When former packers thrive elsewhere

In a league with a strict salary cap, player movement is inevitable. Every year, the Green Bay Packers and 31 other teams have to make tough decisions about whether or not to keep individual players.

A few former haters thrive, at least statistically speaking, during the 2022 season.
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Jamaal Williams, now with the Detroit Lions, leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 12. He had three rushing points in the Lions’ upset victory over the New York Giants on Sunday. The Packers only have four rushing touchdowns all season.

Davante Adams, now with the Las Vegas Raiders, ranks fourth in the NFL in receiving yards (925) and second in touchdown catches (10). He had a pair of points, including the game-winner in overtime, during the Raiders’ victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The Packers’ troubles at wide receiver and in the passing game this season have been well documented.

Zadarius Smith, now with the Minnesota Vikings, ranks fourth in the NFL in sacks (9.5) and second in tackles for losses (14.5). He has at least half a sack in seven of his 10 games (including Week 1 vs. the Packers) he’s played with the Vikings, who are 8-2 and in first place in the NFC North.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, now with the Kansas City Chiefs, ranks sixth in yards per catch (17.0) among players with at least 15 catches this season, and has seven catches of at least 20 yards. Second round pick Christian Watson is now the deep threat the team faces.

Player movement context is always required.

Williams was not re-signed after the Packers used second-run AJ Dillon. Adams wanted to play in Las Vegas with Derek Carr. The relationship between Smith and the Packers soured and the team couldn’t handle a hat-trick in 2022. Valdes-Scantling got a good payday from the Chiefs.

Teams transfer players for a variety of reasons. These are all good players, and sometimes the leftovers thrive elsewhere (see: Russell Douglas and Devonder Campbell in Green Bay last year).

Good teams are built for the long haul and can usually handle a player’s departure, but the success of the former Packers stings more this year because Matt LaFleur’s team is 4-7 and out of the playoff game.

The Packers have taken a massive step back in the passing game, due in large part to the departures of Adams and Valdez-Scantling, and now Williams and Smith are producing big numbers on both teams. Before From the Packers in the NFC North standings.

Dillon hasn’t been an impact player in his third season, the Packers woefully underestimate the importance of the transition at receiver, Smith is now crippling quarterbacks while Rashaan Gary is a season-ending injured reserve. It wasn’t fun for Packers fans. But it’s part of the deal in the NFL, where player movement is unstoppable, the margins of being good or bad are very thin, and a change in squad can overpower an already good or great player.

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