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Za’Darius Smith - Best FA Signing in Green Bay?

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Za’Darius Smith - Best FA Signing in Green Bay?

It had become the all-too-familiar narrative in Green Bay. The Packers were a draft-and-develop team. Free agent signings were few and far between. When former Packers General Manager Ted Thompson did sign players, they typically worked out pretty well (I’m talking Charles Woodson and Julius Peppers well). Even still, fans never really expected a whole lot when free agency rolled around each offseason. A trade for more draft picks? Sure. But no free agent activity.

Enter new GM Brian Gutekunst. In his very first year, he swung for the fences trying to bring in an offensive weapon for Aaron Rodgers. While Jimmy Graham didn’t have the season many expected him to (55 receptions, 636 yards, 2 touchdowns), his numbers were good for second on the team, behind only Davante Adams. If he makes the second-year jump he’s expected to in Green Bay, just like he did in Seattle, that signing will pay off for Gutekunst.

In his second offseason as GM, Gutekunst addressed just about every glaring weakness on the team’s roster. News broke almost immediately once free agency began that the Packers intended to sign former Ravens pass rusher Za’Darius Smith. With the likely departures of both Nick Perry and Clay Matthews, this move made sense and strengthened a position that had been weak in 2018.

Not 20 minutes later, news broke once more that the Packers were going to bring in safety Adrian Amos, most recently with the Chicago Bears. With Ha Ha Clinton-Dix being traded during the season and Kentrell Brice not receiving his tender, safety was another position of immediate need.

Jump ahead another hour and the Packers have added another edge rusher to the mix, Preston Smith. Three massive free agent acquisitions in about an hour’s time. Gutekunst was serious about exploring all avenues to bolster his roster after a 2018 season that met no one’s standards.

Their last free agent acquisition happened a few hours later, when the Packers brought in Billy Turner to play right guard, the team’s most-needed position along the offensive line.

While the rest of free agency remained quiet, the first day started with a flurry as the Packers grabbed four immediate starters for their team. What did that do? Well, it made sure that Gutekunst and co. were able to draft the best player available rather than drafting for need.

With the team’s first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Packers grabbed an edge rusher they’re hoping only sees the field rotationally to start the year. That says a lot about the way Gutekunst is developing this roster. While the second first-round pick, Darnell Savage, is expected to be a day-one starter for the Packers, he’s about the only player in that role.

Most of the starters in Green Bay were already solidified before the draft even took place, and that attests to Gutekunst’s willingness to build a team through all avenues, not relying as heavily on the draft and develop strategy his predecessor was known for.

What was all of this background information setting up? Well. This is where I segue into telling you that I think Za’Darius Smith is going to be a phenomenal signing for the Green Bay Packers. I think all four of the 2019 free agent acquisitions will be, but here’s my pitch for Za’Darius specifically.

If you look at the players Gutekunst brought to Green Bay, they’re ascending players that were looking for big second contracts. At 26-years-old, these are players that should just be starting to enter the prime of their careers. That will go a long way in solidifying a defense that’s played musical chairs the last few seasons.

Back to Z. Smith. In the short time he’s spent in Titletown, he’s quickly become one of the vocal leaders of the team. He’s learned from some of the best and played on a vaunted Ravens defense that included Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle, and C.J. Mosley. Now, it’s Smith’s turn to provide that same attitude and energy for Green Bay’s defense.

Consider the swagger coming onto the field between Smith, Mike Daniels, and Jaire Alexander. I’ll take that every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

But it’s not Smith’s attitude alone that will make a difference in Green Bay. It’s his productivity. While his 8.5 sacks in 2018 don’t leap off the page at you, his pressures sure do. I’ve talked about this before (because I love the stat so much), but Smith lead the league in pressures (60, per PFF) for players with less than 700 snaps.

Something else to consider is the interior pressure that Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels will create, freeing up Smith on the edge (although Smith was equally productive on the interior against guards).

