Packers agree to terms with Christian Kirksey

The former Browns linebacker has dealt with injuries the last two seasons.

ESPN reports that Brian Gutekunst is already getting busy:

Kirksey visted the Packers last week which would have given the Packers medical staff a chance to give him the once over. 

Obviuously, injury is the main concern with Kirksey. He hasn't finished a season the last two years. He tore a pectoral muscle last year. Before that, he missed nine games in 2018 because of ankle and hamstring injuries. 

Prior to those seasons he played in every game in each of his first four years in the league. 

I chatted about the move here:

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Comments (48)

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Samson's picture

March 16, 2020 at 09:51 am

May be a gamble but it shows how aggressive Gute is & "all in" he is for season 2020... Definitely puts the draft leaning toward OL & WR... Hooper next?

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Bearmeat's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:16 am

Man I hope not. Just above a JAG and will get paid like a blue chip player because of position scarcity.

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Guam's picture

March 16, 2020 at 12:23 pm

Kirksey played for Pettine when he was HC of the Browns. I suspect his input weighed heavily in this signing. Hopefully he is much better than a JAG for $8 mill a year.

BTW, Hooper is gone to the Browns for a BIG contract.

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mrtundra's picture

March 16, 2020 at 04:58 pm

ILB should be a draft priority, too.

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pooch's picture

March 16, 2020 at 09:52 am

Still need to draft linebacker

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dobber's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:07 am

Agreed.

But moves like this grant significant flexibility in the draft, and makes it less likely that they'll be trusting the middle to a rookie in 2020.

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Samson's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:02 am

Unless Gute can move up in round 1, neither Queen nor Murray will be available at #30... Who else in the draft at ILB is worth the #30 pick? .. A later round pick at ILB won't step in as a starter on day 1, season 2020. --- This is all about season 2020. --- Project draft picks were on TT's agenda... also his nemesis.

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dobber's picture

March 16, 2020 at 12:58 pm

Deft use of "neither...nor" there, Samson! ;)

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 16, 2020 at 03:28 pm

They are not his targets.

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pooch's picture

March 16, 2020 at 09:52 am

Still need to draft linebacker

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dobber's picture

March 16, 2020 at 09:53 am

Have to see the terms on his deal, but they needed an ILB, he's a better coverage 'backer than Martinez, he plays fast, he can tackle, is supposedly a great locker room guy...AND he doesn't count against the compensatory formula in 2021.

Has to be able to stay on the field.

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jimtalkbox's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:03 am

Hopefully Kirksey can stay healthy. He seems like a solid player when he is. I still feel like the Packers will draft an ILB in the middle rounds.

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Lphill's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:05 am

Get Kwitnikowski and we are set!

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dobber's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:06 am

I think this closes the door on Kwiatkoski.

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PatrickGB's picture

March 16, 2020 at 02:26 pm

He signed elsewhere

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KneelYoung's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:14 am

Good start and now opens the door to sign Austin HooperTE Atlanta and DL Michael Pierce of the Ravens. Swing the door open wide and enjoy the start of free agency. As I always say "Yellow Weasel, hut ,hut"

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Fredrik87's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:22 am

I don't like this signing, at least not for this amount of money.
Kirksey has had injury issues, and was never a great coverage linebacker.
I think Kwiatkoski, Sean Lee, Thomas Davis are all better players and would likely all cost less than $8 million.

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dobber's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:38 am

People reporting on Kirksey who have PFF have said he rates as an above average coverage ILB.

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Point-Packer's picture

March 16, 2020 at 11:26 am

Thomas Davis is old and an awful coverage LB at this stage of his career.

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dobber's picture

March 16, 2020 at 01:53 pm

Still an elite cheap shot artist, though.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 16, 2020 at 03:31 pm

It is an incentive laden deal. He will get a 4m bonus, but the rest of the cash is contingent upon him showing up to play.

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dobber's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:37 am

Packers sign Ricky Wagner.

The dumpster dive continues!

https://www.profootballrumors.com/2020/03/packers-to-sign-t-ricky-wagner

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stockholder's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:44 am

The lions cut him in a cap move.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:37 am

PACKERS SIGN OT RICKY WAGNER, 2 YEARS, $11M.

Another UFA who won't count against the compensatory pick system.

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dobber's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:53 am

WOW! 2 years @ $11M?

That's a great deal for the Packers, IMO.

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stockholder's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:38 am

Over- Paid. Yes. But the market must be just to Much for others. Like I said," Pettine won't trust the ILB to a Rookie." This opens the door for a Wr @30. 2 yrs. is perfect. Draft flexibility is perfect. Draft and development. DL next!

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NickPerry's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:48 am

I don't know SH...$13 million and only a 4 million signing bonus. It's mostly incentive based..

"According to Aaron Wilson, the deal actually contains $13 million in non-incentive money, with a $4 million signing bonus. He will also have a large portion of the contract wrapped up in per-game active roster bonuses, with $1.5 million in incentives each year and extra incentives in 2021 for Pro Bowl honors."

Not so bad at all!

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stockholder's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:52 am

If he stays on the field.

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NickPerry's picture

March 16, 2020 at 12:15 pm

Yup...Hopefully he does!

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mnbadger's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:44 am

Trust gutey and staff. Wagner signing means goodbye to bulaga. Still need lewis and veteran tight end.

