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Packers Sign ILB Christian Kirksey and OT Rick Wagner

The Packers are wasting no time dipping into free agency yet again this offseason to fill some much-needed holes. Well, assuming ILB Blake Martinez’s days are numbered, which this move certainly suggests.

Martinez finished last season ranking 5th in the league for total tackles. Many expected this to raise his potential value to be too high for the Packers to squeeze into their salary cap room, but nothing official has been announced yet. While Martinez’s tackles were obviously an asset, he just did not turn out to be the playmaker that the team needed anyway.

Kirksey spent most of last season on injured reserve with the Browns due to a torn pectoral. He also missed the end of the 2018 season with a hamstring injury. He is a prime example of a “great player…when they’re healthy…” — so we’ll see how it goes.

ILB Christian Kirksey

Sep 8, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Christian Kirksey (58) celebrates his tackle for a fourth down against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Kirksey was cut by the Cleveland Browns so this will have no impact on the Packers’ compensatory picks.

Shelling out $182 million in free agency this time last year, GM Brian Gutekunst has already signaled recently that they would not be able to repeat that this year.

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In related news, former Detroit Lions player OT Rick Wagner will also be added to the roster:

Wagner played college ball with Wisconsin and is originally from West Allis. He signed a 5-year deal with the Lions in 2017, but was released last week. He was ranked the 59th tackle in the league by PFF last season.

This acquisition also seems to indicate the imminent departure of Bryan Bulaga — although this is not yet official.

Rick Wagner

Dec 9, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; Detroit Lions offensive tackle Rick Wagner (71) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Jason Parker

Was on the Allen Lazard hype-train before all the cool kids were doing it

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23 Comments

  1. Mitch Anthony March 16, 2020

    One site I read had Kirksey at 2 years $13 mil + incentives which will likely get it into that $16 mil range. The Wagner deal is reported as 2 years $11 million. Bargain shopping this year so far as opposed to last year which we were kind of expecting.

    These moves likely signal moving on for Martinez and Bulaga. Thanks so very much for being great Packers and best of luck to both if that is the case. I get it that Blake was a tackle (stat) machine but lacked some coverage ability but he played his ass off the best he could here. A smart player and good team guy who showed up every game and for a guy who wore #50, he kept his helmet on. I hope he gets paid as well as he can.

    Bulaga was a solid pick when he was drafted and the Packers got a lot of great play from the man. The injuries were a sometimes issue as he took a great beating but when he was out there, he’s one of the best. If this is the move than it is in line with the past history of moves like the front office took with Lang and Sitton. I hope Bulaga can score a great pay day too and someday return to Lambeau and retire as a Packer.

    Again, these are IFs but it sure seems like the writing is on the wall.

    1. PF4L March 16, 2020

      Well said Mitch….

      I have no qualms with either Blake or Bulaga. Some people will say what they will and that’s fine, but what i saw was two Packer players leaving it all on the field…..every game.
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      Regarding Bulaga. I think the Packers HOF should be a given. When you can hold down a tackle position for 10 years in the NFL on the same team, you’ve done something. Not many tackles can say that.

    2. Howard March 16, 2020

      Mitch: The contract breakdown is in the below link from Spotrac. It appears the roster bonuses could be reduced if Kirksey misses games. I don’t think the contract could go up to 16 mil. The contract is more likely to remain close to the 13 mil. or reduce if Kirksey is injured.
      https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/green-bay-packers/christian-kirksey-14481/

      1. PF4L March 16, 2020

        Howard…I know we haven’t studied it, but what is your off the cuff, initial thought(s) about the new CBA. Anything jump out at you?

  2. PF4L March 16, 2020

    I get nervous when i read he’s being reunited with Pettine. I’ve heard that song before. The last time the other guy didn’t play many games, or stay in the league very long.
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    He shares some similarity’s with Wilkerson in the aspect of his best production years were 2,3 years before we signed him, regardless of the reason.
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    I’m just not sure how you look at this guy’s last 2 seasons and figure he’s good for 8 mil/year. Yes, i know he was injured. but availability isn’t a minor detail.
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    Packer fans would blast Bulaga for being injured. But this cat missed 23 out of 32 games the last 2 seasons. That’s real.
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    I think the signing was a prayer and a reach if you want to base it on recent history. Wilkerson was also very ineffective his 2 seasons before we signed him,but for a different reason.
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    I don’t get it and i think Gutes rolling the dice, but we’ll see what happens.
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    I feel a bit better about Wagner somewhat….if in fact he can hold down the right side like Veldheer did on spot duty for Bulaga.
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    In other news….Although Hooper has a nice catch rate and could help the team at the right price, i’m glad the Packers didn’t sign Hooper and make him the highest paid tight end. We’ve also danced to that tune before. Big picture….i think in some aspects, Jared Cook had a more impressive season last year. Gute clearly should have brought him back in the fold.