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine likes to mix up and disguise his blitz packages; having someone like Za’Darius that can play inside or outside will keep opposing offenses guessing all season. Additionally, much of the focus will be on Smith given his total pressures heading into 2019. That will free up guys like Kyler Fackrell and even Rashan Gary when they see the field to make plays.

Before I wrap this up, by no means am I saying I’m any less excited about Adrian Amos, Preston Smith, and Billy Turner. Aaron Rodgers has already expressed loads of confidence in and enthusiasm for Billy Turner. Adrian Amos is a security blanket for the defense. The guy does not make mistakes. And Preston Smith will also create massive amounts of pressure on defense as a player who can line up in a variety of spots.

All I’m saying is, Za’Darius Smith is my pick for 2019 Breakout Packer. I bought his jersey already and everything. If I’m wrong, you can save this and make fun of me. But I don’t think I’m going to be. Let me know who your favorite signing was in the comments! I do read them.


Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and a podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieLawler.

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Nick Perry's picture

Before FA even started one of the players I wanted the Packers to target was Z. Smith. Now I didn't think it would take the money the Packers ended up paying to sign him, but I STILL like the signing because of what he brings both as a D-Lineman & OLB.

Just imagine for a moment pairing Za'darius with Kenny Clark who by the way was PFF BEST pass rusher in 2018 from the 0 or 1 technique inside, and Preston Smith and Frackrell for example outside. Or Daniels and Clark inside with "The Smiths" outside. Z Smith just gives this defense so much versatility, more than any season I can remember.

As far as picking my "Favorite" that's tough. Amos is going to help fix a position that's been a problem since week 2 of 2011. Preston Smith gives the Packers one of the best edge defenders in the run game as an OLB AND he can sack the QB. Billy Turner will help keep Rodgers upright AND open holes for Aaron Jones... OMG, too many choices!!!

Lets not forget that Winston Moss is no longer coaching anyone on the Packers AND they replaced him with two excellent LB coaches. Either one would have been an upgrade and we got both.

But probably one of my favorite things about all 4 is they've remained HEALTHY throughout their careers. What a thought!

EddieLeeIvory's picture

Well put NickPerry

stockholder's picture

Kenny Clark who by the way was PFF BEST pass rusher in 2018 from the 0 or 1 technique inside! Yes=. Lock Him up now! Don't wait!

Bearmeat's picture

Well said.

Cubbygold's picture

You know it's the offseason when you get that kind of reaction over a guy of Billy Turner's caliber. Kidding aside, I love the possibilities with Z smith as well.

Coach JV's picture

Ding ding ding ding.... That last sentence is the comment of the offseason! I wholeheartedly agree! These guys will be available... they always have been.

So if one of them pulls a hammy, or an ankle, or groin, we kill the S&C staff... Lol... JK, but not really :-)

The Marathon Man's picture

Great...NP jinxed them! Now all 4 are going to get dinged!

Lambodoh's picture

When your defense shows up in everybody’s offensive highlights, it’s time
to make a move.

holmesmd's picture

Clark was better than Donald per PFF?! I’m assuming Donald played more than 700 snaps then because the guy had like 20 sacks last year as I recall?! Love Clark though and share your excitement and enthusiasm for the versatility of the defensive front!

Nick Perry's picture

"According to Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus, Clark’s 91.5 pass-rushing grade as a 0- or 1-technique was the highest in the NFL in 2018.
Clark also earned the second-best grade run-stopping grade in the same pre-snap scenarios, proving he terrorized centers regardless of the play type."

There was a piece in "Packers Wire" a day or two ago on Clark, that's where I had read that information. Above is part of that story.

The Marathon Man's picture

Donald was a 3-tech. The stat Perry cited was for NT-types only.

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Coldworld's picture

I share your views. These free agents allowed the Packers to focus on drafting players who could be the key to a strong not merely adequate defense over the next few years.

There are no guarantees of success in the NFL, but we were able to focus on reinstating the formerly dried up pipeline of players for the future and add players with the potential to be difference makers at some point.

