Green Bay Packers: It's Hard to Justify the Rasul Douglas Trade

I'm a big believer in assuming more knowledgeable people know what they are doing, even if I don't understand their reasoning. That was the attitude I took yesterday afternoon, when I learned the Green Bay Packers traded defensive back Rasul Douglas and their fifth-round pick in 2024 to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for a third-round pick. However, a day later, I truthfully struggle to see the logic behind that trade.

The Packers aren't having a good season and that wasn't unexpected since they are clearly in rebuild mode. So, in that regard, the trade would make some sense if you're only looking at the long-term. Yet even then, it's still flawed for a number of reasons.

First, the Packers are down but not out yet. They no longer have Aaron Rodgers behind center so one of the quarterback's signature late-season rebounds isn't going to happen. And 2-5 is admittedly hard to bounce back from.

But seven teams from each 16-team conference make the playoffs each year. That means Green Bay only needs to have a better record than 9 teams. While on paper, that might still seem like a lot, they currently have a better record than four teams in the NFC. Three of the other five teams competing for that final playoff spot only have three wins and the other two are 4-4.

It's still an uphill road for the Packers but if a clearly inexperienced offense can find a way to score the points they are currently leaving off the board, there's still enough time for them to climb that hill, especially when six of their last 10 games are against teams with a combined 13-27 record. 

Second, the timing doesn't make sense. If defensive back Eric Stokes wasn't on injured reserve, you could argue Douglas was the odd man out behind Stokes, Jaire Alexander and Keisean Nixon. Stokes, however, is going to miss the next few weeks, making Douglas a veteran starter on a defense that has received its fair share of criticism but has kept most games close enough to be winnable. Not to mention he's a valued and outspoken veteran leader on a team that has way too few of them right now.

Last, the trade value wasn't very good. If Green Bay had gotten a third-round pick for Douglas with no other strings attached (or even a fourth rounder), then maybe I could find value in trading him during the season rather than waiting until the off season and risking an injury.

The problem is, to get the third-round pick, they had to give up their fifth-round pick. To put that in some perspective, if the season were to end today, Green Bay would receive a pick toward the bottom of the third round while the Bills would receive Douglas and a pick at the top of the 5th round. Based on the Fitzgerald-Spielberger NFL Draft Trade Value Chart, that would put Douglas' value in that trade at the equivalent of a sixth-round pick. 

It might just be me, but that seems awfully low for a starting-caliber defensive back that has been vocal about the losses but hadn't crossed into that "locker room cancer" category, at least from what I could tell. It certainly doesn't seem to be enough trade value for the team to pull the trigger when he could help keep them in the hunt.

Unless, of course, they aren't telling us something.


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