GREEN BAY, Wis. – Charles Woodson won one Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers. He doesn’t want his friend and former teammate, Aaron Rodgers, to leave with the same fate.
With the trade deadline approaching and the Packers sitting pretty with a 5-1 record, there is an opportunity for general manager Brian Gutekunst to make the type of bold move that his predecessor, Ted Thompson, failed to accomplish.
“In my time there in Green Bay, I felt like we should have walked away with at least two championships, no doubt about it,” Woodson told WSSP Radio in Milwaukee on Wednesday. “I just felt like there were some moves that probably could’ve been made throughout those seasons to go out and bring another impact player in and it didn’t happen.
“When I looked at the news today and I saw that the Seattle Seahawks brought in [defensive end Carlos] Dunlap, those were the type of moves that I wish during my time we would’ve made, bringing in some guys like that that could help us get back to the Show. It’s just one of those things, man, I know the Packers are always thinking Super Bowl. To only have one and it’s been 10 years, I know they’re itching to get back. Time is running out. Aaron’s got to get it done this year or the next two.”
The rumor mill is spinning. While Pro Football Talk’s suggestion that the Packers make a move to get Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper seems like an impossibility, the team reportedly has inquired about Houston Texans receiver Will Fuller.
More names almost certainly will be mentioned between the end of Sunday’s games and the 3 p.m. Tuesday deadline.
And Rodgers will be well aware of those names, even though one trade deadline after another after another has come and gone with disappointment from his perspective. In fact, the Packers haven’t been “buyers” with anything close to a deadline trade since 1999, when former general manager Ron Wolf acquired running back Darick Holmes after Dorsey Levens sustained a broken leg.
“Obviously how do you not hear it?” Rodgers said. “Guys are talking about it. We’ve got [NFL] Network on. We’ve got that other channel [ESPN] on all the time in the cafeteria, so you’re looking at it, you’re hearing it, guys are talking about it. But we’ll see it when we see it.”
There are significant hurdles standing between Gutekunst and a splash move. According to the NFLPA’s daily salary-cap update on Wednesday, the Packers have $8.0 million of cap space. Next year, according to OverTheCap.com’s projection, they have $3.2 million of cap space. To tie a bow around those numbers, Gutekunst also has to concern himself with free agents-to-be David Bakhtiari, Aaron Jones and Kevin King, among others.
However, with major cap problems ahead and Rodgers’ time with the team perhaps running out, perhaps Gutekunst will throw caution to the wind. With a pair of fourth-round compensatory draft picks after losing Blake Martinez and Bryan Bulaga in free agency, he’s got some additional ammunition.
“I’m always in the business of seeing our team expand and get better in any way that they can,” receiver Davante Adams said. “So, any type of additions we can have that can help us get to our ultimate goal, I’m always going to be for that. But also, I’m just playing football, I couldn’t tell you when the trade deadline is, I don’t know half of that stuff. I’m like living under a rock and just playing football during the season. But if we went and signed whoever tomorrow at the receiver position, inside linebacker, whatever we need, I’ll be ecstatic and I’ll be ready to work with them and get it going.”
A trade at the deadline doesn’t guarantee anything, of course. Far more trades were made last year than in previous years. Only one of those players, an end-of-season rental of receiver Emmanuel Sanders by San Francisco, reached the Super Bowl. The 49ers acquired Sanders and a fifth-round pick for the steep price of third- and fourth-round picks. The 2018 deadline was a busy one, too. Along with the Packers dumping Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on Washington and Ty Montgomery on Baltimore, the Rams acquired defensive end Dante Fowler from Jacksonville. Los Angeles reached the Super Bowl, though it hardly was because of Fowler’s two sacks in eight games.
Still, you never know. That reality hangs with Woodson. In 2010, with running back Ryan Grant out for the season, Thompson tried to acquire Marshawn Lynch from Buffalo. Instead, Lynch landed in Seattle. Green Bay won the Super Bowl in 2010, anyway, but who knows if the presence of Lynch would have meant another championship.
“Think about bringing Marshawn and having him with Aaron Rodgers,” Woodson said. “There’s no way if we get Marshawn Lynch that we’re not walking away with at least two titles.”