They may not get us over the top, but if you don’t shoot for excellence and build the pipeline there is little chance of meaningful success. Now let’s hope that those chosen can reach their potential.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

Totally agree Cold.
The FA additions freed Guty's hands so he could take swings on premium athletes like Gary & Savage.
Fans always want "difference-makers" & "playmakers". They don't grow on trees but both of these guys have that rare ability.

And I agree on Z Smith all around. Talent & attitude. His attitude seems the opposite of former 1st rd picks
Like Haha.

stockholder's picture

Hog Wash! You sign free Agents to get starters. Gute's draft was about potential to be difference makers? Hog wash! It's always about starting. Potential only gets you average. Average doesn't win, and it doesn't make you a winner. The packers needed to replace the average. They needed to fix the Holes. If Gary , and savage don't start their wasted picks. The packers changed the defense with a better attitude. It's Can Do! Not Soaking it in. If a high pick doesn't start somewhere. He was the wrong pick.

Coldworld's picture

Nobody said the FAs were signed to ride the bench. Quite the opposite in fact.

Dillonious Maximus's picture

Stockholder. If what you are saying holds any type of merit, or truth, or logic... Aaron Rodgers was a wasted pick? Hog wash!! You might want to think more before you start typing.

stockholder's picture

Rodgers was drafted as the heir apparent to Favre. There was a difference. Favre had a thumb issue. Retirement? ( Etc.) There are differences, in the way a GM wants to build a champion. Wolf traded for Favre. Got White, Sean Jones, etc. TT drafted Rodgers. But lets not forget the failures TT drafted at QB too. ( When he still had Rodgers. Brohm? ring a bell. ) Forget your Make a Wish hope here. Thats the Hog Wash. TT needed Raji and Mathews. Both started. The high picks need to start. The silver Lining in any draft; is when your later picks develop into starters. Who is Gary going to replace? An injured player? Square pegs don't fit into a round hole.

Coldworld's picture

Matthews was forced to start due to scheme change. We got really really lucky there. Raji was worked in. Back then, positions were more static. Savage will start, but not because of his perceived brilliance, but rather because adequacy would be a huge step up from what we had before.

This all high draft rookies must start from game one idea is simply contrary to history. Yes it happens, but rarely due to ideal circumstances and rarely results in a great season, even at the partial exceptions of RB and situational rushers. We want these players to learn and reach their potential. That means bring them in as appropriate and in situations that they are prepared for.

I don’t care if no rookie starts a game this season. Savage probably will, but as to the rest, it’s likely scheme dependent even for the defensive FAs.

ReaganRulz's picture

8.5 sacks last year is a huge number for any Packer fan. Just out of curiosity.....why didn’t the Ravens sign ZSmith to an extension? He’s a leader with many good years of football to go. That is the only thing that concerns me about FA signings.

Coldworld's picture

Appears to be largely money/cap. Ravens GM had this to say on

“With free agency still more than a month away, Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta said it’s too early to predict if Smith will be too expensive for Baltimore.’

“I think the jury’s still out,” DeCosta said. We don’t know what Za’Darius’ market is going to be. We have a lot of different ways that we could go. He had a really nice year. Typically, the market is usually out of control for those guys, initially out of the gate. There are some good pass rushers this year. We’re optimistic we may have a chance to bring him back, but in some cases, it’s really not up to us. It’s up to what the market bears.’

The Ravens were hoping a crowded rusher market would lower the cost. In the end, pass rushers Jadeveon Clowney of the Houston Texans, DeMarcus Lawrence of the Dallas Cowboys, Dee Ford of the Kansas City Chiefs and Frank Clark of the Seattle Seahawks all received the franchise tag from their teams.

