The Green Bay Packers spent the last off-season overhauling the outside linebacker room. Gone were longtime stalwarts Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. In came free-agent additions Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith to go along with first-round pick Rashan Gary. Only one outside linebacker remained from the Packers’ 2018 roster: Kyler Fackrell. He will be moving on now, as he signed a deal with the New York Giants in free agency. The deal is a one-year contract worth $4.6 million.
Former Packers’ LB Kyler Fackrell to Giants on a 1-year, $4.6 million deal, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2020
Kyler Fackrell, New York Giants, Agree to Terms
The former 2016 third-round pick has had an inconsistent career thus far. Playing in a reserve role his first two years, Fackrell accumulated just five sacks and 46 total tackles. In 2018, the Packers suffered injuries to Matthews and Perry, so Fackrell was granted extended playing time. Surprisingly, he quickly became the team’s most productive edge player and finished the year with 10.5 sacks while starting seven games. He added 12 tackles for a loss.
Fackrell’s skillset appeared to have been unlocked by new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Then, the Packers went out and added three new linebackers to push Fackrell back down the depth chart in 2019. He appeared in all 16 games but had no starts. Fackrell enters free agency coming off a season where he finished with 23 combined tackles and just one sack.
An older rookie, Fackrell entered the league at 25. He was the 88th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Utah State. He was viewed as a bit of a tweener and many thought he could even be more effective as an off-the-ball linebacker. The Packers utilized him as a sub-package edge rusher on third downs. He never possessed elite strength or speed but does have a really strong motor.
During his breakout 2018 season, he always appeared to be in the right place at the right time. Fackrell recorded 10.5 sacks on just 12 QB hits. Many thought his sack rate would regress in 2019 and it did severely. Still, there aren’t too many players with double-digit sack seasons on their resume hitting the open market.
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