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Should the Packers consider extensions for Martinez or Fackrell?

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Should the Packers consider extensions for Martinez or Fackrell?

When it comes to the 2016 draft class for the Green Bay Packers, things are starting to become clear. Kenny Clark is a stud, Blake Martinez was a solid get and Kyler Fackrell is starting to pay off.

Dean Lowry has also been a solid contributor at times and Trevor Davis is still on the roster, proving to be a pretty decent return specialist. But when it comes down to it, this draft class is about three players: Clark, Martinez and Fackrell.

When it comes to Clark, who has turned into one of the top defensive tackles in the league, with 10.5 sacks, 14 TFL and 110 tackles over the past two the past seasons, Green Bay has some time.

That's because the Packers wisely used their fifth-year option on Clark, a late first-round pick, which means his contract runs through the 2020 season. 

With Martinez and Fackrell, that isn't the case. Both players signed four-year rookie deals and they will expire following the 2019 season, which begs the question, does either player deserve a contract extension?

Looking first at Martinez, the former fourth-rounder from Stanford has exceed expectations. He has started 41 of 45 career games and while he's not an elite linebacker, he is extremely productive. 

After 65 tackles, a sack, four tackles for loss, four passes defensed and an interception as a rookie, Martinez really blossomed in 2017, finishing with 142 tackles, 10 TFL, one sack, eight passes defensed, an interception and a forced fumble.

Last season, under the direction of Mike Pettine, he did even more, registering 144 total stops to go along with five sacks. He also broke up three passes, had six QB hits and 10 TFL. In short, it was another stellar campaign.

But is it worth a hefty contract extension? 

It all depends on how much Martinez is asking for because while he has been a productive player, I'm not sure I'd call him elite. He hasn't even made a Pro Bowl or an All-Pro team. He is a valuable starter though and until we see what Oren Burks can do, not signing him would leave a huge hole on defense.

The other consideration is that if he has another big season, the cost will only go up. The Packers have around $8 million in cap space to work with according to Spotrac, so now might be a good time to get a deal done and have one less headache for the 2020 offseason.

However, if Martinez signs an extension that could close the book on new deals until the next league year. And even though it may sound crazy, Kyler Fackrell seems like another good candidate for a contract extension.

Some might laugh at the suggestion, after Fackrell managed just five sacks in his first two seasons. However, with extended playing time in 2018, he turned in 10.5 sacks. 

With Zadarius Smith and Preston Smith now in the fold, Fackrell is essentially the third rusher on the team. Buit if he can still produce with fewer opportunities than Green Bay has to consider a new contract. After all, you can never have enough pass rushers.

It seems unlikely that any new deals would be done before the start of the season. In respect to Martinez, it seems like the development of Oren Burks could play a role. If he steps forward, Martinez becomes less of a need.

Yet, if Martinez continues to harass the quarterback, find the ball and make impact plays, it's hard to see how the Packers could ignore that and let him hit the open market. He's certainly not great in coverage but he's not terrible either. 

In the case of Fackrell, GM Brian Gutekunst likely wants to see more. The Packers paid Nick Perry off one year and they ended up regretting it. 

They don't want to make that mistake again, however, you also don't want talented, young pass rushers to walk out of the door. 

That means if Fackrell continues to rack up sacks this season, Green Bay might be better off using that $8 million or so on him instead of Martinez. 

Either way, that money shouldn't go to waste. It can be rolled over but if the Packers can avoid a key player hitting the free agent market, they should do it. 

It might just save them money in the long run, while also reinforcing the idea that productive players get are rewarded without hesitation. 

 

__________________________

Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (48) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Point Packer's picture

No.

JakeDickerson's picture

I think the Packers let the season play out on those 2. As much as I would like to see Martinez back, I’m not sure we can afford him. I think the Pack roles the dice and waits on Fackrell. I don’t believe he gets close to the stats he had last year in this rotation, but if he does, I think he’ s a goner as well.

Point Packer's picture

Martinez reminds me of AJ Hawk, who was both overpaid and a Packer for far too long.

Re: Fackrell, seeing how this season plays out and if he can repeat his success on the field would be a critical data point from my perspective.

Packers2019's picture

First of all, you cannot compare the two. AJ Hawk was the 5th overall pick in the draft. Martinez was a 4th round pick.

I personally believe Martinez is a better player than Hawk. No offense to Hawk but Martinez makes more splash plays and tackles for a loss than AJ Hawk did. Martinez is on pace to beat Hawk in tackles and sacks already.