The Ravens put their main efforts in to trying to retain C.J. Moseley, also unsuccessfully.

jannes bjornson's picture

De Costa made a Ted move and it cost him both players instead of one. They brought in Houston, but he has injury issues. I don't believe De Costa thought Scruggs would bail to Arizona.

jannes bjornson's picture

Suggs ( sp check)

flackcatcher's picture

Every time I think about Rodgers signing I see what happened to the Ravens. Difference is Thompson cleared cap space starting 2016, allowing IAM the high leverage FA signings starting last year and continuing this year. For all the chirping about Ted, he wasn't afraid to make choices, and take the hit if they went south on him. Former Raven GM Newson was one of the best in the NFL, and even he could not stop the owner from grossly over paying on he who shall not be named. (who's now is with the Broncos. lord help them. guy is a team killer.)

Cubbygold's picture

Thanks for the quotes. I think there's an element of urgency as well. GB needed to fix their pass rush, and quickly. Ravens would have liked to retain a talented guy, but are also working with a young QB and may not be contending this year. Just different situations, and GBs dictated that an extra $5-10M on the deal was worthwhile.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

They had to sign Mosley and Weddle is a FA next season. Thry just felt that the market pushed Zs number to high. The Packers had the money to pay premium and the Ravens didn't.

We can't expect all four FAs and Gary and Savage to all workout though. That rarely happens in the NFL.

dobber's picture

I find myself asking that same question. Z. Smith and Suggs were both let go. Suggs is aging, but 7 sacks. Z. Smith is ascending: pass rushers like that just don't hit the open market very often. Teams FIND ways to get those players under contract.

Coldworld's picture

It appears from what I can see that they gambled on Moseley among the linebackers and never seriously chased Smith as a result but ultimately lost both in going for the one. Just reading the comments from local press.

dobber's picture

They have a couple younger edge players (I really like Matt Judon, who profiles in many ways like Rashan Gary) and maybe that helped them make their decision.

Coldworld's picture

Oddly, the local commentators seemed rather dubious of their depth players. I think they just got the short end of the stick throwing everything in on Moseley.

IceBowl's picture

Lordy, Lordy, Lordy.....

Every team, every year make moves to keep their best team within their salary cap. None can keep all their players/salaries. Decisions are made.

We will make similar decisions next year, as we did last.

PeteK's picture

I guess for the same reason we didn't sign Hyde and Howard . Money and years didn't match production in the teams' view. It's always a gamble, but needed for us this season.

Coach JV's picture

Word... and it's about time we reap the same benefit that Buffalo and Chargers did when Hyde and Hayward broke out. I can see that happening with any of these 4 guys.

SevenMountains's picture

I'm really excited about the defense. And with the investments there we should be.

I am surprised by all the positives on Billy Turner. He hasn't really had a above average career so far (PFF rating of 62.8 which is lower than Lane Taylor). Can anybody please convince me otherwise?

PeteK's picture

Changed teams, position,and came from sm college so he needed some seasoning, but finally had a healthy solid season(11 Rt/6 g) last year. So hope is that he's a player on the rise that can start at RG and also fill in at RT for often injured Bulaga. I know it's a gamble. I just wish we had moved up slightly to get Risner instead of Jenkins.

Coldworld's picture

Got thrown to the lions starting out at left tackle by the Dolphins when starter and backup went down together at start of his career. Wasn’t physically or mentally ready and got blamed for the result and cut. Then had broken hand. Needed development time as stated by prior comments. Denver competed for him, thought he had tackle potential as well as being their best lineman as a guard in an injury ravaged season for their line, but Packers out bid them it seems.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Turner gave up 3 sacks and 2 more QB hits when he was the emergency starter at LT (Tunsil slipped in the shower and the LT was ill). However, that was in his third season and that game was like week 5 or so. At any rate Miami cut him mid-season in October. Denver picked him up but Turner only played him 40 snaps the rest of the season.

Turner played 800+ snaps for Miami in 2015, and played himself into a demotion in 2016.

Tundraboy's picture

Maybe Miami was too warm to play football. GB may be more to his liking.

CheesyTex's picture

Seven. What has me believing is: Healthy, experienced in zone blocking scheme, Denver really wanted to keep him ($), graded out well at guard which is Pack's primary need, can swing to tackle in a pinch now, and has potential to grow into tackle long-term in LaF's offense. He is likely the most experienced ZBS lineman on the roster, and it is possible that he can lead the rest of the OL in the transition (I'm hoping that is one reason why #12 is positive about him).

