Packers: Why trading Preston Smith makes sense this offseason
Preston Smith’s future with the Green Bay Packers remains a mystery.
There’s been speculation about his future for months. Will the Packers release him to save cap room? Will they keep him with the hope he bounces back next season?
Well, perhaps there is a third option. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, Smith is one of many veteran players who could potentially be traded elsewhere this offseason.
Of all the potential options, trading away Smith makes the most sense for the Packers. It could be a win-win trade for both teams involved and help Green Bay.
Why trading Preston Smith makes sense for Packers
Two years ago, Smith was unstoppable with 12 sacks and 23 quarterback hits. Along with Za’Darius Smith, no pass-rushing pair had more sacks than the Smith Bros.
In 2020? Not so much. Preston Smith’s impact dropped considerably. He only had four sacks and 11 quarterback hits, while generating far few pressures (from 34 down to 16, according to Pro Football Reference).
For a team trading for Smith, it could be a great deal. Give up a draft pick but get a veteran pass rusher who has the ability to post double-digit sacks. For a team in desperate need of pass-rush help, Smith could be an immediate solution as he was in Green Bay in 2019.
For the Packers, it would mean getting out of the $16 million cap hit Smith is set for next season. According to Over The Cap, trading Smith would cut his cap hit in half, freeing up room. That could be crucial when it comes to free agency.
Trading Smith is more beneficial to Green Bay than cutting him. Not only does it mean the team would receive some compensation, even if only a late-round draft pick, it would also allow the Packers to choose where to trade him to, assuming there’s interest from multiple teams.
Rather than cutting him and risk him signing with a division rival, the Packers may have an option to trade him to an AFC team.
In terms of production on the field, the Packers would of course prefer to keep Smith, especially if he gets back to his best. But Rashan Gary outplayed Smith in 2020 and should be a starter moving forward.
Paying $16 million for your third pass rusher isn’t good business. The Packers should move on. If they can make a trade, it’d be a best-case scenario.