5 best free-agent signings under Packers GM Brian Gutekunst

Green Bay Packers, Preston Smith
Green Bay Packers, Preston Smith / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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1. Preston Smith

Production. Leadership. Loyalty. Preston Smith has it all, and he is still one of the most consistent and reliable members of the Packers' defense entering 2024.

Like Za'Darius Smith and Amos, Preston Smith signed with the Packers during the opening week of free agency five years ago, and he remains a key starter at edge rusher.

There's a reason the Packers want Smith to stick around for another season. He gives his all on every snap. Smith has missed only one game for Green Bay—and his entire NFL career—while consistently making an impact. Across five seasons with the Packers, Smith has made 41.5 sacks, 92 quarterback hits, 40 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, 14 pass defenses, and one interception.

While he didn't consistently post the same sack numbers as Za'Darius Smith, Preston is a far more reliable run defender, earning PFF run defense grades above 72 in two of the past three seasons.

Smith will return for his sixth season with the Packers in 2024. He agreed to take a pay cut this offseason, a move that creates cap space but also ensures Green Bay retains one of its most important defensive players.

Gutekunst has made many smart moves in free agency, but signing Smith is at the top of the list.

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