Losing is not fun.
I realize this isn’t exactly prose that’s going to change literature, but sometimes the facts don’t need to be painted with beautiful reds and blues and oranges and purples. Sometimes, black and white do just fine. And one of the black and white facts of the world is that nobody likes to lose. That’s not to say that there aren’t valuable lessons one can learn in defeat, but I think it’s safe to say that nobody likes it. Well, unless you’re a fourth of the teams in the NBA. Then I guess you’re okay with it.
Memphis Grizzlies aside, you can understand how, in the early period of free agency, Packer fans across the nation were experiencing a wide range of emotion when they heard the news that Green Bay had dealt former first round draft pick DeMarius Randall for the quarterback of one of the few teams in league history to lose every single game they played, DeShone Kizer. We’ve established that people don’t like losing; it only stands to reason that they probably don’t enjoy the people responsible for those losses as well. Kizer definitely fits that mold.
On it’s face, this is a trade that’s going to make people angry. The Packers moved a highly touted young player who played in a position of need and acquired someone who should not be part of the plan to see the field this year. It’s going to make people angry because it doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. Compound that with the fact that Jordy Nelson was sent packing a few days later and the anger manifested pretty quickly. Nothing made sense.
On it’s face.
Those are the key words here. Because if we dig down a little deeper, we can make a little more sense of this. Let’s break down a few of the key items here to understand what might be shaping public perception and what other examples we might be able to achieve the goal of making this a little less confusing.
1) Recently, Packer cornerbacks have played well on other teams
Casey Hayward and Micah Hyde have both left the Packers organization in recent years and were both promptly given second team All-Pro honors after having up and down careers with the Packer organization. Now the pump is primed to view this departure as more significant than it might be. I’m not saying that Randall is or isn’t a good player or might not fit really well in Cleveland, but as of now past events don’t correlate to future events.
2) Randall’s appeared to play at a valuable position
Though the Packers are very short at cornerback, Cleveland has already openly stated that they plan on moving Randall to Free Safety. That position in Green Bay currently held down by Haha Clinton Dix, one of their more stable defenders. With his ability to play cornerback and contribute where the Packers needed him in question, it made him less expendable in their eyes. (Editors note: since I started writing this, the Packers have replaced Randall with Super Bowl champion Tramon Williams, PFT’s 9th graded QB from 2018).
3) Damarius Randall was young and should have many more years with the Packers
Should is really the key word here. There were reports shortly after this deal that the Packers were apparently considering outright releasing Randall after a committee of veteran players came to the agreement that he should be released following an incident earlier this year where he appeared to leave the stadium after being demoted. The previous Packers organization stood by him, and the current organization seems to be siding with the players.
4) The Packers have no need for Kizer
The same article mentions that the Packers were considering Kizer during last years draft, which seemed to coincide with the Twitter reports the night of last year’s NFL Draft that the Packers were seriously considering taking Kizer with the pick they eventually used to land Kevin King. I’m sure Green Bay is thrilled to get the two players it wanted with the same pick.
So that explains why they did it, but it doesn’t address the complaint that it trades a team need for a position of non-need. That’s fair. But I think you’re missing the lesson that Aaron Rodgers has taught us (at least) twice in his time in the NFL – that a backup quarterback is becoming increasingly important. Not only when the starter gets hurt, but to build a bridge from one regime to another.
5) The draft compensation was neglible
The Packers were able to move up to get the first pick in the fourth and fifth rounds of this years draft, in addition to getting Kizer. If these rounds don’t seem very important to you, let me give you a quick rundown of the players on our roster we took in the fourth or fifth round in the last five years:
Jaamal Williams, Blake Martinez, Dean Lowry, Corey Linsley, Jake Ryan, JC Tretter, Micah Hyde, and Mike Daniels
That’s a pretty damn good list and it might grow in size if Vince Biegel can produce after recovering from his foot injury. Adding draft positioning, including the first pick of the drafts final day, allows our new GM with added addition to negotiate the later rounds and fill out the remaining holes on our roster.
Given all that, I think the trade makes quite a bit of sense and could be one of the rare deals in the NFL that works for both teams. Randall probably needed a change of scenery and it’s clear Kizer and the Browns were not a good fit. Now, both men move to greener pastures to hopefully make a name for themselves.
Let’s hope DeShone can figure out a way to resurrect himself in Green Bay like another second round flameout who got traded after a disappointing rookie season.
Boom, surprise gunslinger