    1. Yawa March 18, 2020

      Completely agree on Hooper the whole idea made my stomach turn, let’s cross our fingers 87 makes a jump. I’m still hopeful of Robby Anderson and another WR in the first couple rounds of the draft, as long as Anderson doesn’t break the bank.

  3. Howard March 16, 2020

    The below link indicates the contract breakdown for Wagner from Spotrac
    https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/green-bay-packers/ricky-wagner-12450

  4. Deepsky March 16, 2020

    Both of these moves signal to me that the Packers are going heavy on weapons for Rodgers in the draft.

    1. Mitch Anthony March 16, 2020

      Time for an article from Rob on who will be his receiver draft crush available at the end of the first round, or beginning of the second round (if they trade back). Mims? Aiyuk? Jefferson? Shenault? Any others?

  5. Big B March 16, 2020

    Mims the Word.

  6. Ferris March 16, 2020

    Going from Detroit and Cleveland to Green Bay must fell like you are being paroled. If you are wondering who the Browns all time leader in passing yards is….yes you guessed it Brian Sipe. All time receiving leader…a TE Ozzie Newsome. 0 SB wins 0 SB appearances. Sound familiar Lions? Lions all time record 562-670-33…nice. 0 SB wins 0 SB appearances. Parole.

  7. Skinny March 16, 2020

    Yes! Yes! Sign the cut players from two of the biggest shit franchises in the NFL over the last two decades, lol.

    1. PF4L March 16, 2020

      Lol…well…i’m just happy i’m not the only one who gave that a thought. It always makes you wonder doesn’t it? Teams just don’t let good young players go. but i guess that’s half the fun, waiting and seeing what we have with them. Sometimes a different scenario makes a difference. Gute needs to hope so.
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  8. Mitch Anthony March 17, 2020

    Well, Blake gets his payday with the Giants and the Bears bought Jimmy G. another helicopter. Good for Blake!

    Bears…. Ya well, okay then.

    1. Ferris March 17, 2020

      Pace must want to be fired. No draft choices after you trade them all away for Mack and Mitch. Now tossing cash out of the moving trainwreck window. It will be another long season for Bears fans…doink…doink. They had a chance that season.

  9. Skinny March 17, 2020

    Do we have no money? What the hell is going on? Signing other teams cuts isnt the big kick off to FA. We gotta do a hell of a lot more then this.

    1. Mitch Anthony March 17, 2020

      No, we don’t. This year the money is just not there. The FA pick ups were bargain bin stuff, there was no way to afford a Littleton or Schobert at LB and Hooper is becoming the highest paid TE in Cleveland. Now with Bulaga gone there is probably a concern to not further deplete the O line by making Taylor (or even Linsley) a cap casualty.

      Unless BG can wheel some trade, this will probably be it for the shopping trip.

      1. PF4L March 17, 2020

        Ok….but sometime in the next few years i’d like to see us pick up a receiver.

        1. Skinny March 18, 2020

          It blows my mind this franchise just will not consider bringing in a veteran WR with juice left. I dont get it. We just resigned all the same shit for the position again. I hope as FA officially starts today that we start doing something here my god.

          1. KzooPackFan March 18, 2020

            Signings aren’t even actually allowed yet. What big name FA wide receivers have been locked up so far? There are a bunch of WRs that are highly regarded in the draft, which will serve to suppress the FA WR market. Look how many are on the list linked in the summary article from this morning. There is still a month of signings before then. I’m not saying the Packers will actually pull the trigger, but it is way too soon to conclude they won’t.

  10. Mitch Anthony March 17, 2020

    Big Brian gets paid by the Chargers! Good luck and all the best to Brian Bulaga. Above all else, stay healthy and uninjured.

    Kyler Fackrell gets to car pool with Blake Martinez as a Giant.

  11. Big B March 17, 2020

    Just projecting on comp picks next year if Packers don’t sign any additional free agents- Kirksey and Wagner don’t count against free agent losses. Based on last year’s numbers for annual salaries it looks like Packers could get two 4th round picks for Bulaga and Martinez and a 6th for Fackrell. Not bad.