In short, the Green Bay Packers decision to move on from cornerback Rasul Douglas just before Tuesday’s trade deadline was that the offer was just too good too pass up.
“It was a tough one because of what he means to our team,” said GM Brian Gutekunst on Wednesday. “But at the same time, we weren’t looking to move anybody. Got a call out of the blue a few days ago and it ended up being, we weren’t really interested in doing it, but at the end of the day, the offer was too good to pass up.”
Along with trading Douglas to Buffalo, the Packers also had to give up a 2024 fifth-round pick as well, and in return, the team received a third-round selection. Green Bay now has five picks within the first three rounds of next year’s draft.
From a salary cap perspective, Green Bay will create just under $1 million in cap space for the remainder of the 2023 season, which can be carried over to 2024. Next season, which was the final year of Douglas’ deal with the team, the Packers will create an additional $6.5 million in cap space, although Douglas won’t completely be off the books as he will leave behind a dead cap hit of $5.1 million.
“It’s more about, that’s a four year rookie contract,” said Gutekunst about getting a third-round pick in return. “It also frees up a significant amount of resources from the cap for next year as well. It’s everything that’s involved in that, and just looking at our team right now, some of the young guys that need to play and making sure we know what we know there as well. There’s a lot of factors that go into that.”
Without Douglas, the Packers are losing there most dependable cornerback this season and someone who has routinely been very good at making plays on the ball. As a Packer, which spans roughly two full seasons, Douglas has recorded 19 pass breakups and 10 interceptions, several of which have come at key moments in the game.
Green Bay now finds themself with some question marks at cornerback, a position that was considered a strength coming into the season. In addition to no longer having Douglas, Jaire Alexander is still dealing with a back injury, Eric Stokes remains on IR, and Corey Ballentine and Robert Rochell – two players who were on practice squads a week ago – are the backups, along with having Keisean Nixon in the slot.
“We thought it was in the best interest of the Packers,” added Gutekunst. “Obviously in the short-term you lose a good player, and that’s tough. But at the same time, looking long-term it’s going to be in our best interest.
“Any time you get a third round pick that’s going to be within the top 100 and probably be within one of the top 50 players you have on your board, that’s something that I think was too good to pass up. We wish him well. He served us well while he was here and we are excited about the opportunities it will present some other guys.”
It’s not only Douglas’ play on the field that is going to leave a void for Green Bay to try to fill, but he was also one of the leaders off it—a resource for many players on this young Packers team to lean on with questions and to learn from. Following Sunday’s loss to Minnesota, a number of players took turns meeting with Douglas at his locker seeking advice and answers. Douglas also walked off the field after that game side-by-side with Jordan Love, messaging to him that despite their record, the Packers aren’t far off from winning.
“You consider all those things,” said Gutekunst about losing Douglas’ leadership. “Quite frankly at the beginning, that’s why I said no, for what was being offered didn’t make any sense, but once it got to a certain point, there’s some offers you can’t refuse and this was one of those.
”He’s a good player. Again, we wish him well, but I also think right now there is opportunity and I have a lot of expectations for players to step into leadership roles that need to step into leadership roles. I think they’ve done that. We’ve certainly seem some evidence of that and it needs to continue to grow. I’m hopeful and excited that it will.”