The Green Bay Packers signed former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Devin Funchess Tuesday to give Aaron Rodgers some more weapons on offense. However, early reactions from around the league seem to indicate that this signing seems to be more risk than reward, especially given general manager Brian Gutekunst’s track record with free agency last season. Despite different opinions, Green Bay is banking that the 25-year-old will resurrect his career after succumbing to a broken clavicle last season with Indianapolis — which only saw him play in one game in 2019. Indianapolis signed Funchess to a one-year, $10 million deal but never came close to getting any real production from the five-year pro.
With the signing of Funchess in Green Bay, he’ll battle to become possibly the number-two wide receiver with Allen Lazard — who posted three touchdowns and 477 receiving yards in a year ago.
Green Bay has yet to find a suitable weapon to pair up with star receiver Davante Adams — and their offense has slowed down due to that fact. The Packers got a historic season from running back Aaron Jones, but not having another receiver to stretch the field severely hurt the team in 2019.
Devin Funchess: Boom or Bust
Funchess’ beat season as a pro came in 2017 where he put up 840 yards and eight touchdowns when he was with the Carolina Panthers. Weighing in at 225 pounds and 6-foot-4, he’s definitely a big bodied-target that can contest within tight windows.
Given the crisp route-running Rodgers has expected from his receivers, having a bulky target go over the middle of the field and take hits to secure catches could be a sexy option for Green Bay in 2020. If Funchess can haul in those tough targets that were expected of Jimmy Graham during his two seasons, then Funchess would be a huge win in that department.
Establishing himself as the true number-two receiver this summer would take tremendous pressure off Adams and Jones — and to an extent, Jamal Williams — to keep the offense flowing in areas they lacked just a season ago.
The knocks against Funchess are he has failed to produce more than 550 receiving yards and at least 45 catches since the 2017 season. It’s possible that he could’ve had a breakout season with Indianapolis, but the injury after Week 1 put his contributions moving forward in serious jeopardy.
Ultimately, the question is if Funchess is injury-prone or not. The old saying of a new place can do wonders could be true, but another season-ending injury will continue the wave of disappointment from anyone not named Adams. Even with the talents of Allen Lazard, Jake Kumeorw, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimous St. Brown, Packers wideouts have failed to win their routes or convert a crucial third down.
Funchess has the ability to be that guy, but until he proves it, he’ll carry all the negative connotations he’s had in his career, thus far.
Don’t Cast The First Stone Yet
Funchess has to have a strong Training Camp — COVID-19 withstanding — and turn some heads once he lands in Green Bay. It can’t be overstated enough that Adams needs and deserves assistance, as the Packers will address said need via next month’s NFL Draft, but it never hurts to have a guy come in and immediately contribute.
With a number of wide receivers starting to find teams, whether fair or not, Gutekunst decided to roll the dice on a player who has shown flashes of big-time ability. Whether that comes in the form of a 1,000-yard season or red zone targets remains to be seen.
The ability is there, but it remains to be seen if Funchess and Green Bay can put everything together in 2020.
Embed from Getty Images