This Green Bay defense is the best we’ve seen in years. Joe Barry’s unit ranks third in the NFL for yards allowed and is also third in scoring defense, allowing just 18 points per game. They have shut down some of the league’s best offenses and far exceeded expectations so far.
What a shame, then, that they have had to do so without their best pass rusher, Za’Darius Smith. Imagine Smith and Jaire Alexander back in this lineup. It would be scary for opposing offenses.
While there certainly seems to be some hope Smith can play again this year, it’s far from a guarantee. Even if he does return in 2021, the Packers will have a decision to make in the offseason.
According to Spotrac, Smith’s cap hit for 2022 is $28.13 million. It seems almost certain the Packers won’t pay that and will have to change something. That could be a contract extension. But coming off a significant injury that has kept him out most of the season, is this a move the Packers will want to make?
Smith is one of the Packers’ best players, a great leader, and a fan favorite. But it’s possible he could be playing for a new team in 2022.