Published: Wed, March 13, 2019
Sports | By Juana Wells

Packers to pick up Washington edge rusher Preston Smith

Packers to pick up Washington edge rusher Preston Smith

The signings should improve a defense that ranked 18th in the National Football League in 2018 and add some more protection for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Randall Cobb, whose United Kingdom career preceded Smith's by a couple of years, also becomes a free agent this offseason and reportedly the Packers will let him test the market.

Now under the direction of Brian Gutekunst, the new sheriff in Green Bay, the Packers have taken on a completely different approach to free agency. 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.

That price proved too steep for the Bears, who next year will try to give fellow safety Eddie Jackson an extension.

Green Bay went 6-9-1 and missed the playoffs in 2018, marking the first time since 2006 that the franchise had failed to qualify for the postseason in back-to-back campaigns.

Both additions help the Packers at arguably their two biggest weak points on the entire roster.

Za'Darius Smith is getting the biggest deal: $66 million over four years with $34.5 million in the first two years, according to his agency, SportsTrust Advisors. Hendrickson was part of the personnel department in Baltimore that drafted Smith in 2015.

Who did the Packers pay that kind of money to? He signed with the Packers for $52.2 million over four years ($13 million/year). He became an unexpected starter that season and emerged as one of the Bears' most valuable defenders over the last two years.

Turner gets a $28 million, four-year contract, according to a person with knowledge of the move.

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