Packers: Four players whose future will be determined in final five games

Green Bay Packers, Preston Smith (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Preston Smith (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers, Christian Kirksey
Green Bay Packers, Christian Kirksey – Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Christian Kirksey

Christian Kirksey hasn’t been the difference-maker at inside linebacker the Packers hoped when they signed him in free agency. Playing six games this season, Kirksey has made 50 tackles, two pass defenses, and an interception. He’s been a solid starter in the middle of the defense but has no tackles for loss or sacks.

According to Spotrac, if the Packers decided to move on in the offseason, they’d free up $6 million in cap room.

Rookie inside linebackers Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin have both impressed this season. It’s possible they could be the Packers’ starting combination in the base defense beyond this year. It’s also possible the Packers will add another inside linebacker in next year’s draft.

Kirksey is a talented player and he’s made some important plays for the Packers this season, including an interception in the game against the Indianapolis Colts. However, he’s missed five games through injury and also hasn’t been a huge upgrade on Blake Martinez, who wasn’t re-signed in the offseason and has 101 tackles with the New York Giants.

If Kirksey can stay healthy and make an impact in the Packers’ final five games of 2020, he can prove why he should be a starter in this defense next season.