The Green Bay Packers introduced their four free agent acquisitions on Thursday. Pass rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, as well as safety Adrian Amos and offensive lineman Billy Turner signed new deals with the team this week.
The Packers doled out $182 million for the four, a figure that doesn’t include incentives and escalators.
Za’Darius Smith got $66 million in his deal, averaging $16.5 million a season. That is second on the Packers roster, only to quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
With big money deals, come high expectations.
“All that really hasn’t sunk in yet, but I’m going to do my best,” Za’Darius Smith said. “I’m going to do what I can do. Coaches know what I’m capable of doing, so I’m going to continue to work hard. Like I said, stay after practice, do the little things right. What I’m bringing to this team is leadership, accountability. I’m going to do the right thing and I’m going to continue to put up big numbers hopefully.”
Za’Darius Smith had 8 1/2 sacks in a contract year for the Baltimore Ravens last season.
Preston Smith is reliable
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said health is always something they consider when paying big money in free agency and nobody has been better in that area than Preston Smith.
In four years with the Washington Redskins, Smith has played in every game. That number has reached 64 straight games for Smith, while former outside linebackers Clay Matthews and Nick Perry weren’t nearly as fortunate.
“It’s pretty easy to get hurt in such a violent sport,” Smith said. “I try to take care of my body week in and week out and make sure I take the right steps to make sure that I can play on Sunday and that I’m healthy enough to be out there for my team each and every week.”
All four of the Packers free agent acquisitions have good track records when it comes to availability and all four are relatively young. Offensive lineman Billy Turner is the oldest of the group and he doesn’t turn 28 until October.
Turner looks forward to matchup with Vikings
Billy Turner is from Minnesota. The Vikings are in desperate need of offensive line help. Yet they showed no interest at all in Turner.
Turner didn’t even get any love from the Minnesota Gophers either. They didn’t offer Turner a scholarship, so he played his college ball at North Dakota State. But he took things out on the Vikings.
“I thrive on fuel,” said Turner. “But at the same time that’s their loss, and they’re going to have to deal with me twice a year. So they’ll figure it out sooner or later, and they’re probably going to be too late at that point. I’ve signed my deal here, and this is where I wanted to be. So if you ask me, they’re just going to have to deal with the aftermath.”