Dollars are high for now, but not if he performs. Contract structure is heavily back-loaded (not guaranteed) so if he busts... bye-bye.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Nah, the cap hits are heavily backloaded. Turner will be a Packer for at least two seasons even if he stinks up the joint.

stockholder's picture

I love the Smiths. Z Smith is going to be such an improvement over; hurt, learning, and age. He can impact this team like reggie White. Experience! The packers needed to get that. Their sure starters. Not question marks. The worry is gone. THEY CAN ATTACK! The packers needed more than ONE Guy. They needed a unit. Here and there never works. Change has come to Green Bay. Regardless how Smith works out. The signings needed to happen.

porupack's picture

Well said Stockhdr,
<<<<The packers needed more than ONE Guy. They needed a unit. Here and there never works.>>>

Fully agree. What I liked most about Gute's offseason, is that he invested in complementary components so as to ensure each piece has increased chance for success, rather than just getting an upgrade "here or there" across the team.
That was one heck of a piece of work for the offseason, to double-down on pass rusher/Dline and Safety using FA, then Draft. Not that its likely for 100% success, but as a personnel tactician, that was a heck of a piece of work. Maggie described an impressive couple hours of FA (nice article, Maggie).
My betting is that it will be remembered as 'legacy work", but of course, its all just a paper upgrade at this point.

Z-Smith hopefully brings to the packers some of that 'Ravens-D' mentality, from Suggs and Co, and if so, he'll ensure Maggie's pick spares her from being made fun (at least in this prediction).

Handsback's picture

I'm not an expert, but as I've written before....Zman caught my attention last year when I did see some of the Raven's game. In fact I watched more than I wanted just to see this guy chase RBs and QBs around the field. Didn't know him from Jack, just seeing him play really made a big impression. He looked huge on the field and played fast like a much smaller player.
He could have a Peppers type career.

PackfanNY's picture

I think the key here is Packers have a number of guys who can apply pressure to the QB. Just think if you are the OC of the other team. You see Z Smith, P Smith, R Gary, K Fackrell. Who you double teaming? What about inside? You see Daniels and Clark. Both can be disruptive. In the past you could neutralize certain guys.

Now Pettine has some options. Of course, sounds good but will have to wait how it works on the field.

4thand1's picture

Gute realized 2 things, AR is not getting younger and no time for draft and develop to work. Passing on FA's hasn't helped and held the team back.

jannes bjornson's picture

D and D works when you have either a veteran group that needs a couple guys to rep or during a complete rebuilding with HIGH draft selections.
The used car dealers convention didn't get it done dealing with the loss of Collins and the anemic pass rush. Gutekunst wants to preserve his job and create a SB legacy while he can with #12.

Packer Dave's picture

I can see a valid argument supporting any one of the free agents. My hope is that Turner really blossoms in this scheme. If the run game gets shut down that's really going mess up setting up a good rhythm and will make us just as painfully predictable as the last few years have been.

dobber's picture

I lean toward P. Smith for his ability to pressure the QB standing up or with his hand in the dirt, and his play in space. He can cover the RB and TE and not be a total liability. He may not get the gaudy sack numbers, but I think he's going to be the piece that really makes the front 7 come together.

Archie's picture

Gutey did what SEA did the first year post Ted Thompson - he went defensive FA big-time. Result: SEA went to Super Bowl first year w/o TT calling the shots. If Ted was as good at picking defense as he was offense, he would be as good as many loyalists would have us believe. Fact of the matter, for 20 years he proved he was not good at drafting defensive players. Unfortunately, Kenny Clark was the exception, not the rule.

Bugeater's picture

There's a good reason for optimism. Finally starting to look like there's some depth and flexibility in the front 7. I was watching the 2015 playoff game vs Washington, and Preston Smith was an absolute beast in the game and I think it was his rookie year. It included sacking Rodgers for a safety!