I think we keep him and we can structure the contract friendly so it does not hit the cap as much.

blue eyes's picture

Totally agree, tackle racker and always on the field just like Hawk. I think people believe Martinez is better because he didn't have a horrible DC like Capers for his whole career.

ricky's picture

The Packers could sign both, though more likely that one of them will be gone. But then again, if Daniels, Bulaga and Tramon Williams are allowed to walk (pretty likely), then that would free up a total of about $24.7 million in cap space. Which would make things a bit easier, even with the increasing amounts due to the Smiths. Include Graham and you get another $8 million. Just saying- it is possible.

Point Packer's picture

Martinez is that mediocre, poor athlete that Teddy T would keep around far too long.

IceBowl's picture

Martinez has been 1 or 2 in tackles two years in a row. Elite, not mediocre.

Coldworld's picture

He is somewhere in between. He is good, reliable, but as yet not a game changer. I think it will be very interesting to see how Pettine uses him and what he achieves in the newly retools defense. Because the D has changed I think it’s possible he is freed up to make more plays. I have suspected that he was always required to be the safety person under Capers and last year due to limited options.

For that reason I would wait till mid season at the earliest to see if he remains a fit and will thrive.

As for Fackrell, it isn’t impossible that he is 4th in line by mid season if Gary comes on early. With that plus rushing from different points, what will his role be. I see him as a situational rusher and drop into coverage guy on third downs and obvious passing plays.

In his favor, we don’t have a proven alternative in that role. In the negative, how many rushing opportunities will he get? It’s possible he could move inside and rush from ILB, but overall, I think his opportunities decrease with more and more flexible alternatives.

So what is his value to us in 2020? And to another team? Will Donnerson or someone else come on. There are cheaper and more physically gifted players on the roster or in the next draft (I guess). Can one do what he is asked this year? I think again, we need to see what his role is and also here, whether others develop. I would wait till after the season.

Tundraboy's picture

Well thought through analysis,and truthful answer. No reason for team to extend either. Only one worthy of consideration is Clark and there no need to extend him at this point either.

Nick Perry's picture

"But then again, if Daniels, Bulaga and Tramon Williams are allowed to walk (pretty likely), then that would free up a total of about $24.7 million in cap space."

Those contracts are already off the books for 2020 so it's not freed up cap space.

zeroluv's picture

Frackrell and Martinez will get us compensatory picks for sure. Keep them all year in the rotation and hope they have good or great seasons. Daniels, T Williams and Bulaga will all get us picks as well.

dobber's picture

For a team trying to maximize #12's remaining years, I don't know that compensatory picks make much difference unless you intend to trade them.

kevgk's picture

Martinez has been one of the core players of this defense since his sophomore year. Sign him ASAP before his price goes up and all we get is a fourth round compensatory pick. And if Burks makes it so we can't keep him off the field either, sounds like a problem the coaches can get over. Give Martinez 4 years and lock the position down instead of churning through picks or FA acquisitions while waiting to see if Burks can be the long term guy we already have Martinez for.

Since '61's picture

I would consider Martinez and then it will depend on his price. As for Fackrell, probably not unless he has an exceptional in 2019.

Fackrell’s replacement is already on the team and he is named Rashon Gary. Thanks, Since ‘61

Tarynfor12's picture

Close to what I said below without the Gary inference.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Martinez is a "cheap" postion. They could make him a top 15 paid ILB with a 3 year 18 million deal.

I would do that sometime this season if possible.

Coldworld's picture

Possibly, but I think Donnerson is more a comparable physically. Gary has power and I’m not sure he will get to many free rushes or be dropping as much. That would seem a waste of Gary’s potential. Gary will supplant him as rusher 3 though I agree.

Tarynfor12's picture

I selected Fackrell in the 3rd rd to GB and defended him and said he'd be a better starter than Perry. The Capers system and other obviously stupid thinking kept Fackrell off the field enough to make others and regretfully myself to jump of his bandwagon. The change in DC and the accepting that Perry was, in my opinion never going to be the OLB drafted to be,being injured and Fackrell getting his chance proved me right ...again. The again is for you know who you are's.
I do believe Fackrell would be open to sign a team friendly extension since I would think it hard for him to find another team to give him much more,although Perry is still unsigned and since Fackrell made his departure easier,there maybe some who would pay more for Fackrell simply for showing them how bad a contract with Perry will likely be...as an OLB in a 3/4 defense...which was and is my grip with him being drafted as such from day one.
To the point...Fackrell will be gone unless a very friendly deal is agreed to but in season performance may get it done earlier but will cost a little more than team friendly.
Have at me...season's getting closer so I need to start warming up.

IceBowl's picture

Tarynfor12,

OK, I only have a soft dart kids toy.

Fackrell is going to have to fight to even make the roster with the new additions the Pack has made.

As far as contracts, he will get market value wherever he signs.

