Would AJ Green Fit as a Packer?


There have been several rumors that the Cincinnati Bengals were open to trading their 7x Pro Bowl wideout AJ Green.  There were quite a few teams that swirled into the conversation like the 49ers, Raiders, Seahawks and even the Packers.  During training camp, Green suffered an ankle injury sidelining him for 6-8 weeks. Earlier this week, Bleacher Report announced that he will be out at least three more games.  The Packers have emerged as a team several fans want to see trade for Green. But how would he fit in LaFleur’s offensive system? Sure, Rodgers would love to have another experienced veteran to throw to, but there are pros and cons to a team like Green Bay trading for a stud wide receiver like Green.  


Trading for AJ Green would give Rodgers another lethal target to throw to.  When he is healthy, Green is an elite wide receiver with great route-running skills.  He has recorded over 1,000 yards receiving for six of his eight years in the NFL. Entering his ninth year, Green would be another veteran for guys like Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Geronimo Allison and Darrius Shepherd to learn off of with Davante Adams.  Outside of Adams, the Packers do not really have a receiver that has shined through week four, as Matt LaFleur is known for having a run-heavy offense, a trend that has spread throughout the NFC North. If the Packers acquired Green, this would allow LaFleur to utilize more of the passing game.  Even though the Packers lost at home to the Eagles, fans were happy to see more involvement from their star wideout in Davante Adams, as he finished with 10 receptions and 180 yards. The one factor Green Bay has lacked in a wide receiver is speed. Green runs a 4.50 40, which is not overly impressive, but his talented and physical attributes make up for it.  He has a 6’6 wingspan, making him destructive towards other opponents. Another thing to point out is the quarterback differences. Green has Andy Dalton throwing to him, who is a well below-average quarterback and rumor has it Cincinnati could be looking for a new successor soon. He would get to catch passes from one of the best quarterbacks in the game in Aaron Rodgers  As long as Rodgers is still around, the Packers are in a win-now situation and Green would be a nice boost to an already talented offense.  


Even though there are positives to trading for Green, there are also reasons the Packers should lean away from the idea.  The first reason is that at 31-years-old, he is an injury-prone receiver. Since entering the league in 2011, Green has played just two full seasons, which is concerning for a team like the Packers, who deal with the injury bug every year.  Another factor to think about is the Bengals’ asking price. Despite his injury history, the Packers would most likely have to give up an early draft pick for him, which can be crucial if you do not sign Green long-term. That brings up the next point, which is the idea of signing Green to an extension or acquiring him as a rental.  Before the 2019 season, Green was in talks with the Bengals to sign a long-term extension. The Packers are going to have a busy offseason, with guys like Kenny Clark, Bryan Bulaga and Blake Martinez up for new deals. They would not have the money to give Green the money he wants, and they will not get by offering him a veteran’s minimum deal.  So it simply would not be worth it to give up early draft picks for a rental player. The last point to make is that the Packers need to give guys like Scantling and Shepherd more time to develop than just one year. Adams has evolved into an elite talented receiver since he started in 2014, and that is what they need to do with young guys like Scantling and Shepherd.  The Packers are better off drafting a wide receiver early in a guy like Clemson’s Tee Higgins or Minnesota’s Tyler Johnson, rather than giving up a day one or two pick for an injury-prone receiver like AJ Green.  

Overall, there are positives and negatives to the Packers trading for the Bengals’ star receiver.  When Green is healthy, he is a force to be reckoned with. But the key factor in that statement is “when”.  Green’s series of injuries might cause teams like the Packers to back away from a trade. Granted, Green would be a significant boost to LaFleur’s offense, and Rodgers would have another big-bodied target to throw to.  However, injury history, trade value, and future extension are all factors Green Bay will have to take into account.


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