The Green Bay Packers are Super Bowl contenders once again, which isn't a surprise with Aaron Rodgers putting up another All-Pro caliber season. Green Bay sits at 6-1 atop the NFC North and is currently one game behind the Arizona Cardinals for the top seed in the conference.
Thursday's showdown with Arizona will tell a lot about the Packers, even with Davante Adams and Allen Lazard on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Green Bay is already one of the top teams in the NFL, but a trade for a Pro Bowl caliber player could put the Packers over the top and get them to the Super Bowl. Remember, this could be Rodgers' last year in Green Bay -- so the Packers have incentive to go "all in."
There are a few players the Packers should consider with the trade deadline coming up in the coming days. Green Bay will have to part ways with high draft capital for some of these assets, but these are the moves that can get the Packers the Vince Lombardi Trophy this season.
Packers give up: 2022 second-round pick to Houston Texans
Aaron Rodgers could always use some more weapons in his arsenal, and having a strong No. 2 option opposite of Davante Adams gives the Packers arguably the best offense in the NFC. Having Cooks lined up with Adams would give Rodgers the best 1-2 wide receiver combination in the game, as Cooks is sixth in the league in receptions and has 502 yards on the year (11.2 yards per catch).
Cooks would give Rodgers another possession wideout, but also excels as a deep ball threat. His presence will also free Adams up against opposing secondaries, something Rodgers will really enjoy when he's terrorizing defenses with his arm.
The Packers almost acquired Will Fuller from Houston last year as they were making a Super Bowl run. The price for Cooks is steep, but worth it for a team that's trying to get Rodgers another championship before he decides on his future after the year. Maybe Cooks will be enough to convince Rodgers to stick around.
Packers give up: 2022 first-round pick to Miami Dolphins
The Packers can go for the jugular by giving up a first-round pick for Howard, one of the top cornerbacks in the game who's not having his best year. Green Bay needs cornerbacks with Jaire Alexander on injured reserve and Kevin King is still banged up -- and the Packers have lost enough conference title games due to poor cornerback play over the last decade.
Howard is the No. 1 cornerback the Packers need to complete this surprisingly good defense, which is ranked sixth in yards allowed but the 14 touchdown passes given up are 21st in the league.
Howard has three years and just over $41 million remaining on his contract. He does want a new deal, but that's something the Packers can work on after the season. Paying a high price for Howard now can rejuvenate his season (two interceptions,102.6 passer rating allowed) as he can become the turnover machine that can get the Packers back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 11 years.
Packers give up: 2023 fifth-round pick to Baltimore Ravens
This would be a gamble for the Packers, but Green Bay could use a pass rusher that needs a change of scenery. Ferguson may have fallen out of favor in Baltimore, having just 4.5 sacks in 30 career games. He has just two tackles on the year and hasn't played since Week 2 -- when he played just one defensive snap. Ferguson spent time on the reserve/COVID-19 list, which really affected his season as it took him three weeks to recover.
The Ravens had valuable pass rushing depth in Ferguson, who had a strong preseason (and had 45 sacks at Louisiana Tech). Hard to blame Baltimore if the Ravens held onto Ferguson, but the Packers need someone who can get after the quarterback while Za'Darius Smith is out.
Even with the addition of Whitney Mercilus, it would be worth Green Bay to take a shot on Ferguson and develop him. A team can never have too many pass rushers in the fold, especially in a defense that has overachieved this year.