Freezn's picture

and can you keep them off the quarterback. I don't think many offenses will want to take on our defenses. And I believe Aron will have the ball a lot more.

Lare's picture

The nice thing about all the FAs added is that they're young, mature, productive and have stayed relatively healthy so far.

If I had to pick one for his impact it would be Amos but that's mostly because its been so long since we've had solid leadership & production at the S position.

Sol's picture

If you want to buy fine diamonds you don't go to Kmart.
Don't get me wrong I love all our free agent signings, but I am especially happy that our GM went shopping to get ours from teams that pride themselves on defense this in my opinion is the deal maker. The organization now seems to understand that turnovers and keeping the offence on the field matters and the W's will come as a product of this philosophy.

Way to many times in the last few years we were either in a shoot-out or trying to play catch up, sure with a quarterback like AR that's good for TV ratings. Now we will get to see what it's like with the shoe on the other foot for our opponents. It's all about taking control of the game and now we have a chance.

Cubbygold's picture

The experience with good defenses is so important. Having both smiths and amos on the field, with the players/systems that they grew up in, will have a big carryover effect.

I hope their experience translates this year, but I'm also interested to see how this defense performs over the next 4 years. Great defenses have consistency and GB has built a group that could learn to play well together throughout 12s remaining years. It would be awesome to see him play with a top 10 unit.

Tundraboy's picture

I agree. Potential key ingredient that will have a ripple effect throughout the D.

CAG123's picture

I know there’s “someone” that felt these signings were unnecessary due to the Packers being top 10 in sacks the past few years but I rewatched the 2016 NFCCG yesterday and just seeing guys that definitely should have been rotational players at best and JAGs was like “Wow this is what they were trotting out there every game”? Yeah TT definitely had to step down and a change was needed.

Coldworld's picture

Credit to Pettine, but no pressures and hours of time for opposing QBs on so many plays. No D can sustain that. One of the things that excites me is the complete acceptance by the team and evidenced in the FA and draft, that pressures, collapsing the pocket is critical to disrupting the offense. Add in speed and strength to hold the edge and speed and agility to cover in the short area and you have a recipe for 3 and out and turnovers that were sadly lacking last year.

I love the idea and the commitment to bring in the pieces. Now we need to see if those pieces can actually rise to the task. The nice thing about the Smiths is that they have. Good start and a chance for others to grow or get some snaps off. It won’t be a miracle overnight but it should be better from day one.

wildbill's picture

I think the two big keys I see in our four free agent signings is versatility and productivity. Add in their youth and health history and I am very excited about them being Packers. Turner seems kinda like a reach but being able to play guard/tackle is a plus and maybe his skill set fits our outside zone scheme. Just can’t wait for the season to start!

IceBowl's picture

It will end up being Savage.

The Smith's (and Gary) will dilute each other, while Savage will run the back end of the D next to (probably) a rookie.

CheesyTex's picture

Ice, do you mean Amos running back end next to rookie Savage?

Coldworld's picture

I really like Amos too. Assignment sure, reliable type is just as important as being good (which he is) in terms of getting the safety and deep cover area generally under control and heading in the right direction.

Cubbygold's picture

Yup, and you can't determine 'best' without looking at $ paid. If Amos can perform, at the contract that he's being paid, that will have more value than the Smiths, unless they become elite pro bowl type players. My money is on Amos as the best FA signing.

IceBowl's picture


Doouuuugggghhhhhhhh. Yes, Amos. I switched the two up. Thanks for the correction.

IceBowl's picture

Geezze, what a flub. Amos gets almost no love/press/attention. And obviously, from me even when I want to point him out.

I need a vacation!!!!

A Pickled Packer's picture

You probably blocked him out because he used to play for that other team that shall not be mentioned.

Dillonious Maximus's picture

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porupack's picture

never saw this upside down before.... takes a bit of mental gymnastics, but good exercise.

dobber's picture


I bow to the master!

