5 positions Packers could target at NFL’s trade deadline

The NFL’s trade deadline is Tuesday afternoon. Could the Green Bay Packers make a move? Coach Matt LaFleur said Monday that the team is “working hard” to find the right opportunity for a trade, but the Packers will always be picky about fit and won’t overpay.

Identifying individual players is the hardest part of the exercise, but narrowing down the list of positions where the Packers could potentially improve helps focus the search.

Here are the positions where the Packers could use the deadline to improve the roster:

Tight end

The most logical place to start. The Packers just lost Robert Tonyan to a season-ending knee injury, and there isn’t a perfect replacement on the roster, given the H-back abilities of Josiah Deguara and Dominique Dafney. Might the Packers target a player capable of adding more impact in the passing game as a traditional move tight end? Tonyan caught 70 passes, averaged 9.0 yards per target and scored 13 touchdowns over the last two seasons, so losing him will almost certainly affect the efficiency and production at tight end. Trading with the New York Giants for Evan Engram is one possibility. Finding the perfect blend of receiving talent and blocking ability will be almost impossible, but Tonyan was just good enough as a blocker to make the “illusion of complexity” idea work.

Defensive line

The emergence of Dean Lowry and Kingsley Keke over the last month reduces the need here, but adding another capable disruptor to help Kenny Clark could still be valuable for a contender like the Packers, especially with Keke dealing with his second concussion in a year. Improving the depth might be a top priority. This position group would look a lot better with a quality veteran playing snaps over the likes of Tyler Lancaster and rookies T.J. Slaton and Jack Heflin, making this one of the best chances to improve the roster immediately.


Veteran newcomer Rasul Douglas has been excellent over the last two games, Chandon Sullivan has stepped up in the slot recently and rookie Eric Stokes keeps gaining valuable experience against top receivers. Starter Kevin King will likely return this week, and the Packers remain optimistic All-Pro Jaire Alexander will be back this season. With everyone healthy, the depth looks good here. But it wouldn’t take much for this position to turn unstable; King’s availability can’t be trusted, Stokes, Douglas and Sullivan will likely be up and down as players, and there’s no guarantee (yet) Alexander will be back. Could Gutekunst find a buyer willing to deal a veteran for cheap?

Wide receiver

It’s hard to get a good gauge on what the Packers think of their receiver group. Gutekunst has searched around free agency and trade markets for help in recent years, but the position looks fairly solid when everyone is available, and the team invested a draft pick this year (third round for Amari Rodgers) and next year (sixth round for Randall Cobb) to add to the group. Still, an opportunity to add another difference-maker might be tempting. Would Brandin Cooks move the needle for the offense? He’s a legitimate No. 2 receiver who can do a little bit of everything.


We’ll lump edge rusher and inside linebacker together here. The Packers added veterans Jaylon Smith and Whitney Mercilus in the last month, but value could still be extracted by adding help at both spots. Smith was inactive last week and Krys Barnes is struggling in Year 2, so the Packers could still be looking for the right running mate for De’Vondre Campbell. And while Mercilus has added some juice to the pass-rush and Za’Darius Smith could eventually return from injured reserve, a team can never have enough pass-rushers, especially with quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Dak Prescott and Kyler Murray potentially standing in the Super Bowl path.