Green Bay Packers, NFL Free Agency

Green Bay Packers sign Preston Smith: Grade, reaction and more

It’s been a busy few days for the Green Bay Packers. And the franchise has been showing the cheddar. Their latest addition is outside linebacker Preston Smith.

For a franchise that usually relies on the draft to restock its talent base, the Green Bay Packers have certainly broken form in 2019. So far this offseason, the club has added safety Adrian Amos (Chicago Bears) and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (Baltimore Ravens). Now add another bookend to defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s unit.

The club is bringing another outside linebacker in four-year pro Preston Smith, late of the Washington Redskins. That team’s second-round pick in 2015 has been a 16-game starter each of the past three seasons and over that span has totaled 16.5 sacks, nine passes defensed, four interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries. He comes off a year in which he racked up a career-best 53 tackles to go along with four quarterback traps.

Second-year general manager Brian Kutekunst and the organization have been extremely aggressive these last two days, especially in regards to fixing a defense that finished 18th in the league this past season.

Contract Details

Via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Smith will sign a four-year contract with a base value of $52 million. There’s a $16 million signing bonus and more than half of the deal ($27.5 million) comes over the first two seasons.

National Reaction

Smith is the league’s 19th-ranked edge performer according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). He’s a well-balanced performer who is also solid against the run. He’s never missed a game in four years in the league and should help a teams that was 22nd against the run and forced only 15 turnovers this past season.

New head coach Matt LaFleur and returning defensive coordinator Mike Pettine have a solid player that could be on the verge of putting up big numbers this fall. The former Mississippi State product can turn the corner and harass opposing quarterbacks. There is room for improvement when it comes to capitalizing on those sacks (24.5 in 64 games) as Smith has only forced four fumbles – only one the past three seasons combined. And that’s what drops his grade just a little.

The Green Bay Packers are coming off consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1990 and ’91. The defense certainly deserves its share of the blame. But Smith is the latest move in what has been quite a haul for the organization.

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