An insight into why the Packers passed on Will Fuller and the Texans
Coming into the season, the Houston Texans had high expectations for Will Fuller. For the first time in his career, Fuller had an opportunity to prove himself as a top-tier receiver — given the absence of DeAndre Hopkins. While playing out the final year of his rookie contract, Fuller has flourished in his new role.
The 26-year-old wideout is on pace to record a career-best in receiving yards, while showing his improved durability playing in all seven games so far this season. Alas, Fuller's on-field production has not converted into wins for the Texans.
Houston enters Week 9 against the Jacksonville Jaguars sitting at 1-6 on the season. Their atrocious record led to the general belief that the organization would be sellers at the trade deadline. Among the many players projected to be on the move was Fuller.
Several teams around the league had their eyes set on making a trade for the Notre Dame prodigy, but none more so than the Green Bay Packers — who expressed interest in adding Fuller's services alongside their All-Pro receiver Davante Adams. A depleted roster and lack of draft capital would have resulted in most teams taking any deal to recoup some assets. But interim head coach Romeo Crennel refused to make any substantial offer for peanuts.
"I wouldn't even put the No. 1 wide receiver label on me," Fuller said. I feel like we all can get it done. I don't have any added pressure. We're just out there having fun trying to get a win."
In any potential deal regarding Fuller, the Texans were seeking a second-round pick in return. The lofty asking price is the motive to why the Packers organization disagreed on whether or not to make a move for Fuller during the final hours of the trade deadline — according to Dianna Russini of ESPN.
In hindsight, it made sense for the Packers to stand pat and not mortgage their future in a trade for Fuller. Had Green Bay sent a second-round pick to Houston, the Packers might have fallen short of getting equal value in exchange.
Fuller's durability has been the pinnacle of his success this season, but it doesn't erase the injury-prone stigma that has plagued his career thus far. In addition to his health, does the acquisition of Fuller put the Packers closer to holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy? Not really. Adding a playmaker like Fuller would have undoubtedly improved Green Bay's chances, but not enough to push the Packers ahead of the Buccaneers and Seahawks.
However, the Packers' most significant reason why they elected not to make a deal for Fuller may center round his pending free agency. With Fuller scheduled to become a free agent at the conclusion of the season, there is a high possibility that the fifth-year receiver could have been an end-of-the-season rental for the Packers.
Given all the uncertainties, the Packers felt it was more reasonable for them to pass on Fuller. According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Green Bay was not the only team unwilling to pay the Texans' high asking price, as teams offered fourth and fifth-round picks for the Philadelphia native.
"I told him [Fuller] that I wanted him on the team, and I wanted all of these guys on the team," Crennel said during his media availability on Wednesday. "I did not want to trade anybody. Plus, I said I wasn't taking peanuts, and nobody came through with a deluxe nuts package. If there had been some deluxe nuts laid out there on the table, it could have been a different deal."
Coty M. Davis is a reporter for ESPN 97.5 Houston/SportsMap covering the Houston Texans. He is also the co-host of Locked On Texans, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network. Follow Coty on Twitter @CotyDavis_24.