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tincada's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:56 am

So you dump BB because he's always injured and you sign some guy who hasn't completed the last two seasons because of injury? Makes sense to me, ha ha ha.

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dobber's picture

March 16, 2020 at 11:21 am

Yeah...that guy isn't playing RT. It's not a substitution.

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NickPerry's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:50 am

This was posted on another site for an update to Kirksey's contract...Not to bad at all.

"According to Aaron Wilson, the deal actually contains $13 million in non-incentive money, with a $4 million signing bonus. He will also have a large portion of the contract wrapped up in per-game active roster bonuses, with $1.5 million in incentives each year and extra incentives in 2021 for Pro Bowl honors."

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Cubbygold's picture

March 16, 2020 at 10:53 am

3 week old son at home and my job is stock-market related. So I've done zero reading about FA targets this off-season.

Sounds like the comments here have him as average in coverage. Is he really good at run stopping then? Or is this basically another Blake, without the inflated salary expectations?

Just curious if the team got better, or did this to stay the same and save a few bucks.

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Stroh's picture

March 16, 2020 at 02:59 pm

Kirksey is definitely better than Martinez both in run and pass D. The Big question is will he be on the field? He's only played 9 games in the past 2 seasons. If he stays on the field he's an upgrade and he does provide flexibility when it comes to the draft. Same w/ the signing of Wagner at RT. They now have stopgap starters at 2 areas that needed to be addressed, particularly since expecting a rookie to step in at either position was very risky.

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Bure9620's picture

March 16, 2020 at 11:09 am

I like the Wagner signing, solid player on a team friendly deal. Signing Bulaga long term would have been a mistake. Wagner struggled early in his career but has been solid lately and provides more in the run game than Bulaga. He actually fits well in LeFleur's offense. Good athleticism.

The Kirksey signing feels a bit desperate to me. He is certainly better in coverage than Blake (which is not saying very much) but he has injury concerns. He is a solid vet but we seem to be paying over market value IMO. I do not think he solves much of the problem against the run either.

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dobber's picture

March 16, 2020 at 11:19 am

There aren't many ILBs who fix the run issue and play the pass well if this DL doesn't get help.

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Thegravedigger's picture

March 18, 2020 at 01:30 am

I keep googling michael pierce to see if somebody snagged him up yet. Like 5 times a day.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 16, 2020 at 11:31 am

He tore a pectoral muscle so he should be close to healed. The ankle has two years to recover, so he may work out with a per game payout. Low risk deal for depth. Wagner fits the fill-in model with a better track record against injury than Veldheer. Maybe they move on Hooper next?

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stockholder's picture

March 16, 2020 at 12:10 pm

I feel they replaced Goodson, Not Martinez. The Wagner signing told me Vlad and Bulaga wanted to much based on age. And DL help. They also avoided paying Vlad bonus money and retiring again. Two rookies will be drafted for the OL. Pollard, Heck, 6th round.

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Bure9620's picture

March 16, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Kirksey is a much better athlete than Goodson, coverage backer

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dobber's picture

March 16, 2020 at 01:03 pm

Agreed. At this stage they aren't going to pay that kind of money for a situational run stopper. You can buy a couple Goodsons for what they paid Kirksey and they'll be all over the place in a few weeks.

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AgrippaLII's picture

March 16, 2020 at 12:57 pm

I watched Kirksey play quite a bit. I live in Ohio so the Browns were on nearly every week. Kirksey was one of the few bright spots on a team that sucked! I don't think his past injuries were as severe as they seem given he was placed on IR. I tend to think they decided to err on the side of caution since the Browns were going nowhere. He's on the right side of 30 and should be ready to go when training camp starts. The guy has better instincts than Martinez...he makes plays! I like this signing. Sure it's a risk...but Gutekunst has a legitimate chance to strike gold with this signing!

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CoachDino's picture

March 16, 2020 at 02:40 pm

Thanks for the insight -good post.

The flip side of the injury concern is how healthy he is due to the limited wear and tear on the body over the last few years.

Love the handle

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 16, 2020 at 03:37 pm

Solid fundamentals coming from Iowa.

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Stroh's picture

March 16, 2020 at 03:05 pm

Wagner was rated in the 60's among all OT in 2019. That is very low and well below his previous seasons. He's 31 and probably on his last legs. Wagner doesnt really have good athleticism either, Bulaga is certainly more athletic. He's at best a stopgap singing to give the Packers a chance to develop a RT for the future.

Both Kirksey and Wagner are stopgap signings so they aren't forced to draft and start an ILB and RT. It gives them flexibility in the draft and allows players drafted at those positions to develop before being forced to start.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 16, 2020 at 03:42 pm

If they bag the guy they want in the draft at OT, the rookie could easily end up being the starter. Wagner gives them a backup guard as well.

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Stroh's picture

March 16, 2020 at 03:54 pm

After the top 4 OT, non of the rest are going to be ready to start. Maybe Jones later in the year. Jones, Jackson and Cleveland all need development and or significant strength gains or both. I wouldn't count (nor would I trust any of them to protect Rodgers) as rookies. That would be a major mistake. Jones at #30 if fine and he might be able to start later in the year as a rookie. Jackson needs development and a year in an NFL weight room, He missed one year in college IIRC and is only 20 yrs old. I wouldn't touch Cleveland.

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