CB Rasul Douglas Open To Packers Return

Cornerback Rasul Douglas was a revelation for the Packers in 2021. The West Virginia product was selected by the Eagles in the third round of the 2017 draft, but Philadelphia deemed him expendable at final cutdown time before the start of the 2020 season and placed him on waivers. He was claimed by the Panthers shortly thereafter and went on to start 11 games for Carolina in 2020.

However, he finished as a middle-of-the-road performer that year per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics, and he signed a one-year pact with the Raiders last April, only to be cut in August. Sensing that he might have a good opportunity with the rebuilding Texans, he signed with Houston one day after being released by Las Vegas, but he was cut again less than a week into his Texans tenure. He subsequently hooked on with the Cardinals’ taxi squad and was poached by the Packers in early October.

Douglas, 27, enjoyed a career year in Green Bay. In just 12 regular season games (nine starts), he picked off five passes, returning two for touchdowns. He had always shown solid ball skills, having averaged 8.5 passes defensed per year over his first four seasons in the league, but his ability to convert those PDs into picks in 2021 was a major asset to the Packers’ defense.

It stands to reason, then, that the club would want to bring Douglas back, and for his part, Douglas is certainly amenable to a return. When asked what it would take for him to re-sign with the Packers, Douglas said all the team would need to do is ask. On a follow-up question as to how much more money Green Bay would have to pay him above the prorated $990K veteran minimum he earned from the team in 2021, he replied “probably a little more. Nothing crazy” (Twitter link via Matt Schneidman of The Athletic).

Of course, even a modest raise will be difficult for the Packers to accommodate. The club is currently projected to be more than $45MM over the cap, and that’s before a presumptive franchise tag for WR Davante Adams. Green Bay has only three CBs under contract for 2022, and while two of those players — Eric Stokes and Jaire Alexander — are high-quality starters, retaining Douglas on something of a team-friendly deal would be especially helpful to a defense that could lose some pass rushing prowess (Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith) in the front seven.

Douglas’ market will be interesting to monitor. In addition to his counting stats, he allowed just a 45.3% completion rate in 2021, and opposing passers had a meager 49.6 QB rating when throwing in his direction, the third-best mark in the league. So there is plenty of reason to believe that his breakthrough 2021 campaign is sustainable, and assuming rival clubs feel that way, Douglas could be priced out of Green Bay’s range.

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