Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy cited four different factors that influenced or influenced the team’s decision to trade cornerback Rasul Douglas to the Buffalo Bills at the trade deadline on Tuesday.
So what opened the door to a deal? The offer from the Bills, the impact on the 2024 salary cap, an improved situation for Douglas and the possibility of rookie Carrington Valentine.
Here’s what Murphy wrote in his monthly post on Packers.com:
Rasul played well for us and we weren’t looking to trade him, but Buffalo’s offer was too good to pass up and it frees up a significant amount of cap space for next year. It’s also a great opportunity for Rasul to go to a talented team and for Carrington Valentine to show he’s a quality corner.
The offer: The Packers sent Douglas and a fifth-round pick to the Bills for a third-round pick in the 2024 draft. While the pick swap will likely send an early fifth-round pick to the Bills for a late third-round pick, the trade gives the Packers five picks in the top 100 of next year’s draft, including two third-rounders. Brian Gutekunst also said the deal was “too good to pass up.” The Packers must overcome their recent history with third-round picks to make the trade worthwhile.
The salary cap: The Packers gained some cap space in 2023, but the real financial impact of trading Douglas will come next year. While the trade is about $5 million in dead money for the 2024 salary cap, the Packers will also save $6.5 million overall, and any savings from this year can be carried over to next year. This team is still trying to reset its financial situation after pushing so much money into the future to get through the pandemic and keep the teams around Aaron Rodgers intact in 2020 and 2021.
Winning opportunity for Douglas: The 29-year-old cornerback goes from a slumping 2-5 Packers team in the early stages of a transition/rebuild to a 5-3 Bills team led by Josh Allen and likely a Super Bowl contender in 2023. Douglas gives the cornerback-needy Bills a great perimeter coverage player for the stretch run. While he is an important leader in Green Bay, he could be a key piece for a team looking to make a deep run in the AFC playoffs.
New option for Valentine: The rookie seventh-round pick was a standout during training camp and now gets 10 games to show he’s capable of being part of the long-term answer at cornerback. Without Douglas on the roster, Valentine will likely be the first option to start opposite Jaire Alexander. Moving Douglas also gives 2021 first-rounder Eric Stokes a chance to be a real contributor when healthy.