In his first major move as general manager, Brian Gutekunst sent cornerback Damarious Randall to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for quarterback DeShone Kizer in a trade consummated Friday. The teams also swapped picks in the fourth and fifth rounds, meaning the Packers moved to the top of those rounds.
Clearly, the Packers weren't satisfied with the way Hundley performed last season after Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone. Although Hundley kept the Packers alive in the playoffs until Rodgers returned in Week 15, he did so just barely. He went 3-6 as a starter (including two losses after Rodgers went back on injured reserve following his one-week return), but two of those wins came over bottom-tier teams (Cleveland and Tampa Bay) -- and both in overtime.
Last week at the NFL scouting combine, coach Mike McCarthy offered a critical assessment of the whole situation -- both Hundley and the coaching aspect -- when he said: "Brett Hundley wasn't ready for what he needed to be ready for. That's something that we have to learn from, and that stings."
McCarthy also fired quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt after the season.
Hundley, a fifth-round pick in 2015, has one more season left on his rookie contract. He and Rodgers were the only quarterbacks on the roster before the Kizer trade. Last year's third-string quarterback, Joe Callahan, is an exclusive-rights free agent.
The Packers were interested in Kizer on draft weekend last year, but the Browns took him took in the second round at No. 52 overall. Kizer started all but one game as a rookie for the winless Browns, but he was pulled from two games and benched for another. He led the NFL with 22 interceptions while completing just 53.6 percent of his passes.
Randall, the 30th pick in 2015, was an enigma for the Packers -- a talented, athletic cornerback who showed promise as a rookie, struggled in part due to injuries in his second season and almost played his way off the team early last season when he was benched in the Week 4 game against the Chicago Bears and then thrown off the sideline in the second half.
There was strong sentiment in the locker room at that time to give Randall the boot -- sources said McCarthy's committee of veteran players suggested that Randall be released -- but the Packers stood by him. He responded with a stretch of three straight games with an interception and finished with a team-high four picks, but he missed the final two games with a knee injury that some in the organization thought he could have played through. Then, Randall was critical of defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who was fired after the season.
"I'll tell you what I told Damarious: He needs to focus on himself," McCarthy said after the season. "He's got to clean his own house. That's what I look for him to do in the offseason. He did a lot of really good things. We all understand what happened in the Chicago game, but I thought from the Chicago game on, he played at a very high level. He probably played the best football of his career, but then he didn't play the last two games. He needs to go home and self-evaluate and clean his own house. We all need to clean our own house."
The Randall trade leaves the Packers with an even bigger hole at cornerback. They're high on last year's top pick, Kevin King, who played through a shoulder injury for much of the year until finally succumbing to surgery. Veteran Davon House played extensively but was on a one-year deal, and the Packers have had only preliminary talks with his agent about a return. The Packers also expect Quinten Rollins, a second-round pick in 2015, to come back from Achilles surgery and also have former undrafted free agents Lenzy Pipkins and Josh Hawkins.
However, cornerback should be high on their list in free agency and/or the draft.
Gutekunst wouldn't say whether the Packers were involved in trade talks with the Kansas City Chiefs for Marcus Peters, who was sent to the Los Angeles Rams. Former All-Pro corner Richard Sherman could be an option after he was released Friday by the Seattle Seahawks.