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Damarious Randall Trade Leaves Packers' CB Group in State of Flux

-- After the shocking turn of events on Friday that saw cornerback Damarious Randall being dealt to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for quarterback DeShone Kizer, nothing is exactly out of the realm of possibility in terms of trades.

So where do the Green Bay Packers go from here?

Under new general manager Brian Gutekunst, a weakness was just made even weaker, but luckily, the Packers still have the rest of the free agency period and 12 picks -- as it stands -- in April's draft to address any position of need they please.

One of those needs is obviously cornerback, and the likelihood that they draft one of the top prospects at 14th overall will grow substantially when the Randall - Kizer trade is finalized on Wednesday, the start of the new league year and the free agency period.

The Packers only have one cornerback with consistent starting experience on their roster, and that's Kevin King, who was their 33rd overall pick in last year's draft. His injury-riddled rookie season offered a momentary glimpse into someone whose capabilities the Packers have in their long-term plans.

Now, it's about finding a match on the opposite perimeter and someone who can excel in the slot like Randall once did.

Randall was the Packers' best cover cornerback, whether on the perimeter or stuck to the slot in the nickel defense. Gutekunst needs to now turn his attention to either free agency or the draft with $21.2 million in cap space to hone in on a replacement.

The Packers' current crop of cornerbacks -- King, Davon House, Josh Hawkins, Lenzy Pipkins, Quinten Rollins, Demetri Goodson, Donatello Brown and Herb Waters -- aren't capable of being that replacement.

House, whose agent reportedly had preliminary talks with the team about a possible return in 2018 at the NFL Scouting Combine, according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky, is set to be a free agent next week. 

Hawkins, Pipkins, Brown and Waters are all undrafted free agents, Rollins is coming off of a serious Achilles injury and Goodson's role as a special teams gunner has been well-solidified at this point in his four-year career.

So while shipping off Randall netted the Packers a backup quarterback for Aaron Rodgers along with a few extra spots in draft positioning and $1.5 million dollars in cap space, how Gutekunst follows the move up will determine whether or not this trade was truly team-friendly or not.

Aaron Colvin is not just one of the top cornerback names on the market right now, but he'd fit the mold Randall left behind almost too perfectly.

The former Jacksonville Jaguars centerpiece played in 16 games last season, masked by the Pro Bowl campaigns put together by A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey, the starting duo of the bunch. Colvin was most reclined to the slot where, according to Pro Football Focus, he allowed 0.76 yards per cover snap, which ranked as the fifth-best mark among 34 cornerbacks that played at least 200 passing downs from the slot.

Other free agent options include Malcum Butler, E.J. Gaines or Kyler Fuller, who was given the transition tag by the Chicago Bears this week. They'd have the advantage of being able to match an offer put out by any team that tried pursuing him.

Former All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, who was released by the Seattle Seahawks on Friday after seven prestigious years with the team. 

The Packers' cornerback group could look either remarkably or disastrously foreign by September.


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (52) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Gutenkust's on the clock to add some talent to that secondary. It looks bad.

MedicMike's picture

They have King and a bunch of nothing. Talk about a need!!

I have no doubt in my mind that Gute and Co have a solid plan in place for Pettine's new secondary. They're loaded with draft picks and have just enough cap room (as it stands now) to add a solid starter in free agency.

I have faith in the front office. I'm excited to see how it looks after the draft

Minniman's picture

I'm with you.

The logician in me says that on face value this trade wasn't a clean cut "win" for the Packers - unless there's an as-yet-undisclosed PLAN B.

12 picks in the draft is ludicrous. Packers are most certainly going to wheel and deal.

one other side thing - it;s firming up that CM3, Jordy and Randall's current contracts won't survive the off-season. The signs are out that the Packers front office is "open for business" and money will need to be found somewhere.

GB Jacker's picture

Have to agree with MedicMike, have some faith people. Some of the stuff on twitter is laughable. Demanded TT goes and then maligns a different approach without giving it a chance to play out.