And darn hilarious thinking another team will invest a dime trying to show the Pack they gave Perry/someone a bad/failed contract. All teams have done the same.

And they were all RIGHT!

fthisJack's picture

Fackrell had 2 big games last year.....the other games he was JAG. he has a lot to prove this year to earn an extension in my opinion.

IceBowl's picture

I don't think it is either or! It is the 53.

Martinez is at the top of the NFL in terms of tackles. ie: one of the best 2 years in a row. Very strong considerations for extending. I would think the Pack makes a strong attempt to keep one of the best in the league.

Fackrell has a tougher time to make the 53 with all the new additions, so we need to see more.

Coldworld's picture

Fackrell is a completely different proposition to any of the other OLBs. He got sacks last year but no pressures beyond that. Situational guy. The determining factor is how prevalent that situational need is after the influx. His only unique talent is probably his reliability dropping into coverage, but that will get him playing time.

I suspect his sacks go down significantly. The question is how much value another team will put on his real but narrow skill set and whether one of the better athletes on the roster flashes dropping back.

RWood832's picture

Even though these two were selected in the same draft, there is a two year age difference with KF at 27 and BM at 25. The edge goes to the younger player. In this case the younger player has been much more consistent throughout their careers in GB.

Martinez is not an elite player but he is a good one. Pettine trusts him to QB the defense by giving him the communication headset. Blake has led the team in tackles the past two seasons. I do think he is deserving of an extension but he should be paid slightly better than middle the pack money, not top ten money for the position. This is one of the positions where the tag value makes this a position to gamble on.

Lare's picture

It also comes down to what Pettine and Lafleur want to do with the defense. If Martinez and Fackrell are integral parts then they will be re-signed, if not they'll be allowed to test the open market.

Trust the professionals.

Coldworld's picture

Absolutely, and also whether they thrive in the amended environment. We don’t know the answer to either yet and no one will know the latter till mid season at the earliest.

sonomaca's picture

The chatter on these boards makes zero difference. Not sure why people prattle on endlessly about decisions over which they have no influence. Really annoying.

GLM's picture

I think this has been a really good, thoughtful discussion. Why be so negative about it?

fthisJack's picture

then why are you here reading these annoying comments when all of them are opinion based and have zero impact on team decisions.

sonomaca's picture

Because I’m bored, like everyone else. That said, I’m not going to contribute my thoughts, because they’re as pointless as all the rest.

Let me pose this question: does Bill Belichick read any fan message boards? Does he give a rat’s ass about what anyone thinks? Case closed.

Jack Vainisi's picture

I wouldn't do Fackrell. There's enough pass rushing depth so I want to see how that plays out. I'd wait till at least mid-season to extend Martinez but he's good enough to try to keep, given the lack of depth at ILB.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I have no idea what to do with Fackrell. I guess I think he is a one year wonder who is unlikely to ever replicate 10 sacks. Yet he did really have 10 sacks. IDK.

I am more likely to offer Bulaga a pay as you go extension than to watch him walk after 2019. GB can use a first or second on a Right Tackle next year. Sometimes you get Ramczyck and sometimes you get Menelik Watson.

Lowry is a safe guy to re-sign. Figuring Daniels is going to walk, it seems like a lot to lose 2of the top 3 DL in one season. I need to see how Adams, Keke, Lancaster, Gary and Z Smith look.

Old School's picture

I think Turner is our right tackle after this season.

jeepingmakooi's picture

All this hate on Martinez... Compare him to others in the league... He isn't as bad as someone of you guys paint him... Kyler was a nobody before last year.. and I don't really see him being any better then he just was... Pay Blake.. let Kyler walk away

Beans And Cheese's picture

No body gets past Martinez. Two years of excellence, not elite but well above average and reliable. Sign him now because you know what you are getting. You can sign them both for cheap right now. You get money for Mike Daniels, Trammon Williams and Brian Bulaga expiring contracts. Keep them both and then Draft WR, OL, ILB and CB in next years draft!!! Pick Up one Free agent of need and then Problem Solved!

