GREEN BAY, Wis. – Yes, let’s get it out of the way at the start. There’s no way to accurately and definitively grade the Green Bay Packers’ trade of Rasul Douglas to the Buffalo Bills. Douglas hasn’t played in a game for the Bills and that third-round pick that the Packers acquired is playing for some random college.
Who cares about any of that? Let’s grade the trade – Douglas and a fifth-round pick to Buffalo for a third-round pick – anyway.
Packer Central: C
Let’s preface everything with this: You never know what goes on and is said behind closed doors. To me, Douglas was a high-quality starting cornerback, a leader, and the conscience of the team. Watching one player after another stop at his locker after Sunday’s loss spoke volumes about how his teammates viewed him.
Douglas didn’t point fingers. No, he didn’t want to hear about the offense being young, but the defense – including himself – had to play better. It needed to score points. It needed to give Jordan Love more chances.
The Packers need as many premium draft picks as they can to fuel the rebuild. Now, they have five in the first three rounds. Including their pick early in the fourth round, they could have something like six of the top 105 selections. That being said, do I need to mention Green Bay’s third-round history?
The deal created $6.5 million of additional cap space for 2024. Which is nice, You know what else is nice? Proven starting players.
Sports Illustrated: B
From Green Bay’s perspective, Matt Verderame said the “value was too good to pass on” in shipping one of the team’s best players to a top AFC contender. But Douglas turned 29 in August. A third-round pick in 2017, Douglas was buried on Arizona’s practice squad when the cornerback-starved Packers grabbed him in 2021. He’s played the best ball of his career with the Packers, with 10 of his 15 career interceptions, but how long will he be an above-average starter?
When Eric Stokes was ready to return to the lineup following last year’s foot injury, the big question was how the Packers would get him on the field. The answer is clear now.
Noted Kevin Patra: “The Packers are in a different spot now than when they swiped Douglas, and moving from the fifth round to the third round is a decent gain, compared to what we normally see with pick swaps (we’ll call it a pick swap-plus). It makes sense for Green Bay to get a closer look at its younger players.”
Pro Football Focus: Good
PFF skipped the letter grades and gave the Packers a “good” and the Bills an “above average.”
Is a third-round pick strong compensation? Yes. However, PFF raises a good point: The third-round pick acquired by the Packers should be toward the bottom of the round. The fifth-round pick acquired by the Bills should be toward the top of the round. In essence, the Bills acquired Douglas at the cost of perhaps 40 picks.
In a “lost season,” the Packers were wise to get a premium draft pick for an aging corner who’s under contract through the 2024 season.
In a story for ESPN+, Seth Walder gave the Packers a B. Using ESPN’s draft value calculation, the compensation nets out as a pick early in the fourth round.
“This is what happens when you rebuild,” Walder wrote. “You deal contributing players for draft capital that can help for years to come. The fourth-round value might not feel amazing for someone with another year of team control, but Douglas is ultimately more valuable to a contender than to the Packers. If this is what the market brought for him, it is worth taking.”
Sporting News: B
With Tre’Davious White out with a torn Achilles, the Bills needed a cornerback. Thus, they got an A-minus.
For Green Bay, getting a third-round pick in return seems good but in reality “isn’t great considering that they gave up a fifth-round pick as part of the deal and will now have to hope that Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes can stay healthy at cornerback, something they haven’t been able to do in recent seasons.”
The Athletic: B-minus
Getting a third-round pick will “help the rebuild” but, as others have noted, sending back a fifth-rounder hurts the overall value.
The Score: A
The Packers need all the draft capital they can get.
As noted by PFF, the difference between a pick late in the third round and a pick early in the fifth round isn’t huge. Jordan Dajani was right: Most Packers fans hate this trade.
USA Today: A and B
The Packers got a B at USA Today. The focus for general manager Brian Gutekunst and coach Matt LaFleur is how to get this team competitive in 2024.
The Packers got an A at USA Today’s For the Win, even though losing Douglas hurts now and will hurt even more when “when the Lions torch Stokes or whomever over the top for a deep touchdown” on Thanksgiving.
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Rasul Douglas was the conscience of the #Packers. After Sunday's loss, he said. "I’ve never been a loser in my life. These last two years have been f***ing loser. That sh** ain’t me."
He's not a loser anymore. Now, he's a member of the Buffalo Bills.https://t.co/yWO2iGyvAu
— Bill Huber (@BillHuberNFL) October 31, 2023