A crazy day across the NFL has gotten even crazier, after the Green Bay Packers traded starting cornerback Damarious Randall to the Cleveland Browns for DeShone Kizer.
The teams also agreed to swap picks in the fourth and fifth rounds of the upcoming NFL draft. This means the Packers will have the first pick of Day 3 of the draft and have essentially traded up in two rounds without having to surrender any picks.
The move is an interesting one for new general manager Brian Gutekunst. In his first major move since replacing Ted Thompson, Gutekunst quickly checked off one need from a long list of problems on the Packers’ roster.
Acquiring DeShone Kizer from the Browns dramatically improves the team’s situation at backup quarterback, which clearly cost them a playoff berth last season.
Kizer was the Browns’ starter this past season and has a long way to go. Throwing just 11 touchdowns to 22 interceptions isn’t a good start, but it is worth remembering that Kizer was playing with 44 other players who contributed to a winless season.
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Kizer is also a considerably better passer from the pocket than Brett Hundley. The Packers resorted to running the ball as much as possible with their rookie running backs, hoping to save Hundley from himself. It is worth mentioning that the Packers were rumored to be considering drafting Kizer in last year’s draft, a sign that they have had interest in him for over a year.
The Packers sent Randall to the Browns in a rather strange approach shortly before free agency. They are in the bottom third of the league in terms of cap space, and this move doesn’t create much going forward. Randall was entering a contract year, and had his play improved significantly, the Packers might have been compelled to give him long-term money.
Randall’s time in Green Bay was a colossal disappointment after being drafted in the first round out of Arizona State. His play was inconsistent at best, and putrid at worst. New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine can now focus on Kevin King being the team’s primary cover man, while the front office can search for his partner in crime either in free agency or the draft.
Packer fans are already wondering if this opens the door for a pursuit of Richard Sherman, and while this could be a realistic scenario, it is still much more likely that the team would select Josh Jackson with the 14th pick in this year’s draft rather than pay significant money to an aging player.
The deal on the whole is a productive move for the Packers. They got rid of one part of their awful defense and turned it into a quarterback that they will have much more confidence in than they did in Hundley. Swapping picks in the fourth and fifth rounds with the Browns is a very positive development, as it will give the Packers the first pick of those rounds.
Improving the backup quarterback position as well as your draft status could usually mean you are giving up a coveted asset in return, but the Packers only had to part with Randall. Gutekunst can now focus on improving his secondary without having to spend a draft pick at quarterback.