What Are Packers Getting with Deshone Kizer?
Damarious Randall for DeShone Kizer. The trade was agreed to between the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns late on Friday.
The teams also swapped picks in the fourth and fifth rounds of the 2018 draft. But the real question is what are the Packers getting with Kizer? Because on the surface, they just traded a starting cornerback for a backup quarterback.
Here’s what we can tell you about Kizer.
He was a second-round pick (No. 52 overall) by the Browns in 2017 out of Notre Dame. Kizer entered the draft after just two years starting for the Irish, plus one redshirt season. At the time, Notre Dame coach Chip Kelly said Kizer wasn’t ready for the NFL. The Browns didn’t care and his draft position suggests he was chosen to be a starter.
A starter he was.
Kizer was quickly thrown into the fire, starting 15 games for the 0-16 Browns as a rookie. And Kelly was right. Kizer wasn’t ready.
He threw for 2,894 yards, 11 touchdowns and 22 picks as a rookie. Some other interesting statistics are these: 53.6 completion percentage, 60.5 rating, six fumbles lost, 6.1 yards per attempt and he was sacked 38 times for a loss of 226 yards.
All of those numbers are horrible. Like, Brett Hundley horrible.
Surely, you can say Kizer was a rookie and played behind a terrible line, but this is also clear. The Browns have decided that Kizer can’t start in this league — and so have the Packers, for that matter. He isn’t coming over to take Aaron Rodgers’ job.
Kizer is coming over to be a backup.
Kizer is only 22, so he could legitimately fill that role for the Packers for at least three years. Kizer is under contract through the 2020 season. Meanwhile, this is the final year of Hundley’s deal.
The thing is, Kizer has a similar skill set to Hundley. In addition to chucking picks, Kizer ran for 419 yards in 2017. As we saw with Hundley, Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy does not know how to adapt his offense to such a quarterback. Either that, or he won’t.
But while Hundley’s limitations have become clear, Kizer is still moldable clay.
And finally, let’s get down to the financial ramifications. Moving Randall saved the Packers about $1.4 million after they ate the remainder of his signing bonus. However, adding Kizer costs about $700,000 per season, so the Packers really only gained about $700,000 in salary cap space.
This wasn’t a salary cap move. The Packers wanted rid of Randall.
If you want to go deeper into the cap, here it is. If the Packers cut Hundley, who is also due $700,000 this year, they could get back to the $1.4 million mark they shed in terms of Randall’s salary and roster bonus. And as I’ve mentioned to a few other people, if the Packers cut Demetri Goodson — as they should have a long time ago — they can get another $700,000 in savings. Then they’re up to $2.1 million in new space. That’s not much in the NFL, but it’s something.
But they still need cornerbacks.