Welcome to the weekly bits and boredom, where we’ll wax poetic on the happenings surrounding the Packers and, maybe, the NFL at large.
The deadline for teams around the league to make trades was 4 p.m. EDT, and in the least surprising development of the 2021 season, the Packers decided not to make any trades. Please notice I specifically said “trades”–Brian Gutekunst wasn’t going to let the day pass without making a move, deciding it was high time the team made a change at long snapper. Incumbent Hunter Bradley was sent on his way in favor of Steven Wirtel, who was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster. Will this be the move that ensures the Packers don’t lose another game this season? You can’t prove it won’t be.
Anyway, back to the trade deadline. There will undoubtedly be a lot of noise from those in the fanbase who play too much Madden, screaming from the rooftops about all the great players the Packers could have gotten had they only ponied up the draft picks to do so. The chief complaint this time around, surely, will be, “BuT tHe RaMs!” It’s true–the Rams acquired a solid player this week when they traded their second and third round picks in next year’s NFL draft to Denver for Von Miller. Through that and various other trades, the Rams have essentially emptied their cupboard for the 2022 draft, with the only non-compensatory picks they currently hold being a fifth-rounder and two seventh-rounders.
Now, one might argue their strategy is simply to use their draft picks to acquire proven talent, rather than roll the dice on actual selections. That’s fair, and it’s also a new strategy for the most part, so it’s not possible to make a determination on whether it’s a good thing for the long-term. Who knows, maybe they can sustain this forever. (I’m not counting on it.)
This is all to say that the Packers’ inaction at the trade deadline, and their refusal to do what literally only one other team in the league is doing with regards to draft capital, should have come as no surprise to anyone who even casually follows this team. When was the last time Green Bay made a splashy trade on deadline day? I’m seriously asking–I tried to Google it and I couldn’t find the answer.
Have we all forgotten what played out over the offseason? How the same portion of the fan base pounding their fists for a trade begged the front office to just do whatever Aaron Rodgers wanted them to do? During his weekly appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, the quarterback astutely pointed out the salary cap constraints the team is up against at the moment. He went out of his way, once again, to praise the acquisitions the front office has made to this point and say the communication between he and Gutekunst has been enjoyable. I’m not of the belief that Rodgers would bully his GM into doing a trade if he wanted one, but at the very least, I think we can conclude the quarterback is comfortable with the locker room as it is.
So, keeping in mind that the Packers are notoriously frugal with draft capital unless their three-time MVP quarterback says, “Trade for my friend or kiss me goodbye,” did we really think they were going to give up precious day two picks for someone who likely would have been a rental for the rest of the season?
Of course, this doesn’t mean Gutekunst wasn’t working the phones looking for a bargain–it just means he didn’t find one he thought was worth it, and he wasn’t going to compromise his general management principles in order to placate the hostile masses. Instead, he stared into the eyes of every would-be NFL scout screaming on Twitter, summoned the spirit of legendary movie coach Norman Dale and said, “My team is on the field.”