Recapping Green Bay Packers New Free Agent Contracts

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Christian Kirksey #58 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates play in the first quarter against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Christian Kirksey #58 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates play in the first quarter against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers have made three outside signings in free agency so far, here is what their contracts look like.

Compared to the 2019 offseason for the Green Bay Packers, this one has been much quieter. However, that should have been expected.

After signing four players to $182 million worth of contracts in 2019, the Packers just don’t have the same spendable cap space this offseason. Not to mention that their 2021 free-agent class includes David Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark, Corey Linsley, Aaron Jones, Kevin King, and Jamaal Williams. Meaning, they are going to need some available cap space this time next year if they hope to re-sign even a few of those players.

But even with these cap restrictions, they were able to bring in some outside help at key positions of need. They just weren’t flashy signings like last year. And of course, the players that I’m referring to are Christian Kirksey, Rick Wagner, and Devin Funchess.

So while up to this point there has been plenty of talk about how these three players can help the Green Bay Packers on the field, let’s take a look at the contracts they received. And the common theme here is low risk, high reward, with an easy out if needed.

Christian Kirksey LB

After two injury-riddled seasons in 2018 and 2019, the Cleveland Browns decided it was time to move on from Christian Kirksey. During that stretch he would appear in just nine games, however, the Green Bay Packers are hoping he can return to his 2016-2017 form where he totaled 286 tackles, six sacks, and eight pass breakups.

Kirksey had visited with a few other teams besides Green Bay but ultimately chose the Packers on a two year – $13 million deal. This contract includes just $4 million guaranteed, a $2 million signing bonus that’ll be paid out each season, and he comes with a cap hit of $4.125 million in 2020.

In 2021 is base salary jumps from $1.75 million to $3 million and his roster bonus from $125,000 to $2.75 million. Which helps push his cap hit up to $8 million. And this is important because Kirksey’s dead cap hit in 2021 is only $2 million.

Meaning, if Kirksey struggles, has injury problems again or the Packers find a long-term solution to this position in the draft, there is a very good possibility that he will be in Green Bay for just one season.

Rick Wagner OT

At the moment, it would appear that the right tackle position now belongs to Rick Wagner with Bryan Bulaga out in Los Angeles. Wagner is coming off a season where he appeared in only 12  games and when he was on the field he would have his ups and downs.

While even at his best Wagner is no Bulaga, once again the Packers are hoping that he can perform at a higher level than what he recently has. And as a result of these unknowns, Wagner’s contract is structured very similarly to Kirksey’s.

Overall it is a two-year deal worth $11 million, which considering how much tackles were being paid in free agency, this is a good price for Green Bay. Of the $11 million, Wagner will be guaranteed $5.75 million of it and his cap hit in 2020 is just over $4.8 million.

His base salary of $2.25 million remains the same over the two years along with his $1.75 million per year signing bonus. However, his roster bonus increases in 2021 along with his cap hit which becomes $6 million and his dead cap hit in 2021 sits at only $1.75 million. Sound familiar?

So just like with Kirksey, there is the very real chance that Wagner is here for just one season. Especially if Green Bay is able to land their tackle of the future in this year’s draft.

Devin Funchess WR

Devin Funchess isn’t going to overwhelm anyone with his speed or ability to create separation, but he is now the second most accomplished receiver on this roster. While he would appear in just one game during the 2019 season with Indianapolis, in the previous two seasons with Carolina, Funchess would total nearly 1,400 yards with 12 touchdowns. However, drops have been a major issue for him.

While he doesn’t solve Green Bay’s need at receiver, he hopefully helps. As far as his contract goes, it is a one year – $2.5 million deal with a base salary of $1.2 million and a signing bonus of $1 million. Funchess also has the opportunity to earn an additional $3.75 million in incentives based upon staying healthy and his performance. Ultimately his cap hit this season sits at $2.265 million.

Next. Remaining Free Agents that Could Interest GB. dark

So as you can see, all of these deals are fairly similar. These players provide the Green Bay Packers with low-cost options at positions of need and all three have shown that they have the potential to be effective NFL players. With that said, they are all just short-term solutions that the Packers are hoping can payoff for a season or maybe two.

All contract info via Spotrac