It seems like Cleveland were in on a lot of CBs this month and Randall was not their first choice - but knowing GB were high on Kizer they saw an opportunity to get a deal done. With Tyrod coming in and undoubtedly one of their top picks going on a rookie it makes little sense to keep Kizer around so getting something for him makes some sense. But the Packers got the best of this deal by a long way. Randall is not a proven commodity in this league and will be after a new contract next year, which clearly MM was not going to give him. We were presented with an opportunity to bring in a guy that the Packers wanted last year, and to increase our draft capital significantly.

Yes we are light at CB and no doubt we have to bring some guys in, but 2-3 years from now if Kizer develops into a 1st or 2nd round pick that Gute then uses to draft Rodgers successor I think this will be seen as a great deal, regardless of Randalls career trajectory.

dobber's picture

How many people were saying at the end of last season, "could it possibly get any worse?"

Either the Packers are replying by saying, "we agree," or by saying "hold my beer." I guess it's a matter of perspective.

worztik's picture

Looks aren’t everything buddy!!! Give the man a chance. We wouldn’t be in a bad spot at all if it weren’t for the illustrious TT!!!!

worztik's picture

This is addressed to me Brown!!!

jh9's picture

By trading away Randall, the Packers will have to get a veteran CB via FA. They cannot go into the 2018 season starting two inexperienced perimeter CBs. That would be a disaster.

Fortunately, this year's draft has good depth at CB. There's enough talent this year to find a good CB even in the 4th round.

With a quality FA CB and King on the perimeter, either Rollins or a drafted CB would start in the slot. It's not ideal, but with some luck we might be okay.

The Randall trade also makes it more of a need for the Packers to improve their pass rush.

BG has his hands full. I hope he is up to the task.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I agree. And CB is deep. If we are starting Rollins anywhere, things will be interesting.

Lare's picture

There's also a very good chance that Burnett will be signed elsewhere, so there's a few holes in the defensive backfield that need to be filled.

Have to believe that Pettine has a pretty good idea of the players in the league that will fit in his system(s) and help them be successful.

John Kirk's picture

Aaron Colvin...ZERO career INT's and played on a Sacksonville D known for intense pressure on opposing QB's. if ever there was a buyer beware it would be on this guy. I'd look hard at the games where that D got torched. How can he have no interceptions playing for a team with that kind of pass rush. I can't imagine him coming to Green Bay after playing there and being anything like he was.

A moment of deeper reflection gives me my first glimpse that maybe Brian isn't weak. He ridded the org of a problem. I have respect for that as it was a reported issue last season with the defense. Whether Brian did it of his own accord or at the urging of MM is another story, though, so perhaps he's still weak.

Ol' Mother Hubbard even thinks that CB cupboard is bare.

Richard Sherman is a very intriguing name. He's smart and tough. I also thought Martellus was going to bring a toughness to our team last season and couldn't have been more wrong. He is that potential bargain basement vs. production ratio we've looked for for years.

Look at the stable...King, Hawkins, Waters, Pipkins, Rollins, Goodson, Donatello Brown, Is there a worse group in the entire NFL? Seriously. I don't think that's a question that shouldn't be asked. I'm not sure what position group is worse...TE or CB?

NO WAY we roll into the season with that group. None. Only question is...will it be more high picks at CB or FA? How exactly are we signing top flight CB's with our financial situation? I think it's more draft and develop dogma coming. Wouldn't shock me to see the org take CB in 2 of the first 3 picks. Maybe, back to back like Randall and Rollins. Not a fan of the idea of drafting our way to a fix...that never seems to work for our defense.

Colin_C's picture

Take a look at this John. I just found a photo of the current CB group

John Kirk's picture

Great stuff, CC.

You're right on about this ending all talk of a QB at 14 or a pick in Round 2 on Lamar Jackson. I think our WR dreams are over, too. :( No Sutton for sure. Maybe, you'll get your guy in Round 3?

