Preston Smith, EDGE
Four years, $52 million including $16 million signing bonus
Another edge rusher from a solid defense, Preston Smith is a solid defender in the run game and uses a great combination of speed and size to beat those blocking him. His dependence on those traits may need to be fine-tuned, but Smith’s ability to flatten out at the top of his pass rush is truly impressive.
Gutekunst made another calculated move with this signing. He knows that a defense needs to be a cohesive and well-stocked unit. Although there are glimpses of what may be along the Packers front seven, there’s no question that Gute is looking to bring depth to every level.
I will say that this felt like a little bit like overkill, though. It’s a reaction where you look at the Twitter feed, see two edge rushers signed in quick succession, and think “wait, really?”
But, that sort of attitude gets you a handful of double-digit win seasons and knocked out in the first or second round of the playoffs. Green Bay deserves better than that, and Gutekunst knows that.
It’s exciting, to be sure. There is fair cause to assume that Smith’s more consistent production and presence on the field since 2015 made him worth doubling down on this shopping spree.