As we set forth previously, the 2017 Green Bay Packers have enormous holes in their roster due to the many veterans who have departed since the end of last season. With the free agent market now reduced mostly to marginal players, the eight draft choices the Packers currently have in the upcoming draft can’t begin to fill all of the team’s roster gaps.
We’ve also reported that Green Bay is in store for up to four compensatory draft choices in the 2018 draft, in addition to its standard seven picks. That will help greatly – mostly in 2019 and 2020 as these players develop – but the Packers have more immediate concerns. Can anything be done to make the 2017 team a Super Bowl contender?
We know that this year, for the first time, compensatory draft picks can be traded. This obviously applies to the compensatory picks announced in January, but the Packers got little trade bait out of that deal: one fifth-round compensatory pick. This led a Total Packers commenter to wonder if those 2018 future compensatory picks could be traded right now.
I would have thought not, because we won’t even be sure until early next year just how many such picks, or in what rounds, Green Bay will be awarded. Another commenter, however, found some interesting information online. The Arizona Cardinals, in a similar pickle to Green Bay, just lost seven players in free agency, including two of the top 13 free agent signings. Like the Packers, they will likely get four compensatory draft picks in 2018.
Coach Bruce Arians told the press last week that the compensatory picks they’ll get in 2018 can be used to trade up in this year’s draft. “It could be a really fun draft,” Arians said. Assuming Arians is correct, then Green Bay does have the option of using some of their expected compensatory picks in 2018 to either trade up or acquire additional draft choices, THIS YEAR!
Ted Thompson’s Opportunity
Many would agree that the Packers need more and/or higher draft selections right now, not in the future. In allowing compensatory draft choices to be traded for the first time this year – and this apparently includes the four picks the Packers are likely to be awarded early next year – the league has bestowed a gift of enormous value to the Packers. By the way, in most cases, such trading doesn’t occur now, but takes place while the draft is underway.
In view of all of the team’s players who have departed in the past three months, this strategy could save the day for the 2017 Packers. The big question: will ultra-conservative general manager Ted Thompson resort to such a bodacious strategy?
It will be interesting to compare the draft days’ dealings of the Arizona Cardinals with those of the Packers. In stark contrast to Ted Thompson, the Cards’ general manager Steve Keim and coach Arians are known as wheeler dealers – a term that few would associate with Green Bay’s general manager.