The Minnesota Vikings made the biggest splash of Day 2, reportedly agreeing to a three year contract with quarterback Kirk Cousins. But they weren’t alone in making moves that could impact the 2018 season. Both the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers made significant additions to their rosters.
In his second year under center, Chicago’s top draft pick quarterback Mitch Trubisky will have a stronger supporting cast following the signings of former Jacksonville receiver Allen Robinson, ex-Falcon Taylor Gabriel and highly sought after tight end Trey Burton.
Robinson was lost for the season following a Week 1 injury. During the 2015 and 2016 seasons he was considering one of the NFL’s rising star receivers. In those two seasons he combined for 153 catches for 2,283 yards and 20 touchdowns. Over 43 total games, Robinson has averaged an impressive 14.1 yards per catch.
While the Bears will use Robinson as a downfield threat, Gabriel is more of a playmaker. The 5-foot-8 speedster also gained 14.1 yards per catch, though many of his receptions came on yards after catch via quick throws from Matt Ryan. In total, Gabriel caught 68 passes over the last two seasons.
Burton’s four-year, $32 million deal is a bet on the future, not a reflection on the past. He only made 23 catches for 248 yards, but flashed the ability to be a No. 1 tight end when Zach Ertz missed two games earlier this year. Burton is a speedster (4.62 40-yard dash) and has good hands. As we learned in the Super Bowl, he can also throw a pass if called upon.
Chicago’s hope is that with three viable weapons – as opposed to only one solid receiver in Kendall Wright last year – that Trubisky can make a Jared Goff-like jump from Year 1 to Year 2. He finished the year with a 4-8 record, seven touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 77.5 rating.
In Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers will return under center to find at least one new toy: Jimmy Graham.
The Packers added the 31-year-old tight end, who has been a premier receiving threat at his position. Last year his yards per reception dipped under 10 yards for the first time in his career, but in Seattle he still averaged 13 games per year and 57 receptions.
On the defensive side, Green Bay will have a dangerous interior D-line after adding Muhammad Wilkerson. The former Jet was one of the league’s most dominant defensive tackles between 2013 and 2015, racking up 28.5 sacks in that time span. His production has dipped recently (8.0 sacks in last two years), causing the Jets to cut ties.
One of Rodgers’ favorite weapons, will not be coming back. The Packers released Jordy Nelson after a 53-catch 2017 season.