience and adding a big-name receiver to the mix could possibly give the Packers the best receiving unit in the NFL.

Hunter Henry, Tight End

The Packers, I’m sure, have appreciated the emergence of Robert Tonyan as the team’s primary tight end in 2020, but that is an area that has to be corrected if the Packers plan on contending for years to come. Hunter Henry is easily the best tight end available on the free agent market this year and adding him to the roster would give Rodgers one more weapon than he’s used to having.

Henry is currently a tight end for the Los Angles Chargers and he has been very productive when he’s been healthy. In 55 career games over the span of five seasons, Henry has logged 196 receptions, 2,322 receiving yards, 11.8 yards per reception, 133 first downs, and 21 touchdowns. Henry has also caught 69 percent of his passes in his career, which is great considering how great of a down field blocker he is as well.

If the Packers are able to land both Henry and Green to go along with the offense they already have, the NFL as a whole better be prepared because there would be no logical way to slow this tandem down. Henry and Tonyan would work well in a split snap situations because it gives the Packers’ offense more flexibility as well as keeping both guys fresh as much as possible.

Sammy Watkins, Wide Receiver

If you haven’t already caught on, it’s really important that the Green Bay Packers load up on offensive weapons for Aaron Rodgers to throw to. Sammy Watkins, a 27-year-old wide receiver who currently plays for the Kansas City Chiefs, is a great option to look towards signing if the Packers can’t land AJ Green or if they are looking to double dip on big name pass catchers in 2021.

Watkins has been a monster for the Chiefs and has been extremely productive since leaving the inconsistent (at the time) Buffalo Bills. Watkins, with a great quarterback, is about as good of a wide receiver as one could wish for. Thankfully, the Packers have a gun slinger themselves as long as Rodgers is at the helm. Watkins has managed to accumulate 37 receptions for 421 yards and two touchdowns this season in Kansas City in a loaded receiver room.

If Watkins got an opportunity to be paired with a great quarterback and get an opportunity to catch more passes, he could be one of the best wideouts in the NFL once again.

Ryan Kerrigan, Defensive End

The Packers have a player who ranks among the NFL’s top three in sacks, but that player is a linebacker, not a defensive end. The Packers could really use a defensive end who gets consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks and a perfect fit would be The Washington Football Team’s Ryan Kerrigan.

Kerrigan was mentioned in several trade scenarios as a possible fit in Green Bay and the Packers could go get their guy in free agency instead.

Kerrigan, 32, has always been a great defensive end when it comes to bringing consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Kerrigan has the work ethic and drive the Packers need on their defensive line. Kerrigan is also wildly productive.

The four-time Pro Bowler has spent his entire 10-year NFL career as a member of the Washington Football organization and he has always been recognized as a high motor guy with a ton of pride.

Kerrigan has logged 452 tackles, 119 tackles for a loss, 147 quarterback hits, 95.5 sacks, 26 forced fumbles, four fumbles recovered, 25 passes defended, and three defensive touchdowns in his NFL career and has never gotten a chance to compete for a Super Bowl title. Kerrigan would not only get an opportunity to thrive and make a lot of money in Green Bay, but also have an opportunity to win a Super Bowl championship.

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