By Shereen Siewert
GREEN BAY, Wis. — What a difference a day makes.
On Monday, many Green Bay Packer fans were grumbling — loudly — about the front office’s failure to make any major signings. But that all changed on Tuesday, when team officials made a huge splash by signing four new players, renewing hopes for a much improved team in the 2019 season.
NFL Network, ESPN and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported on the signings, which insiders say marks a substantial change from the way the organization operated in the past.
Among the reported signings is former Washington outside linebacker Preston Smith, with a four-year, $52 million contract that includes a $16 million signing bonus and $27.5 million in guarantees over the first two years. Smith’s signing was first reported by ESPN.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Packers have also signed offensive lineman Billy Turner away from Denver, a four-year deal worth $28 million including $11 million the first year.
Former Baltimore outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith and former Chicago Bears safety Adrian Amos were also signed, according to the NFL Network. Amos, a fifth round draft pick in 2015, is a welcome addition to a team that badly needed help in the safety position. Last season, Amos set career-highs with two interceptions, nine passes defensed and 73 tackles.
The signing of Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith means outside linebackers Clay Matthews and Perry won’t be back in Green Bay this season. Matthews, the Packers’ all-time sack leader, is an unrestricted free agent. Green Bay will pick up $3.6 million in salary cap room by releasing Perry.
Adding a trio of defenders is expected to bolster a lagging defense that was 18th overall last year. The team hasn’t had a top 10 defense since 2010, when the unit ranked 5th.
The deals will be official at 3 p.m. Wednesday.