The Green Bay Packers once again look like Super Bowl contenders in the NFC. With Aaron Rodgers back under center, they are as dangerous as any team offensively, but on defense, there are a few question marks. A trade for New England Patriots star cornerback Stephon Gilmore could answer those questions.
Green Bay’s pass rush needs someone to step up opposite of Za’Darius Smith to get after the quarterback. There is hope that Rashan Gary can take the next step in his development after finishing second on the team with 5.0 sacks last season.
While Gary looks poised for a breakout season, the Packers’ secondary doesn’t have an option with as much optimism. Green Bay has a star cornerback in Jaire Alexander locking down one-half of the field. Unfortunately, they do not have a proven option opposite of him.
The lasting image for many Packers fans from the NFC Championship game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is the back of Kevin King’s jersey. He was picked on constantly by Tom Brady and the touchdowns he allowed to Mike Evans and Scotty Miller were backbreaking.
Green Bay brought him back for another season, but not without competition. The team used their first-round pick on Eric Stokes out of Georgia. A fifth-round pick was used on Shemar-Jean Charles out of Appalachian State. Isaac Yiadom was acquired from the New York Giants as well to compete at cornerback.
But, given the current state of the team, Green Bay may be better off going outside the organization for a legitimate upgrade at the cornerback spot. Gilmore of the Patriots would be an excellent target.
Gilmore was placed on the physically unable to perform list, which means he will be sidelined until at least Week 7. He has battled a quad injury that ended his 2020 season in Week 15.
Going on the PUP list shouldn’t deter the Packers from making a deal at some point. Gilmore will be afforded the chance to rehab and come along slowly, making sure he is 100 percent healthy for the remainder of the season.
This will also give Green Bay a chance to evaluate the cornerbacks currently on the roster. They will have the first six games to see how things go. If they are doing well, they can sit pat and go about their business. If there are issues persisting, they can be aggressive and pursue Gilmore via trade.
Getting the secondary locked down and playing at a high level also helps the pass rush. Coverage sacks can help overcome not having an elite pass rush.
Stephon Gilmore would give the Packers everything they are looking for in a corner opposite of Alexander. The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year would lock down the other side of the field, making Green Bay’s defense a very difficult one to produce against.