Stickwin's picture

Kyler Fackrell is "The Anomoly."
Webster's defines Anomoly is something different, abnormal or not easily classified. Fackrell's 10.5 sack 2018 season is abnormal.
Fackrell does NOT hit the QB often - less than once per game. He does NOT pressure the QB - barely more than once/game. Zero running back tackles for loss. Less than 2 tackles/game and less than 1 assist. Bigger O-linemen push him around so he's not a 3 down guy. He's not the guy you want holding the edge against the run.
So How did he get 10.5 sacks? It starts with his mobility and his motor. He can chase down & react quickly to mobile QB's. His 2018 breakout game came against an over matched, happy feet rookie QB who was better at running than throwing. His other breakthru game was tracking and sacking Russell Wilson, another mobile play extending QB. Aside from those two games Fackrell averaged one sack every 3 games - something you expect out of a #4-5 EDGE rusher.
The bottom line is the 10.5 sacks we saw from Kyler Fackrell last year was an anomaly and you don't pay the anomaly big bucks.
- Stickwin

Nick Perry's picture

Exactly...6 of his sacks came in two games against 2 of the absolute worse O-Lines in football last year. In Pettine's scheme, someone is going to benefit just by scheme alone. Frackrell was the one last season. This season it will be back to reality for KF.

Tundraboy's picture

Most likely NP,but who knows. Who ever thought a year like last year was even possible. And for anyone who states otherwise. Really?

Donster's picture

Extend Martinez. His position doesn't command a huge salary. Is he an elite athlete? No. Is he one of the best in the league at his position? Probably not. But you cannot have every player on your team that is the best at every position in the league. He is the type of guy you want on your team. He plays hard every down. Doesn't give up. Is a TEAM PLAYER. Every player that gets an extension is a risk. Some guys get their money and then don't play as hard. I believe Martinez wouldn't do that. I think he is the type of guy that feels he has to prove people wrong all the time. And that gives him an edge that makes up for not being an elite athlete.

Fackrell is much the same, just not near as good or polished. And with him being stuck in a numbers game in camp, he won't get offered an extension. He sticks if he has a great camp, or one or two of his position competition gets injured. But you still don't offer an extension. You let the season play out.

porupack's picture

Very reasonable, Donster. Agreed.

PatrickGB's picture

I guess it depends on how much money they or their agents want. Martinez knows this defense backwards and forwards. He is often the key to the defensive calls even tho he is not an elite athlete. For me, it comes down to who can replace him and for how much money. I don’t see a current replacement on the team and I don’t see an affordable replacement in FA. Fack is just part of the rotation and doesn’t have a high upside due to age.

porupack's picture

Extend Martinez, because he is consistent and is worth locking in a team leader, consistent and reliable player at a position of weakness over last 7 -9 years.

Wait and see for Fackrell.

Try to extend Daniels. Keeping a disruptive DL intact means the DL doesn't have to be addressed anytime soon in the draft, and that high slot can be used for; ahem....QB.

Daniels has earned respect and been loyal and reliable for GB. Pay him, and reward those that have stood out during years of underachievement on the defense.
Draft and Develop, right?
Not Draft, Develop and Donate.

Old School's picture

Martinez is a very good player with excellent availability. Some people seem to undervalue a tackle, but plays without a tackle are touchdowns.

Fackrell will get very good FA offers.

We should try to keep Lowry.

Daniels will be a cap casualty.....one of the downsides of being a team that pursues free agents is that you lose some of your own good players because you can’t afford to resign them.

IceBowl's picture

I do not see the almost assumed departure of M Daniels.

You guys say "a cap casualty." Well talented players demand the market price. So, if he is so good to demand "big" money we have talent. It is not like we are trying to figure out someone like Fackrell. With Daniels, we know.

Seemingly impossible (illegal?) contracts get negotiated under the salary cap. There are ways.

Assuming Daniels is leaving is just bandwagon hoping. There are a lot of possibilities available.

The biggest thing I have NOT HEARD, is Daniel's complaining or demanding.

Old School's picture

OK, Ice Bowl, he makes about $10 million/year. He's 30 and he'll be 31-32-33-34 during the next contract. He's had excellent availability until last year.

Bearing in mind that we're going to want to lock up Kenny Clark for an extended period, how much are you willing to keep Daniels in a Packer uniform?

Personally, of the group of Martinez-Lowry-Daniels, I think we'd be ahead to resign Martinez and Lowry. JMO.

IceBowl's picture

Old School,

Hey, take a step back. I was not challenging you one bit. I am saying there is roster building at every position. And just to assume Daniels is the one to leave is no foregone conclusion.

Talent is always welcome. Salary cap and talent depth sort themselves out.

Old School's picture

I didn’t take it as a challenge amigo. I’m a big Daniels fan, but unless he’s willing to play for less than he could get in FA, I’d expect he’d be gone. The percentage play for the Dline, IMO, is to keep Lowry and Clark for the next several years.

IceBowl's picture

Old School,

Absolutely.

We will keep Clark?, yes if he doesn't price himself out of the market? (you know he is not thinking of a payday LOL )But if he does, do we want Daniels? We do not know what Daniels market will be (we will by next year) , or what our options will be, and we do not know what his competition will be.

He is a very good talent that will be paid. For his TALENT.

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