The NFL is abuzz with transactions. At this rate, free agency will be a letdown compared to the prequel. The Green Bay Packers have sent 25-year-old cornerback Damarious Randall to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for quarterback DeShone Kizer. In addition to the player transaction, the teams have swapped their picks in the fourth and fifth rounds allowing Green Bay to move up in both. Newly-minted general manager Brian Gutekunst‘s first move is certainly a controversial one. To trade talent away from a position of need for a backup quarterback feels like phase one of a larger plan.
This is significant: The #Packers not only picked up QB DeShone Kizer in their trade of Damarious Randall, but they also moved up in the 4th and 5th rounds, I’m told. They swap 4th rounders with the #Browns and then 5th rounders, too. Browns move back twice, GB comes up.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 10, 2018
Green Bay Packers Trade Damarious Randall to Cleveland Browns for DeShone Kizer
Randall snagged a career-high four interceptions in 2017, though some were a case of being in the right place when the ball was tipped. Regardless, he voiced his opinions when the defense struggled through yet another season. Randall urged coaches to hold players more accountable for their mistakes. His comments did not sit well with head coach Mike McCarthy.
“You’re talking about words of frustration”, McCarthy remarked. “He needs to focus on himself. He’s got to clean his own house.”
The third-year corner had good reason to be frustrated. The Packers ranked 24th in yards allowed last season, surrendering 4,401 total passing yards as a team.
Having sent their former first-round cornerback to the new-look Browns, the Packers welcome a quarterback of similar draft pedigree. Kizer was selected in the second round of the 2017 draft by the Browns and immediately became the starter there. His first game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers was not the debut he was hoping for.
In that game, the rookie quarterback threw for a touchdown and an interception and was sacked seven times. He was benched after five games, then named starter once again. The Browns haven’t been known for savvy quarterback management in recent years.
Conversely, Green Bay has a history of dominant signal-callers such as current starter Aaron Rodgers, from whom Kizer will receive proper tutelage. When Rodgers went down early last year, backup Brett Hundley was shoved into the starting role. His performance down the stretch definitely played a part in the Packers seeking other options. Hundley was ill-prepared for the rigors of the NFL regular season despite three years of development.
The Packers went 3-6 with Hundley at the helm, something the fan base is not used to nor comfortable with. If he hopes to be the number two option in Green Bay next season, Hundley will have to compete with Kizer for that opportunity. At just 22 years old, Kizer will benefit from his surroundings in Green Bay and hopefully be up to the task should the need arise.