News broke Friday afternoon that the Packers traded Damarious Randall to the Browns for DeShone Kizer and moved up 13 spots in rounds four and 12 in round five of this year’s draft. This was surprising to most everyone because cornerback is a position of need, and Randall was their best cornerback last year after his week four meltdown, in which he threw a temper tantrum and finished the game in the locker room. Make no mistake, he played well. Yes being the Packers best corner is no feat but he did legitimately play well, measured by most any stat or metric after being abysmal early in the year and last year.
Trading him, however, is a good thing. We can debate all day about whether what they got in return is worth it. Or if this is just going to be another Packers defensive back that excels somewhere else. And the obvious question is what are they going to do to rebuild a secondary that has been pathetic the past two years. What else is obvious, however, is that the Gutekunst and Co have a plan. They acted decisively in getting rid of a player who a group of veteran wanted to see let go after the Bears game. Would anyone have been surprised had he been let go then? He also openly criticized the coaching staff at the end of the year, saying they needed to hold players more accountable for on-field errors. Regardless, they made the decision they wanted to get rid of him and they did, swiftly before free agency even really started.
How will Gutekunst address corner? One can only guess, but it seems to save to assume they will add a veteran free agent as well address it in the draft, which offers a pretty deep crop of cornerbacks. They wouldn’t be making this move if they didn’t have a definitive plan in mind.
As far as what they got back, it’s not insignificant. The Packers like Kizer and discussed drafting him at the top of the second round last year, instead opting to take Kevin King. This obviously addressed or begun to address their need for a backup quarterback, which will free up other resources. Perhaps that was a 4th or a 5th round draft pick. Or a veteran backup that would have eaten up precious cap space. (They also gained $738,335 in cap space with the trade). Veteran backups don’t come cheap. Kizer did play poorly last year, but of course that was with the Browns, the graveyard for quarterback prospects. Also, its worth noting that he is 22.
They also moved up 13 spots in rounds four and 12 spots in round five. While the round five move doesn’t carry much weight, the round four move could prove useful. This will give them the first pick of day three, giving them and other teams time to make a trade if a team has a particular affinity for a player still on the board.
It also gives them the ability to pick up yet another pick by trading Brett Hundley. Of course, Hundley’s trade value is quite low, but a draft pick is a draft pick, giving the Packers more ammo come draft time. But our Editor in Chief, Al Bracco tweeted this Friday.
A whisper for you. Was just told Hundley to the Titans was supposed to happen but called off by Tenn. Oakland still interested in Hundley for a late draft pick.
— Jersey Al – GBP (@JerseyAlGBP) March 10, 2018
Meanwhile its obvious that the Packers didn’t have Randall in their long-term plans. This is a player they likely would have had for one additional year and one who was an obvious issue in the locker room. It took guts for Gutes to make the move, as his first move of any significance on the surface dug a deeper hole a position that is a need. On its face, it seems questionable, which is exactly why the move shows leadership, a plan and vision. Unless one thinks Gutekunst is winging it, this move is just the first step to many more to come this offseason.Originally from Glidden Wisconsin, Jason Straetz is a lifelong Packers\' fan, who has lived in Maine for over 30 years. He is a writer for packerstalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @jsnstz