Thursday's NFL: Packers address receiving issues by signing Sammy Watkins

Associated Press

Green Bay, Wis. — Sammy Watkins is heading to Green Bay as the Packers attempt to rebuild their receiving corps after trading All-Pro Davante Adams.

General manager Brian Gutekunst Thursday announced the signing of Watkins. The Packers have needed to upgrade at receiver since trading Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders for a first-round pick and a second-round selection in the draft at the end of the month.

Lions safety Tracy Walker, shown here helping break up a pass intended for former Baltimore Ravens receiver Sammy Watkins. Green Bay Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst Thursday announced the signing of Watkins.

Watkins, who turns 29 in two months, was drafted by Buffalo in 2014 with the No. 4 overall pick after a stellar career at Clemson. He has 348 catches for 5,059 yards and 34 touchdowns, but much of that production came early in his career before he was hampered by injuries.

Watkins caught 65 passes for 982 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie, and he followed that up with 60 receptions for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns in 2015.

But he has exceeded 600 yards receiving just once in the six seasons since. He hasn’t caught more than three touchdown passes in a season since 2017, when he scored eight times with the Los Angeles Rams. Packers coach Matt LaFleur was the Rams' offensive coordinator during that 2017 season.

Watkins caught 27 passes for 394 yards and only one touchdown last season with the Baltimore Ravens, his fourth NFL team. He previously played for Buffalo (2014-16), the Rams (2017) and the Kansas City Chiefs (2018-20).

The move reunites Watkins with Packers receivers coach/passing game coordinator Jason Vrable, who worked with the Bills in a variety of roles from 2013-16. Vrable was an offensive quality control coach, assistant quarterbacks coach and interim running backs coach with Buffalo.

A.J. Green returns to Cardinals on 1-year deal

Receiver A.J. Green is coming back to the Arizona Cardinals on a one-year deal.

The seven-time Pro Bowler played in 16 games last season, catching 54 passes for 848 yards and three touchdowns. The 33-year-old is expected to be the team's No. 2 option next to three-time All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins.

Cardinals' A.J. Green hangs onto a reception with Lions' Amani Oruwariye defending.

Contract terms were not immediately available.

Green joined the Cardinals last season after playing his first 10 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. His first season was a mixed bag. He was a big piece of the offense during the team's 10-2 start but wasn't as productive down the stretch when Arizona lost four of five games.