GREEN BAY — Put “Green Bay Packers” and “trade” in the same sentence these days and the assumption tends to be that the conversation revolves around No. 2 quarterback Brett Hundley.
Realistically, though, it’s highly unlikely that general manager Ted Thompson will move Hundley at the end of training camp. The Packers love the idea of the third-year quarterback backing up two-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, and they’re more likely to get what they want — a high draft pick in 2018 — closer to the spring NFL draft.
But that doesn’t mean the Packers won’t be working the phones in the days leading up to the final roster reduction on Sept. 2. They would seem to have an overabundance of NFL-caliber wide receivers, and they might have more cornerbacks than they have available roster spots — as crazy as that might seem after the way last year went in the injury-depleted secondary.
Meanwhile, with fourth-round pick Vince Biegel eagerly awaiting the green light to come off the physical unable to perform list, the Packers aren’t exactly flush at outside linebacker.
With the NFL having eliminated the intermediate cutdown from 90 to 75 players this year, all 32 teams will need to make 37 roster moves at the end of camp to get down to the league-mandated 53-man roster limit. And Thompson doesn’t think that flood of players onto the open market will impact how many trades are made.
“I think there will still be trades. There might be some that are consummated at or around what used to be the 75 cut, or they could be closer to the 53-man (cut),” Thompson said Thursday. “My guess is it will be the same number and the same amount of activity as it’s always been.”
Among the end-of-camp deals Thompson has made — either player-for-player trades or trades for a future draft pick — were acquiring linebacker Robert Thomas in a 2005 trade with St. Louis for cornerback Chris Johnson; getting running back Ryan Grant, who’d go on to post two 1,200-yard seasons, for a sixth round pick in 2007; a 2009 deal to get safety Derrick Martin from Baltimore for tackle Tony Moll; and a 2011 deal for a future seventh-round pick for guard Caleb Schlauderaff.
In those cases, Johnson, Moll and Schlauderaff were likely to be released, but Thompson managed to get something for them.
At wide receiver, the Packers have three roster locks in Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, and Jeff Janis is a virtual lock given his special-teams duties. Behind them, the Packers have rookie draft picks DeAngelo Yancey and Malachi Dupre, second-year wideouts Geronimo Allison and Trevor Davis and former practice-squadder Max McCaffrey all vying for roster spots.
Behind veteran Davon House at cornerback, they have three third-year corners (Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter), top rookie draft pick Kevin King and upstart second-year cornerback Josh Hawkins, who was impressive at Washington last week.
“Everybody’s got their own wish list and everybody’s got their own idea of how to solve or fill that wish list,” Thompson said. “Usually, whatever we think, other people don’t necessarily agree with us.
“Trades are not easy to make but there are times, especially this particular time of the year over the next two weeks or so, they are a little more prevalent.”