The NFL is two weeks away from its trade deadline. Therefore, rumors and potential deals will be frequently talked about over the next few days. The Green Bay Packers are 2-3, and their salary cap approach this year made it clear that they are in some kind of rebuilding process.
With this in mind, it’s more likely that they will be sellers than buyers, especially if someone is willing to acquire some of their older or more expensive players.
So let’s list five players the Packers could look to trade.
Disclaimer: nobody is stupid enough to say the Packers should give Jaire Alexander away. That being said, last year the Los Angeles Rams offered two first-round picks for edge defender Brian Burns. If a contending team is willing to make a similar offer for the Packers cornerback, it’s hard to pass up — even considering how good he is.
The Packers are trying to get younger and cheaper, and moving Jaire would be a strong move in that direction. Green Bay would open just around $600k in 2023 and lose $3.1 million in 2024 in terms of cap space, but they would open $25.8 million in 2025, $27.86 million in 2026, and $2.36 million in 2027 (when Jaire is not even under contract anymore). Moreover and more importantly, the Packers would have two extra high picks to add young and inexpensive talent to the roster.
Alexander is a great player, for sure, but he hasn’t been as impactful as Rashan Gary, for example. In 2021, the passing defense didn’t downgrade much with Eric Stokes and Rasul Douglas as their primary corners. And, this year, Rasul has performed better than Jaire.
I’m writing something here and I want to check with you guys to see if it’s a crazy idea or not.
If someone comes and offers the #Packers 2 1st-rounders, would you trade Jaire Alexander?
— Wendell Ferreira (@wendellfp) October 17, 2023
For the acquiring team, the good news is they wouldn’t have to pay Jaire again. He’s under an affordable deal through 2026 — the cap hits would be around $ 1 million in 2023, $16 million in 2024, $17.5 million in 2025, and $19.5 million in 2026.
Green Bay extended Smith last year, so they wouldn’t save much cap space now — around $600k, plus $2.6 million next year. But the savings would be more expressive in 2025 and 2026. The most important point here is that Preston Smith will soon be 31 years old, so his career timeline isn’t that adjusted to the rest of the Packers roster. And Green Bay has an intriguing group of young pass rushers, including Rashan Gary and rookie first-rounder Lukas Van Ness.
If the Packers are able to flip him for a mid-round pick, it could be a smart move to give young players more playing time. And Preston, as a good run defender, may be a valuable piece for a contender.
Campbell had an outlier season in 2021, becoming a first-team All-Pro in his first season in Green Bay. Since then, he received a five-year extension but hasn’t been as productive — because of injuries and a natural regression. The Packers also drafted Quay Walker in the first round, so there’s too much money invested in a relatively non-valuable position.
Cap wise, it’s a similar situation to the Preston Smith’s: $600k opened in 2023, slightly less than $3 million in 2024, but significant savings in 2025 and 2026. The team would obviously have a downgrade at the position with Isaiah McDuffie or Eric Wilson, but depending on the draft capital returned, it would be worth it.
This one is harder to pull off since David Bakhtiari is out for the season, which means Nijman is the swing tackle. However, he finished last season as the starting right tackle and since has been surpassed by Zach Tom and Rasheed Walker. He’s also in the last year of his deal, playing under a second-round restricted free agent tender. Considering the tackle market and what the Packers have shown to think of him, it’s unlikely that he will be around much longer.
So, it would make sense to move him now and get something in return. This would be easier depending on how the front office views the development of Caleb Jones and Luke Tenuta.
Talking about expiring deals, running back AJ Dillon is also in the last year of his rookie contract. You could expect a leap in performance from him before hitting the market, but that’s not what has happened. Dillon has had three yards per carry, and his yardage above expected is mediocre. The difference when Aaron Jones is or isn’t on the field has never been higher. The problem is the Packers don’t have a solid running back 2, as Emanuel Wilson hasn’t been utilized and Patrick Taylor was let go.
They would need to find a new backup, but replacing Dillon’s productivity isn’t a hard task, and something worth exploring if someone is willing to give up a pick. If Dillon is traded right at the deadline, the Packers would save $739k in cap space.