Colin_C's picture

I still think we take a WR before day 3. My gut says we get DJ Moore in the second, but that's just a hunch.

Colin_C's picture

Well, if nothing else, this hopefully dispels the idea of taking a developmental QB at #14.

ShanghaiKid's picture

I don’t dislike the idea of moving on from Rollins, but I hope beyond hope they have a plan, because my god we don’t have a single proven corner on the roster.

Rossonero's picture

My problem is this (and I hope it changes with Mike Pettine):

On defense, we don't play to our players' strengths.

Examples include Casey Heyward and Micah Hyde.

Despite his injuries, when healthy, Heyward was a damn good slot corner. What do we do? McCarthy's like, "Hey, Casey needs to be versatile, he should be able to play on the outside."

Guess what? He struggled on the outside. But the Chargers play to his strengths and he bloomed. 2 Pro Bowls just like that.

Micah Hyde. We had him inside, outside, safety, returning punts, etc. Sure, he wasn't the fastest, but he was still damn good. So what does Buffalo do? Put him at safety and boom - Pro Bowler. Play to his strengths.

This team can't get over the hump because not only is it not drafting well enough, when it DOES draft well, the Packers don't play to their players' strengths. And so the roster keeps turning over with youngsters who need 2-3 years.

Unless we sign Richard Sherman or Trumaine Johnson, it's gonna be a long season. Unless we draft some dynamite CB like Marshon Lattimore, it's gonna be a long season. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize this secondary is anything but Super Bowl caliber.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Hayward does play outside and blossomed anyway. Read it isn't because he gets to play all zone, or all man, he just is suddenly good.

Hyde just wasn't that good in GB. His best position was safety, but he got displaced by Dix within two games or so.

I don't get the Sherman hype. Big name of course. Achilles ruptures are serious. I wouldn't risk what little cap we have on a guy we don't know will be healthy for the start of the season, and if he is, won't know whether he will be anywhere close to being the player he used to be.

John Kirk's picture should understand the Sherman hype...that is classic Packers. Go find an injured guy, and don't pay him based on his past production...get him because nobody else wants him. That is Woodson all over again. Charles was 30 when he came to us after injury issues in Oakland. Many thought he was done.

Any FA is a risk just like any draftee. I'd rather roll dice on a guy who has been that successful and brings aura and identity with him. Our D has zero identity.

That type of injury was usually a death knell back in the early 2000's but surgical techniques have come a long way.

Michael Crabtree completely tore his Achilles as a Niner and is having a fine career in Oakland. Cameron Wake bounced back after tearing his. Steve Smith came back at 37 to haul in 70 receptions for 799 yards and 5 TDs catching balls from Flacco.

Everyone is different but I think the "he won't be the same" talk is overblown. His injury is going to make him cost effective and that's exactly what we need. Plus, he wants to play for a team with a great QB. Check.

Rossonero's picture

Reynaldo: "Hyde just wasn't that good."

According to what?

He played in 63 of 64 possible games. He had 2, 3 and 3 interceptions from 2014-2016. He returned several punts for touchdowns. That's far better durability and production than most of the other DBs -- and more in his first 3 years than Haha Clinton-Dix. And that's still not good enough for you?

You're missing the point -- it was hard for him because we kept moving him around. Kind of hard to settle into any rhythm when you're being moved around. Then when the Bills let him play safety he's a Pro Bowler.

Plus, Haha Clinton-Dix wasn't a beast his rookie year. He got the safety spot by virtue of his draft position as a 1st rd pick, not by amazing performance.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Yeah, I agree with most of that. Think I even deleted that I thought Hyde was still better than Dix was when Dix took over at safety because GB wanted to get reps for Dix. (Did it because trying to keep my posts shorter!)
Hyde really was useful, just don't think he was actually good at any one of the things he spent most of his snaps doing in GB.

