The Packers traded former first-round pick Damarious Randall to the Browns for Kizer on March 15, 2018. While Randall flopped as a cornerback for the Packers, he started all but one game for the Browns last year at safety and is projected to be a starter again this season.
The Packers kept Tim Boyle, who likely will be Aaron Rodgers' backup at least to start the season. Boyle, an undrafted free agent who was the Packers' No. 3 quarterback last season behind Rodgers and Kizer, led all NFL quarterbacks this preseason with six touchdowns (and did not throw an interception).
The 23-year-old Kizer, who was the 52nd overall pick in the 2017 draft, was never able to rectify the accuracy problems that plagued him during his rookie season as the Browns' starter. He threw a league-high 22 interceptions and just 11 touchdowns in the Browns' winless 2017 season. For Kizer, this was his fourth different offense in as many seasons -- from his last year at Notre Dame to the Browns to his first year with the Packers under then-coach Mike McCarthy to new Packers coach Matt LaFleur.
Kizer played in three games in relief of Rodgers last season, including three drives in the season opener after Rodgers hurt his knee against the Chicago Bears and then most of the season finale against the Detroit Lions after Rodgers suffered a concussion. He threw two interceptions without a touchdown in 42 pass attempts in those two games.
"In terms of myself, I feel confident as hell," Kizer said after Thursday's preseason finale. "I've changed my body, I've changed my mental [approach], I've changed my process as far as how I go about things, I've changed my mentality with how I approach the game, and with that, I'm happy. This has been a great offseason for me. The decision of whether or not I play for this team isn't on me. But what I can say it that I'm confident I've become a better quarterback, I've become a better person, and I'm looking forward to having an opportunity to go out there and win games. That's kind of the last cherry on top. But in terms of age and youth and where I see myself, look man, this game has given me a great life. It's given me a great education, it's given me great relationships that I'll cherish forever, it's given me opportunities of a lifetime. And for that, I'm always going to be grateful, I'm always going to have positive energy, but now it's about seeing where I'm going to land and what team I'm going to be able to affect with that positive energy."
It's possible the Packers could bring in another quarterback, such as former New England Patriots backup Brian Hoyer (who was also released on Saturday) or someone else familiar with LaFleur's offense, but for now Boyle will back up Rodgers. The strong-armed 24-year-old was inactive for all 16 games last season after making the roster as a free agent out of Eastern Kentucky. Boyle started his college career at UConn, where in three seasons he threw just one touchdown and 13 interceptions.
"I just feel a lot more comfortable right now, even from an offensive standpoint, just understanding the scheme and seeing defenses, understanding protections, that kind of stuff," Boyle said after the preseason finale. "I just feel more comfortable being around Aaron [Rodgers], DeShone [Kizer], Manny [Wilkins]. We have those good conversations to make sure we all understand, we're all on the same page, so [I'm] definitely a bit more comfortable and I think I'm definitely a little bit more efficient on the field than last year. I was thinking a lot more last year. This year I was able to kind of just go there, react and play ball."