Three Potential Trades For The Packers This Offseason

The Packers season has been a roller coaster, but what will come in 2024? Here are three potential trades that could move the needle.

Source: Johnny Williams, via Unsplash

This season has been a roller coaster for the Green Bay Packers. A few weeks ago, they looked poised to be a postseason team. Two bad losses to the Giants and Buccaneers later, they are on the outside looking in. Looking towards 2024, here are a few potential trades that could turn the Packers into contenders.

Chris Jones | Defensive Tackle, Kansas City

Trading for Chris Jones would be a blockbuster trade option, one that is unlikely at best and a dream at worst. Jones had a public contract dispute with the Chiefs this season, which resulted in a holdout. He missed the team’s first game of the season, watching an opening night loss to the Lions from the booth. However, NFL betting lines still favored Kansas City against a great Lions offense, and the Chiefs defense played well, which did not help his case. Kansas City is in a bit of cap trouble this offseason, something you can read more about further down this piece, and must decide on Jones this offseason.

Chiefs general manager Brett Veach franchise-tagged the star interior defender to end the stalemate but will not do that again this offseason. Jones is having another dominant season despite the lack of numbers. His 15.5 sack total from last season dwarfs the 7.5 he has this year, but Pro Football Focus has him as the 12th-best interior defender in the league and the 5th-best pass rusher at the position. He is still just 29 and an absolute game-wrecker at the position, something Green Bay needs.

There are cons to this proposal, though. 29 is still young, and Jones is as dominant as ever, but he wants a league-breaking contract extension that will put him well into his 30s. He also struggles in run defense, something the Packers are among the worst in the league at. However, Jones is the kind of game-wrecker that makes the players around him better. He could be a target this offseason for the Packers.

Aaron Jones | Running Back, Green Bay

Since entering the league as a 5th-round pick back in 2017, Aaron Jones has been among the most underrated players in football. He wasn’t a highly sought-after prospect and didn’t enter the league as a starter. In fact, few scouts saw Jones being a starting running back at all. In his first six seasons, though, he has exceeded expectations, rushing for at least 1000 yards three times and averaging over five yards per carry. This included a dominant 2019 season that saw him score 19 total touchdowns, a league-high number.

However, Jones is 29, which is the danger zone for running backs, and his most productive days are likely over. He has also struggled with injuries and, in limited time this season, has rushed for just 298 yards in eight games, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry. AJ Dillon has taken over as the starter, leaving Jones as the backup. Worse, it leaves him as an expensive backup. The Packers owe him $11.1 million next season after restructuring his deal before this season. In 2024, Jones’ $17.1 million cap number is the 5th biggest number on the team. He’s an obvious post-June one-cut candidate, along with long-time left tackle David Bakhtiari, but that move would cost the Packers $12.3 million in dead cap. If they trade Jones, they could get some draft capital, save themselves some cap trouble, and save money to spend in free agency by not taking a dead cap hit.

Nick Bolton | Linebacker, Kansas City

Another Kansas City Chief, Nick Bolton, could solve a few of the Packers’ lingering problems. As noted earlier, Green Bay is among the league’s worst teams at stopping the run. In fact, since Brian Gutekunst took over as general manager in 2018, the team ranks 32nd in defensive rush estimated points added per snap. Translated: The Packers rush defense has been the worst in football since 2018. This year, they have allowed the 3rd most rushing yards. The much-maligned Quay Walker has been unproductive in rush defense as well.

Bolton could be the cure. He is still on his rookie contract and has one more season before hitting free agency, with a cap hit of just $1.5 million next season. Kansas City has a congested locker room with guys like Willie Gay, Drue Tranquil, and Leo Chenal, making Bolton expendable as he gets closer to free agency. Further, cover linebackers like Tranquil are winning more and more free-agent money. Bolton is a run defender first, which could make him a reasonably cheap option after next year.

The 4th year lineback brings leadership and championship pedigree to a locker room that desperately needs it. He has dealt with some injuries this season, but according to PFF, Bolton ranked 12/81 linebackers last year. Most importantly, Bolton is a physical presence in the middle of the field, entering his prime years. He could be a player on the market this offseason, and Green Bay should pick up the phone to bring him in.

What About This Season?

The Packers rode their hot streak into playoff contention, peaking with their primetime win against Kansas City. However, they have since played themselves out thanks to a defense that got embarrassed by New York and Tampa Bay, both mediocre-at-best offenses. They’ll need to win out to make the postseason, which is possible with their easy schedule. However, this season has shown us that Jordan Love can play. If they can fix the defense this offseason, they could compete in 2024.

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