Rossonero's picture

Good to hear. You were scaring me there a bit about Hyde. What's worse is, had we kept him, we'd have an instant solution to Morgan Burnett's imminent departure. Now, we will have another gaping hole at safety.

PackEyedOptimist's picture

This is definitely a "waiting for the other shoe to drop" moment. I expect a FA CB signing to be announced soon.
Despite that, I'm not sure the Hawkins/Waters/Pipkins trio doesn't have someone who can fill Randall's void. They have flashed just as much as he did.
Kizer is also a reasonable signing.

Community Guy's picture

i watched a bit of Kizer tape from last year. granted, it did not include all of the picks he threw; however, i saw some hope in the tape. Kizer reminds me a bit of, gulp, Brett Hundley.. a guy who can run or stand in the pocket. what i liked about Kizer is his arm.. it is strong. the second area where i think Kizer is better than Hundley is his deep throwing.. it seems more accurate (how can it not be, right?). i am sure McCarthy wanted this trade. now, it is up to coach to make sure it is a good one.

PackEyedOptimist's picture

Not to be overlooked: according to sources, the Browns exchanged their 4th and 5th round picks with the Packers. Getting the first pick in the 4th round is pretty sweet in this draft!

Royalty Free GM's picture

And we got rid off Randall. Now cut Cobb and we have plenty enough ammo to get any CB we want.

Packer Fan's picture

The problem with Randall is that he is inconsistent. And i thought never really that good. So next year, how good was he going to be? To me a toss up. So ok for me to trade him. We needed a top corner regardless. Now we know BG is working on a FA CB. The swaps in draft picks also allows BG to trade up more. We don't need 12 picks. That's a TT trick.

PackfanNY's picture

Some of the reaction to this trade is borderline comical. You would think we just dumped Herb Adderly. Do yourself a favor and read Rob Demovsky piece on ESPN. Randall was damn near cut in the middle of last season when a veteran committee of players went to McCarthy after his actions with an assistant during the Chicago game. Randall wasn't/isn't that good. Let's see what Gute has in mind before this is judged. Maybe a FA is on boarded. Maybe the draft. We have plenty of picks and now will pick the first pick of day 3 because of this move. I know one thing we aren't taking the field without 2 corners on defense!

HankScorpio's picture

We know we won't be sitting here next January bemoaning that the roll of the dice on Randall blew up in their faces. So at the very least, we'll be bemoaning a different name.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I don't know that.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

The Packers only have one cornerback with consistent starting experience on their roster.

That sounds like House, but he's about to be a FA.

HankScorpio's picture

I thought it was a stretch to describe King as someone with consistent starting experience. He showed some flashes but wasn't consistent. And only had 5 starts in 9 games before shutting it down. Still, he's without a doubt the best bet on the roster at the moment.

Awfully thin at CB, for sure. I expect at least one vet and at least one rook. Maybe more of both.

Jon Lee's picture

So maybe he's already worked out a secret deal with a corner who could be a 1? That doesn't include overpaying Sherman?

Lphill's picture

I wanted the best pass rusher available at 14 not corner , now if no free agent signing we know corner will be our first round pick.

Royalty Free GM's picture

Shocking? LoL

Royalty Free GM's picture

What you guys think which FA CB we should sign? Or maybe a trade?

Doug Niemczynski's picture

We are waiting.

marpag1's picture

This neither surprises nor excites me. I thought everyone pretty well knew that the coaching staff considered Randall to be a head case, so kicking him and his modest production to the curb is not a shocker at all. But it doesn't excite me because I don't see Kizer as any real improvement over Hundley (woah, that was hard to say...), and I don't see the move up in D4 and D5 as very much compensation for the small contributions of Randall. Whoever said that they were waiting for the other shoe to drop is spot on.

This is one of those not-uncommon deals where two GMs who know and like each other agree to execute a "problem player dump." I'll take your problems and mistakes and you'll take mine, and in the process we'll both take a flyer that the crappy player we traded for might be able to turn it around.

