You’ve heard the news by this point. The Green Bay Packers traded Damarious Randall for DeShone Kizer.
Those in favor of the trade have said the Packers got rid of a problem child.
Those against the trade have pointed out the Packers have made a large roster hole even bigger.
On the surface, it looks like the Packers traded their best corner from a season ago for a backup quarterback.
Looking deeper, it’s clear what the Packers’ plans were with Randall.
Randall was benched and banished to the locker room during a Sept. 28 contest against the Chicago Bears.
Following that game, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, the Packers’ veteran players wanted Randall released.
Ultimately the Packers stood by him. He responded by playing well down the stretch. With Kevin King injured, Randall was the Packers’ best available cornerback.
There was a positive vibe for him going into the offseason.
He responded by criticizing coaches in his exit interviews and essentially being told to keep his mouth shut by his Head Coach.
Mike McCarthy used the phrase “clean his own house”. McCarthy wanted Randall to worry about his own business.
Ultimately with those factors at play and Randall’s pending contract situation it was clear things were not going to work out long term for Randall in Green Bay.
The trade was made to fortify the Packers’ backup quarterback position. They clearly believe in Deshone Kizer. There were whispers they may draft him a season ago at pick 33.
Ultimately they went with Kevin King, but that speaks to how high they were on the quarterback prospect from Notre Dame.
Backup quarterback was an issue a season ago. Brett Hundley clearly was not ready to handle the reigns.
Kizer gives the Packers a long term option to eventually use as a trade chip.
As the trade has gotten further into the rear view mirror, hand wringing has ensued.
The Packers did not respond to the Randall trade by signing an expensive cornerback like Trumaine Johnson or Richard Sherman.
Instead they’ve only added Tramon Williams. Their cornerback group still needs able bodies.
Randall was an intriguing player when he was in Green Bay because he made a lot of big plays.
He led the team in interceptions a season ago, and always seemed to be around the ball.
The issue with Randall is when he was not around the ball he was an average-to-below-average cornerback.
Some of that is due to the fact that he was playing out of position. Mike McCarthy made it clear the Packers played him at cornerback out of necessity.
We’ll never know how things would have gone had the Packers simply let Randall play his natural position.
What we do know is that he was not a special player at cornerback.
The Packers have acknowledged all offseason they need to get better on the defensive side of the ball.
Damarious Randall was part of a secondary that was one of the worst in the league a season ago. He was a bright spot at times, but also an ingredient to their failure across the board.
Teams cannot get better on defense by bringing back the same players from a defense that was bad a season ago. The trade of Randall is forcing the Packers to try something different to get better at cornerback.
They tried relying on Randall to be part of the solution each of the last two seasons. The Packers never got better.
That does not fall squarely on Randall, but it’s clear the Packers needed to do something different.
Randall’s clear issues with the coaching staff made part of the different approach much easier.
There will be comparisons to letting Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward get away. Two capable defensive backs that were simply allowed to leave in free agency.
Those comparisons are an exercise in foolishness. The Packers were never keeping Randall around.
It had little to do with ability. This was mostly a locker room move at its core.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing continuously and expecting different results. The Packers are trying something different.
What they do with their cornerback group remains to be seen. Only time can tell if they made the right decision.