Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit

Packers in tough shape at cornerback after missing on Stephon Gilmore, signing Rasul Douglas

  • Updated
  • 0
packers photo 10-6

Cornerback Rasul Douglas joined the Packers on Wednesday, his sixth team since being drafted by the Eagles in 2017. He was on three rosters this year as either an offseason or practice squad member.

GREEN BAY — Their shutdown cover man is in peril of being lost for the season. They’re in dire need of an unpopular-with-the-fan-base player to return to the lineup and play well. They lost out on a bona fide NFL star who wound up being traded elsewhere. And they settled for a decidedly lower-wattage addition.

That was the long and short of the Green Bay Packers’ cornerback situation Wednesday afternoon.

Second-team All-Pro corner Jaire Alexander missed practice with the right shoulder injury he suffered last Sunday against Pittsburgh and may be headed for the operating table; the New England Patriots dealt Stephon Gilmore to the Carolina Panthers after the Packers expressed interest; oft-maligned veteran Kevin King returned to practice after missing the past two games because of lingering concussion effects; and the club added Rasul Douglas, signing him off the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad.

But the stark reality was Alexander, who according to coach Matt LaFleur was still seeking more medical opinions on his injury, is unlikely to play this Sunday at Cincinnati and could be out for a while.

LaFleur tried to evade questions about how long Alexander might be sidelined and tried to avoid being definitive even about his availability against the Bengals, though he did say the team is hoping Alexander won’t need surgery.

“We’re still gathering opinions on that,” LaFleur replied when asked directly if Alexander needs surgery. “We’re going to try to avoid that at all costs.”

LaFleur then said he didn’t know how long Alexander will be sidelined and would only say that he “most likely” won’t play against the Bengals. Asked later in his Q&A session with reporters after practice whether surgery, if required, would be season-ending, LaFleur said, “Yeah, I’d say most likely.”

If Alexander does miss extended time, he’ll join edge rusher Za’Darius Smith (back), left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), left guard-turned-left tackle Elgton Jenkins (ankle) and wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring) as key players sidelined by injuries.

The Packers would presumably start King, who is close to being fully cleared from the concussion protocol, and rookie first-round pick Eric Stokes outside at cornerback against the Bengals without Alexander, with Chandon Sullivan manning the slot position and Isaac Yiadom, rookie Shemar Jean-Charles or the newly-acquired Douglas coming off the bench.

“It’s not just his energy, it’s his ball skills and the way he plays. Obviously, great cover guy,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said of Alexander. “If he’s not able to go for a while, obviously we need Kev to step up and play as well as he’s capable of playing.”

Added wide receiver Davante Adams: “It’s obviously big shoes to fill. Jaire’s all over the place. He makes a lot of plays. It’s going to be tough to fill exactly what he does out there, but those guys have been working and they take it serious as well.

“Kevin has been around here for a while, too. He’s made a lot of plays for us and he’s had his ups and downs, but I think where his mind is right now.”

Meanwhile, Adams and Rodgers tried to downplay their disappointment of not getting Gilmore, whom the Panthers got for a 2023 sixth-round pick Wednesday. The Packers’ best chance of landing Gilmore would have been if the Patriots had flat-out released him, which is what ESPN reported was New England’s plan earlier in the day after several days of looking for trade partners.

Because general manager Brian Gutekunst and vice president Russ Ball, the team’s salary cap guru, had essentially maxed out their options on ways to conjure up salary cap space by restructuring contracts — virtually every veteran player on the roster had redone his deal to convert salary to signing bonus during the offseason and training camp to push money into future cap years — the Packers’ best hope was for the Patriots to cut Gilmore, making him a free agent.

The team then could have structured a new deal with voidable years to push some of the cost into the future. Instead, with roughly $7.2 million in cap room to start the day, according to OverTheCap.com — compared to the $19.3 million the Panthers had before acquiring him — the Patriots decided to release the four-time Pro Bowl cornerback, which would have allowed Green Bay to sign Gilmore to a deal they could structure in a way that would’ve worked with their salary cap situation.

According to two sources familiar with the Packers’ pursuit of Gilmore, the team had been interested in the 2019 NFL defensive player of the year even as Gilmore sat on the Patriots’ physically unable to perform list with a quadriceps injury.

That made the addition of Douglas — a 2017 third-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles who started 11 games for the Panthers last season before bouncing around to the Las Vegas Raiders, Houston Texans and the Cardinals this offseason — more than a bit anticlimactic.

“We’ve had to play without Z, without Dave, without Elgton,” Rodgers said when asked how the Packers move on without Alexander. “So we’ve just got to find a way.”

Photos: Packers' 2021 season in pictures

Check out photo galleries from every game of 2021 from the preseason through the end of the regular season and the playoffs.

  • Updated
  • 0

The Green Bay Packers fell to the Houston Texans 26-7 in a preseason game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021. 

  • Updated
  • 0

The Green Bay Packers failed to pick up a win in the preseason, falling to 0-3 in exhibition play after getting blanked by the Buffalo Bills 1…

  • Updated
  • 0

Despite third-string quarterback Kurt Benkert’s strong showing while filling in for injured backup QB Jordan Love, the Packers came up short i…

  • Updated
  • 0

Reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions as the Green Bay Packers struggled on both sides of the ball Sunday afternoon, falling …

  • Updated
  • 0

Wisconsin State Journal photographer Kayla Wolf captured all the action from Lambeau Field as the Green Bay Packers quickly erased a 17-14 hal…

  • Updated
  • 0

Check out all the best images from Levi's Stadium as the Green Bay Packers escaped with a 30-28 victory over the San Francisco 49ers after a w…

  • Updated
  • 0

The Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17 on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

  • Updated
  • 0

The Green Bay Packers improved to 4-1 on the season after kicker Mason Crosby overcame a shaky performance to hit the game-winning field goal …

  • Updated
  • 0

The Green Bay Packers improved to 5-1 on the season after rolling past the Chicago Bears 24-14 on Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago. 

  • Updated
  • 0

The Green Bay Packers shored up their red-zone defense Sunday en route to their sixth consecutive victory of the season, defeating the Washing…

  • Updated
  • 0

The Green Bay Packers (7-1) won their seventh straight game when they took down the previously unbeaten Arizona Cardinals (7-1) Thursday night…

  • Updated
  • 0

The Green Bay Packers (7-2) wasted a strong defensive effort as their seven-game winning streak came to an end when the Kansas City Chiefs (5-…

  • Updated
  • 0

The Green Bay Packers fell to 8-3 on the season while the Minnesota Vikings improved to 5-5 with a 34-31 victory in an NFC North showdown Sund…

  • Updated
  • 0

The Green Bay Packers (8-2) got back on track with a 17-0 victory over the Seattle Seahawks (3-6) on Sunday at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. 

0 Comments
0
0
0
0
0

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alert