Packers: Kyler Fackrell enters important 2019 season

Green Bay Packers, Kyler Fackrell (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Kyler Fackrell (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

Green Bay Packers edge rusher Kyler Fackrell enters an important 2019 season.

After making a total of just five sacks in his first two seasons, it wasn’t a guarantee Kyler Fackrell would even make the Green Bay Packers‘ final 53-man roster a year ago.

And who could’ve expected what would come next? Not only did Fackrell make the roster, but he put together an excellent season, leading the Packers with 10.5 sacks. That included two dominant games with three sacks.

Fackrell also set a career-best in quarterback hits with 12.

Despite Fackrell’s success, the other edge rushers on the roster didn’t meet expectations, leading to the Packers spending big in free agency. The team added Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith in the opening week of free agency back in March, then selected Rashan Gary 12th overall in April’s draft.

The team released Nick Perry and didn’t re-sign Clay Matthews, who signed with the Los Angeles Rams.

Entering 2019, Fackrell likely won’t be a starter in Mike Pettine’s defense, despite starting seven games last season. And the focus now will be on proving that his success in 2018 wasn’t a fluke, and that he can contribute to the pass rush this season and beyond.

Making this season all the more important is that it’s the final year on his current deal. Fackrell is set to become a free agent next offseason.

Next spring, the Packers will have tough decisions to make with a few key defensive players hitting free agency: Fackrell, Blake Martinez, Mike Daniels and Tramon Williams.

According to Over The Cap, the Packers currently have $13.69 million in cap room available in 2020. Roster moves can increase that number, but it’s unlikely the Packers will be able to make too many free agency signings.

It’s an important 2019 season for Fackrell. If he can build on last year, he’ll have a great chance to earn a long-term deal in 2020, either with the Packers or another team in the NFL.