The NFL trade deadline came and went on Tuesday and it was, shockingly, quite eventful. Trades in football don't happen very often and when they do they're rarely impactful. That is not the case this year. A few teams made some all-in moves and others traded away big talents for draft picks. It was if anything an entertaining couple of hours for all of us.
Unless you are a Green Bay Packers fan. In which case it was not an entertaining day at all. In fact it was miserable. Because the Packers failed to do anything at the deadline and effectively ended their season.
Green Bay is 3-5. Aaron Rodgers doesn't look like the same guy. The defense has been good at times but failed to come up big when it mattered most. The offense as a whole is broken and vacillates between giving the ball to Aaron Jones too little and too often. Special teams has lost more than one game for the Packers even after they overhauled all their staff in that department. It's just bad. All-around bad.
But the biggest and most fixable problem the Packers have is at wide receiver. The franchise traded away Davante Adams last offseason and did nothing to replace him. It is admittedly hard to truly replace a perennial All-Pro with perfect chemistry with Rodgers, but Green Bay sat on their hands during free agency and grabbed two wideouts in the draft. A fine strategy under certain circumstances but by doing so the Packers basically bet their season on two rookies being ready enough to win games and for Rodgers to figure it out in the meantime.
It was a pretty obvious flaw in the Packers' plans before the season and at the halfway point everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. But making a move at the deadline could have alleviated some of the woes plaguing this team. It is impossible to find a cure-all solution via trade midseason, but adding someone would have gone a long way in the team's efforts to merely be competent. To put a product on the field that didn't depress their quarterback and their fans. To just be good enough to make it to the playoffs with a little momentum and hope Rodgers plays unconscious for an unlikely postseason run.
That hope is worth a draft pick, right? Even a high one. When you have a QB capable of doing anything, no year should be lost. It won't work out every season, as the Packers well know, but it's never worth punting on a year where things go sideways when a perennial MVP candidate is under center. Especially when that MVP candidate is nearing 40 years-old and openly contemplated retirement for a few years running.
The Packers, apparently, disagree. They were in the running for Chase Claypool but ultimately got passed over for the Bears, which is extra salt on the wound. They didn't have a backup plan and the deadline passed. Green Bay acquired no help for Rodgers anywhere. There were other wideouts available. But the Packers are notoriously picky when it comes to trades and apparently none of the options fit the bill.
That pickiness has sunk their season. Rodgers didn't need another All-Pro talent. He just needed a competent veteran he can trust. He didn't get it and now the Packers roll into the last half of the year with the exact same formula that caused them to be one of the most disappointing teams in the league in the first half. What's the definition of insanity again?
It's pretty aggravating to watch even as a neutral fan. I'm sure the Packers' brass will be very pleased in five years that they didn't give up a second-rounder for Brandin Cooks at the deadline this season after they use it to draft another defender or something. But it seems their propensity to do so is a direct reflection of how spoiled they've been. Nobody in the organization knows how hard it is to win in the NFL without a superstar quarterback. Yet they're all too willing to let this year pass them by, with no clue whether it'll be Rodgers or Jordan Love under center next year, because they always plan for the long-term.
That's great if you have another future Hall of Fame quarterback waiting in the wings. But lightning doesn't strike twice. The Packers blew this deadline and maybe their best shot for a long time at a Super Bowl. Sad to see.