Green Bay Packers: Za’Darius Smith, Adrian Amos fill big holes on defense

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images /

The Green Bay Packers are expected to sign free agents Za’Darius Smith and Adrian Amos. Both signings help fill two huge needs on defense.

On Tuesday morning, it was reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network that the Green Bay Packers are expected to bring in former Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith. The signing helps fill a massive hole at pass rusher.

Just moments later, Rapoport also tweeted that the Packers are expected to sign former Chicago Bears safety Adrian Amos. Amos brings his extensive experience to Green Bay after starting in 56 of 60 games since being drafted in 2015.

Both additions help the Packers at arguably their two biggest weak points on the entire roster. With Nick Perry’s future still up in the air, and Clay Matthews set to become an unrestricted free agent, Green Bay’s outside linebacker corps stands at Kyler Fackrell, Reggie Gilbert and Kendall Donnerson.

Add in Smith (6-4, 272 pounds), and the Packers officially have a bonafide quarterback hunter. Smith had a breakout season in 2018, racking up 8.5 sacks and 60 quarterback pressures. He was one of Pro Football Focus‘ biggest under the radar free agents entering the offseason. Still just 26 years old, Smith has 18.5 career sacks in just 16 career starts.

As for Amos, Green Bay’s safety spots just got instantly better. After moving veteran cornerback Tramon Williams to free safety last season due to trading away Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Amos is a definite upgrade.

According to PFF on Twitter, Amos lined up as a free safety on 62.5 percent of his snaps in 2018, and has lined up at free safety on 58.7 percent of his snaps for his career. With the flexibility to play either free safety or strong safety, Amos brings a diverse skill-set to defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s defense.

And Green Bay has needs at both positions. Former undrafted free agent strong safety Kentrell Brice was oft exposed last season, and Josh Jones has yet to take a major leap in his development. Amos can fill in at either spot. He had two interceptions and nine passes defensed in 2018, including an interception in Chicago’s playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

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There’s no question the Packers defense was upgraded with just two huge moves. That being said, there’s still plenty of work to do to shore up the defensive side of the ball. Free agency hasn’t even officially begun, so who knows what else the general manager Brian Gutekunst will delve into.