Packers make it official

Print Article

Associated Press Former Broncos offensive tackle Billy Turner will bolster the Packers' line.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - From 2010 through 2016, former Packers general manager Ted Thompson signed two unrestricted free agents.

On Thursday, the Packers announced the signing of four such players.

Second-year GM Brian Gutekunst wasn't shopping from the bargain bin, either, in trying to improve a team coming off its first back-to-back losing seasons in a quarter-century. Rather, Gutekunst dived headfirst into the initial wave of free agency by signing outside linebackers Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith, safety Adrian Amos, and offensive lineman Billy Turner. They each signed four-year contracts worth a combined $182 million, $57 million of which is guaranteed.

Gutekunst, however, disagreed with the notion his aggressive foray into free agency was aimed at putting the Packers back among the NFL's elite teams while quarterback Aaron Rodgers remains in his prime.

"I don't think so," Gutekunst said. "I think, obviously, this is Green Bay, Wisconsin. We're in a win-now mode all the time. I thought we needed to add to our defense significantly and I think these guys will. So, I don't think it's any different than it ever has been."

Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith replace the longtime starting tandem of Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, who are free agents. Matthews had 3 1-2 sacks last season while Perry had 1 1-2 sacks and was released earlier this week before being paid a $4.8 million roster bonus.

Za'Darius Smith had a career-high 8 1-2 sacks last season for the Baltimore Ravens while Preston Smith had four sacks last season for the Washington Redskins. The new teammates met when Za'Darius Smith, a junior college player at the time, was on a recruiting trip to Mississippi State, where Preston Smith was an established star.

"We really got cool when we actually went to the combine," said Za'Darius Smith, who wound up playing at Kentucky. "He's a Smith and I'm a Smith, so we were right behind each other (during drills). Got a chance to communicate, but one thing he did tell me, he was like, 'Z, we're going to do great things in this league.' I kid you not. Now, we're playing together."

Za'Darius Smith, who tied for 10th in the league with 25 quarterback hits, frequently moved from the edge to the inside on passing downs for the Ravens. He figures to be used in the same way by Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

"We are both versatile players," said Preston Smith, who has 24 1-2 sacks in four seasons. "I see him play and he can rush inside and outside. I can do the same if needed. We both play fast and physical and violently. And I like his play style and I feel we will complement each other, and we're going to do some great things here in Green Bay."

Amos comes from the archrival Chicago Bears. Last season, he had career highs of two interceptions, nine passes defensed, three forced fumbles and 73 tackles. He's gone from not being in the starting lineup to open the 2017 season to one of the NFL's highest-paid safeties.

"In NFL terms, that's how you show who wants you," Amos said. "People can say they want you and people can say they have enough or don't have enough, but that's the way they show you they want you, by getting you."

Turner started 11 games last season at Denver due to injuries. The Packers have a void at right guard, but neither Gutekunst nor Turner would say that will be his position. Gutekunst hopes Turner's athleticism will be a good fit for new coach Matt LaFleur's outside-zone running game.

Print Article

Read More Sports News

Yelich leads Brewers past Phillies

AP

May 17, 2019 at 10:03 am | PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Christian Yelich took advantage of the few pitches he saw in the zone. Yelich hit his major league-leading 17th and 18th homers to help Zach Davies and the Milwaukee Brewers beat...

Comments

Read More

Suarez helps Reds slow Cubs with win

AP

May 17, 2019 at 10:05 am | CINCINNATI (AP) - A heavy rain was turning the field slick. The grounds crew was waiting to fetch the tarp. Eugenio Suarez knew this might be the Reds' best chance to take control and win a series. ...

Comments

Read More

Cordell's squeeze lifts Sox over Jays

AP

May 17, 2019 at 10:06 am | CHICAGO (AP) - Ryan Cordell took a deep breath at the plate after reading the sign from Chicago White Sox third base coach Nick Capra. Then he locked in and executed perfectly. Yolmer Sanchez raced...

Comments

Read More

Bucks three wins away from first Finals since '74

AP

May 17, 2019 at 10:04 am | When the season started, everyone knew the Eastern Conference would have a new king. LeBron James left Cleveland, having taken his talents to Los Angeles. And even Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokoun...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(608) 365-8811
149 State Street
Beloit, WI 53511

©2019 Beloit Daily News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X