Dillonious Maximus's picture

Porupack: just do what I do and make your monitor do a head stand. Much easier to read that way. Whoops just put that in the wrong spot.

jannes bjornson's picture

The dead weight will be moved out. Status quo is Over.

Cubbygold's picture

If Billy Turner ends up being the best FA signing this offseason, something has gone terribly terribly wrong.

Tundraboy's picture

Looks Greek to me

RCPackerFan's picture

Out of all the FA's signings Za'Darius Smith is the one I'm most excited about. I like all of them, but he is the one that I think could have the biggest impact.
Our pass rush has been lacking the last few years. We haven't had someone that consistently forced the QB to move or throw his timing off. He can be that guy. The other reason is he just feels like a perfect pairing with Pettine. Pettine will have a guy that he can line up anywhere across the front which creates a lot of problems for the offense.

I can't wait to see what the new look defense will look like.

jannes bjornson's picture

Three guys should have double digit sacks--let it rip!

dobber's picture

I'd be happier with 5 guys between 6-10.

Cubbygold's picture

For sure. One of GBs issues is that after a full regular season, their front 7 would be gassed by the 4th quarter of a playoff game. This team needs real depth and it appears they may finally have some.

Samson's picture

How can any Packer fan NOT like what Gute has done in free agency?
Four healthy new starters -- all in areas of weakness.
Z. Smith - 27.... A. Amos - 26 .... P. Smith - 26 .... B. Turner -27. ----- All in their prime football age. --- All healthy & an upgrade over the past. -- Improve the 53 -- it's what a good GM gets paid for.

Cubbygold's picture

What's interesting is that in year's past, there seemed to be bigger groups arguing against moves.

For example, last year, Graham had a huge group of people who thought he was washed up, and you had analytical articles talking about how Rodgers and Graham would team up to be unbeatable in the red zone.

In other years the big discussion was around letting some of the main OL players go in FA, arguing they weren't worth the money.

In this case, it feels like the only argument against these signings is that the Smiths haven't put up 10+ sacks in each of their 4 years in the league. Which is kind of a weak argument, especially when you look at metrics outside of sacks. Seems like there are very few people, fans or writers, that take issue with these signings.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Graham is old, inefficient and expensive. 13th in yards per snap among TEs in 2018. 31st in TDs. 1st in pay.

Old School's picture

Because none of them has played a down for us yet. The likelihood is that some of these moves will end up as disappointments or expensive mistakes. Nobody bats 1.000 .

IceBowl's picture

Old School'

Of course you are right. Things happen. Desire or injuries.

I've always preferred performance based contracts, but that is not today's NFL.

Should be though!!!

Lphill's picture

I thought Z Smith got overpaid until I saw what Landon Collins got , Smith seems like a bargain now.

IceBowl's picture

The only free agent that earned his money for the Pack was Reggie white.

I hope this group doubles down.

4thand1's picture

ummm Woodson

Coldworld's picture

Ryan Pickett, less spectacular but nevertheless value. Howard Green will always be worth it in my view solely for the one play in the Super Bowl. Andre Rison for a similar reason .... just not true, no more so than that all are worth it.

holmesmd's picture

Ummm, you might add JP & Woodson?

Nononsense's picture

Z is gonna be a beast and the fact that he can play inside equally as well maybe better makes the choice of Gary all the more important. Gary may not start but only because Z and P were paid a lot of money to start. Gary could just as easily start somewhere on the DL with those guys outside. Hes equipped for it.

Stock man, in this defense all the holes are square, didnt you get the memo? Pettine wants to at the very least appear multiple but now he has the horses to actually be a multiple front defense. They already said they are looking to get 4 OLB on the field at times this season. How they line up exactly wont be known for a while but I love the thought of it.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

I'm pretty confident that with Pettine, being given all this talent (plus the FA guys are vets), that this D can be a Top-10 defense this year.

Third downs need to improve.

SterlingSharpe's picture

They will be, barring a rash of key injur..... I don't even want to write it.

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