The last calendar year or so has been a complete whirlwind for Rasul Douglas. Heading into the 2021 offseason, Douglas was a free agent but went unsigned well into April, when the Oakland Raiders brought him in on a one-year, league-minimum contract. He would then receive his release in late August, signing with the Houston Texans for a week and eventually landing on the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad.
From there, Douglas’ story during the regular season is well-known to Green Bay Packers fans. The Packers plucked him off the Cardinals’ practice squad in early October following Jaire Alexander’s shoulder injury. Douglas went on to record a game-clinching interception against those same Cardinals just a few weeks later and posted pick-sixes in back-to-back games later on in the season.
Douglas solidified the Packers’ cornerback room at a critical juncture of the 2021 season. On Saturday, shortly after the Packers freed up significant salary cap space by trading wide receiver Davante Adams, they used some of that space to re-sign Douglas to a three-year contract. Douglas’ deal is reportedly worth $21 million with potential incentives that could bring the total value as high as $25.5 million.
This re-signing, along with linebacker De’Vondre Campbell’s new five-year deal, means that the Packers will bring back nearly every core piece of their defense from a year ago. The team’s only notable departures are pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith, who played just two games (including postseason) last year, reserve safety/dime defensive back Henry Black, who was not tendered as an exclusive-rights free agent, and defensive lineman Kingsley Keke, who was released prior to the Packers’ playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Additionally, fellow cornerbacks Kevin King and Chandon Sullivan remain free agents as of this moment.
Douglas’ impact on the Packers in 2021 is difficult to overstate. He played in 12 games for Green Bay, starting nine of the final 11 games, and he recorded a total of five interceptions and 13 pass defenses in that span. The interceptions total doubled the total he had in the first four years of his NFL career, while the pass defense number was a career-high.
Green Bay’s coaching staff now has a fun puzzle to work out in the secondary. Douglas has been exclusively a boundary corner during his time in the NFL, while Stokes also worked almost exclusively on the outside. That could drive the Packers to use Alexander as the team’s primary slot cornerback, known as the “Star” position in Joe Barry’s defensive scheme. The only game in the 2021 season that saw the Packers put all three of those cornerbacks on the field together was the playoff game against the 49ers. In that contest, the Packers’ defense allowed just 131 passing yards and six points.
Douglas was clear this offseason about his desire to return to Green Bay. Now, thanks in large part to the financial flexibility afforded to the team by trading Adams, that desire has become a reality.