Whenever the Green Bay Packers approached the NFL Trade Deadline this year, they had every right to be sellers. The team was still breaking in new quarterback Jordan Love and was coming off of a loss to the rival Vikings that dropped them to 2-5 on the season.
So they sold. They weren't having a fire sale in the Lambeau parking lot by any means, but the one big deal they did pull off was sending veteran cornerback Rasul Douglas, along with a fifth-round pick, to the Buffalo Bills for a third-round pick. It seemed like a passive waving of the white flag.
But that's not been the case. Since the trade deadline, the Packers have gone 3-1, most recently toppling the Lions dominantly on Thanksgiving Day, and are trying to surge for a playoff spot with a manageable finishing stretch to their regular season schedule.
Moreover, the Douglas trade has had a potentially unintended -- or maybe unrealized by the fanbase at the time -- consequence: An absolute stellar breakout effort from rookie seventh-rounder Carrington Valentine.
Carrington Valentine has become a star since Packers traded Rasul Douglas
Despite being a late-round pick in his first NFL season, Valentine has hit the ground running and is performing like one of the best cornerbacks in the league already.
Ross Uglem of Packer Report broked down just how good Valentine has been since the Douglas trade and the numbers are eye-popping. PFF has the rookie graded as the 17th best cornerback in the NFL since the Douglas trade with the third-best passer rating against and the second-best completion percentage allowed (behind only Jalen Ramsey).
While the Packers are eating some of Douglas' salary from the three-year extension he signed with Green Bay, they are still coming out as a net positive with the performance of a rookie on a seventh-round contract like Valentine who is performing at an arguably higher level than Valentine. That is something that Brian Gutekunst and company can benefit from immediately when this season ends in how they continue to build the roster around Jordan Love.
Lost in all of the early-season panic for the Packers was the fact that this is one of the youngest teams in the NFL, particularly on offense. However, we're starting to see the entire team grow and now a young piece on defense is contributing heavily to that.
And if Douglas hadn't been traded, we might not have seen the Valentine breakout happen at all.