The move does add some weight to the generally accepted idea that Cleveland is locked in on a QB at the top of the draft - if anybody doubted that - so that would be good for GB, IMO

zeke's picture

I wonder if the trade for Tyrod Taylor changes the equation for Cleveland, although if it does I suspect it only makes it more likely that they trade out of #1 or #4 to someone else looking for a QB. Let us pray.

marpag1's picture

Yeah, I hadn't seen the Taylor announcement before I wrote this. Still, I would think that Cleveland is probably seeing Taylor as a veteran placeholder who can start a few games while the rookie is getting up to speed. In my opinion, Cleveland would be taking a pretty big gamble if they think they can hitch their long-term wagon to Tyrod Taylor. He doesn't suck, but..... if the best QB on the roster is Tyrod Taylor, and you have picks 1 and 4 in a class that looks very good for QBs, I think you have to take one.

Crackerpacker's picture

They should have a good plan, Because even though he played well afterwards the Packers imo have been planning to get rid of him since the Chicago game.

Johnblood27's picture

How many times do you see a team need to dump a player for mediocre performance AND bad attitude-behavior and then get absolutely NOTHING for him and have to simply cut him and move on?

A lot.

Gute got pretty good value for Randall considering all of his performance and behavior and attitude issues.

I especially like the draft movement.

Dont overlook the possibility that a CB that will be cut by a team for cap reasons (happens every year) might be sought in a draft choice trade now.

TT would NEVER trade a draft pick. We have 12 and now some are better, more value. Why only use picks to move around in the draft? Use them to supercede free agency competition on a cut player by getting him before he is cut.

croatpackfan's picture

Looks like Adam Jones (Bengals) will be available...

Since '61's picture

Before the Randall/Kizer trade we had 3 CBs, King, Randall and House. Now we have King, but a chance to get better players than Randall or House. If Gute can pull that off plus add a pass rusher or 2 he will have improved our pass defense. Bottom line is that we need better players at every level of the defense except for maybe the DL. Time for patience and time to give Gute a chance. Let's see what happens next. Thanks, Since '61

Tundraboy's picture

If there ever was a team that needed a veteran free agent starter at cornerback this is it. And at TE. And at...

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Guys its time to start rooting for the Browns.
They will be in the Superbowl and win it before the Packers ever will.

Bedrock's picture

My eye test looks at Randall and says, “what did we really lose?” Oh sure, he had spots of good plays, like an interception that fell into hands as the result of another player’s deflection. But for a secondary that gave up an incredible completion percentage and passing yards and touchdowns without interceptions...really, how much are we losing? This is very possibly an addition by subtraction. Secondly, this sends a message of no player being secure and players who are cancerous will not be tolerated.

worztik's picture

You nailed it!!!

Bedrock's picture

Considering the only reason Randall was kept was Capers...players and other coaches wanted him gone after his benching last season. A cancerous loss? Stop mourning, start celebrating. This is a fantastic move to get ANYTHING for a player they intended to cut. Competition at backup QB and cap savings? Great move.

worztik's picture

I think what needs to happen here is that we all stick a finger in our eye and run screaming in a figure eight!!!! Makes a lot more sense than all the panic and inane comments!!!! Yer acting like the SB called and we were out of town and missed the call!!!! Let’s keep things in perspective and calm the frak down!!!!

John Kirk's picture

I just want to get this on record before the start of FA...

My belief is we will sign none of the 1st wave CB's. We may end up signing one in the 2nd or 3rd wave and most will trumpet the signing like the guy was a 1st wave difference maker.

14 is Josh Jackson. I just have a sinking gut feeling.

Cubbygold's picture

Given the cap situation, I'm hoping for two guys in the second/third wave. GB needs depth at the position, so I'm hoping they don't go all in on one guy. Can't guarantee King will stay healthy, or Johnson for that matter, so I think the best fit for the team is trying to acquire two underrated $6M/Yr type CBs, along with a draft pick in the first three rounds.

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