The Green Bay Packers traded cornerback Rasul Douglas to the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday at the NFL trade deadline. In exchange, the Packers got a third-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft while sending a fifth rounder back to Buffalo. Unfortunately, Packers GM Brian Gutekunst didn’t get enough value back in exchange for Douglas. Here’s what we learned from the Packers trade of Rasul Douglas on Tuesday.
The Packers Are Clearly Now in a Rebuild
The first thing that became abundantly clear is that the Packers are now in rebuilding mode. At 2-5 and with a young and inexperienced roster, the team realizes they will not be competing for a Super Bowl this season.
Trading Douglas will clearly not make the team better this season. It will, in fact, likely weaken the team at a premium position.
But the deal is designed for the future. The Packers now have what is likely to be a top 10 pick in the first round unless they turn their own season around. They also have two selections in round two, their own and the pick they acquired from the New York Jets in the Aaron Rodgers trade. Gutekunst now has two picks in round three as well, the Packers own and the one acquired for Douglas.
The Pack may be awarded a compensatory pick for the free agents they lost last offseason which could be as high as a third-round pick as well.
All these picks are ammunition for Gutekunst to add more talent to a rebuilding roster. He can use all these picks or package some of them in a trade to move up in the draft or to add some veteran players in future trades.
The Salary Cap Implications of the Packers Trade of Rasul Douglas:
The deal does free up some cap space for the Packers. They will save almost $900,000 this season and approximately $6.5 million in 2024.
The team will have to absorb a dead cap hit of $5.1 million which will reduce the cap savings, somewhat.
The Packers are also no longer responsible for the roster bonus and workout bonus that were part of Douglas’ contract in 2024.
The Current State of the Packers at CB After Trading Rasul Douglas
When Gutekunst traded Douglas, he weakened the Packers at the cornerback position for this season. Douglas has been the team’s most consistent player at the position this season.
Douglas was by far the team’s highest graded corner in coverage by Pro Football Focus. He also provided the defense with veteran leadership, something the team lacks because there are so many inexperienced players throughout the roster.
The Packers are also now thin at a position that was thought to be a strength entering the season.
The Remaining Packers Cornerbacks After the Trade
Jaire Alexander has missed time due to a back injury and hasn’t played up to his usual standards when he’s been in the lineup. Alexander has seemed reluctant to make tackles and has been beaten in coverage at an unprecedented rate.
This season, opposing quarterbacks have completed 80 percent of their passes when throwing to receivers covered by Alexander according to pro-football-reference.com. Their quarterback rating is 146.5. By comparison, last season, their rating was 63.7.
Eric Stokes is back on IR after spending the first five games on the PUP list. He played four snaps on special teams, suffered another injury, and will miss at least the next three games.
Stokes missed the last eight games of the 2022 season and struggled on the field before his injury. The former first-round pick out of Georgia had a strong rookie campaign but was hoping to bounce back after a sophomore slump. It’s not clear when he’ll be back in the lineup and how well he’ll play once he returns.
Keisean Nixon is the starting slot corner. He has also struggled in coverage this season. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 72.7 percent of their passes when throwing to receivers covered by Nixon and have a quarterback rating of 97.8.
That leaves rookie Carrington Valentine, who was beaten badly in his first extended NFL action against the Broncos and Corey Ballentine who was recently elevated from the practice squad. The team also has Robert Rochell who has five career starts since entering the league in 2021. He has yet to play for the Packers.
The Packers will likely give Valentine a long look, but the team is now thin at a premium position.
The Packers Didn’t Receive Great Value in The Rasul Douglas Trade
Trading veterans at the trade deadline makes some sense but the Packers didn’t get enough in return for Douglas. He was worth at least a third-round pick outright. Having to return a fifth-round pick as part of the deal made this a lot less valuable.
The Packers fifth round pick will likely be early in the fifth round while the Bills third rounder will likely be near the end of that round.
Essentially, the Packers traded away Douglas to move up about 60 picks in the draft. Add in Gutekunst’s horrible track record in the third round and the trade is even less appealing.
Overall, this trade was not a great one. The Packers simply didn’t get enough in return for a solid player at a premium position who was likely to be on the roster in 2024 if they didn’t trade him.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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