Ferguson trade would offer little help

With Terrell Owens an unhappy camper in Philadelphia, rumors have swirled over the past week involving a trade of wide receiver Robert Ferguson. While that sounds like a good idea, it's not going to happen this year.

Ferguson is still an untested receiver. Why? He's usually injured. That's unfortunate because Ferguson is a tough football player, but he has been dealt blows since he arrived in Green Bay as a second-round draft pick in 2001. Ferguson always seems to be on the verge of a breakout season, but has broken down instead.

Last December, Ferguson took a shot from Donovin Darius that almost knocked him out of the league. Ferguson has practiced regularly in training camp and says he is recovered, but you can only wonder what effects that hit will have on the receiver when the regular-season begins.

Ted Thompson said on Monday that he receives calls all the time about trading players, so it is possible that the Packers will trade Ferguson for a player who might be able to help in other areas, but not likely.

Besides Ferguson's injury history, he has never caught more than 38 passes in a season. Last year he finished with 24 catches for 367 yards and one touchdown. He has yet to show the potential that the Packers feel he has, though, that's not to say he's not trying. Injuries, especially the nagging variety, have kept him out of practice and some games in his career. He has played in 45 of a possible 64 regular season games with 18 starts.

Ferguson has potential. You can see it when he practices, and he has flashed it during games. The Packers should keep him, at least one more season, for that reason.

"I feel I'm the No. 1 receiver," Ferguson said. "Anything less than 70 catches or 1,000 yards is a poor year for me this year."

That actually would be an outstanding year for Ferguson, considering Javon Walker and Donald Driver are ahead of him. In fact, if Ferguson was able to stay healthy and catch between 40 and 50 passes, his trade value would skyrocket. The Packers would, in turn, get much more for the fifth-year receiver. As it stands now, the Packers probably wouldn't get more than a low-round draft pick.

Plus, the Packers need Ferguson this season. Rookies Terrence Murphy and Craig Bragg appear to be solid prospects, but they are untested. Murphy has been battling a groin injury in training camp, and Bragg missed the June minicamp with a hamstring injury. Ferguson solidifies the depth for the Packers at receiver.

"Fergie's a very integral part of our football team," Coach Mike Sherman says. "He has developed into a very, very good receiver," he said. "I think he's going to have a heck of a year."

If so, then the Packers would be better off trading him next year about this time.

Todd Korth

Note:Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.

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