Green Bay Packers Replace Blake Martinez With Christian Kirksey

Christian Kirksey

The Green Bay Packers signed Christian Kirksey to a two-year, $16 million contract. Kirksey spent his first six seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. He played 74 games and had two interceptions, 11.5 sacks, 304 solo tackles, 180 assisted tackles, and 22 quarterback hits. The linebacker only played two games in 2019 as the Browns had to place him on Injured Reserve due to a chest injury. Since Kirksey missed nearly all of last season, he’ll be raring to go come August 2020.

The Packers seem to have signed Kirksey to replace Blake Martinez, who signed with the New York Giants. Frankly, Kirksey seems rather comparable to Martinez and not much of an upgrade. Kirksey is just over a year older than Martinez, so that’s not helping the defense get younger. However, the Pack’s defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine, is probably thrilled to have Kirksey since they’ve worked together before. Pettine was Cleveland’s head coach in 2014-15. During that time, “Kirksey tallied 144 tackles and 5½ sacks in 32 appearances (13 starts),” according to Staff Writer, Wes Hodkiewicz. If Kirksey can have a season much like his 2014-15 campaign, the Packers defense could be better than the 2019-20 season.

Green Bay Packers Fill Blake Martinez’s Shoes with Christian Kirksey

In all of Kirksey’s prior teams, he was a respected leader. He was the defensive captain for the Iowa Hawkeyes. In 2018, he was named a team captain for the Browns. Kirksey is passionate about inspiring and motivating his teammates. He also became involved in the community while in Cleveland, Ohio.

Hodkiewicz, explains: “That involvement included his time spent with Camp Courageous, which aims to foster independence and better the quality of life for children and adults with developmental disabilities through outdoor activities. He also hosted ‘A Kirkoland Story: Cleveland Family Adoption, Backpack Giveaway’ at I PROMISE School. In 2016, Kirksey was voted the PFWA Dino Lucarelli Good Guy award winner.”

The 27-year-old linebacker strives to make a positive difference in every environment or group of people around him. Kirksey says, “It comes from just looking up to my father, and just seeing the type of man he was and the type of things he did and the way he carried himself.” Based on these details, Kirksey sounds like the type of guy that will fit in well with the Packers locker room. He operates with a team-first mentality which is precisely how Green Bay functions. Certainly, no diva players would be a good match for the Packers.

Fit on the Packers Defense

Combined with his inspiring and motivational demeanor, Green Bay is hoping that Kirksey can make a splash on the field. If he can put up solid numbers this season along with more consistent play from Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, the Packers defense will be set. Kirksey is already embracing the Packers defensive duo and using their famous nickname for the defense from last year, “D-train.”

Only time will tell the difference that Kirksey can make for the Packers defense. Hopefully, the newly acquired linebacker can remain healthy in 2020. If so, Green Bay has prevented the loss of Martinez from leaving a noticeable gap in their defensive line since Kirksey has the potential to be a tackling machine, too. So, while this free agency has been far less eventful than 2019, the changes could still set the team up for success in the coming year.

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