Brian Gutekunst has struck early in free agency.
The Green Bay Packers general manager and his staff landed linebacker Christian Kirksey on Monday morning.
Free agent LB Christian Kirksey has agreed to terms on a 2 year, $16 million dollar deal with the Green Bay Packers per his agency @SPORTSTARSNYC
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2020
A third-round draft pick out of Iowa in 2014, Kirksey was a very productive player in his first four seasons with the Cleveland Browns, including back-to-back years of at least 138 tackles. He’s also shown to be a good coverage linebacker, something the Packers were in desperate need of.
But he’s struggled to stay healthy the last two years, playing in just nine games. In 2018, he missed two games with an ankle injury and seven more with a hamstring issue. Then, in the second game of 2019, he tore one of his pectoral tendons and missed the rest of the year.
Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is familiar with Kirksey, as he was the head coach of the Browns in the linebacker’s first two years. The 27-year-old Kirksey served as one of the Browns captains during his career.
Along with Green Bay, Kirksey visited the Las Vegas Raiders and Buffalo Bills last week
The addition of Kirksey almost certainly means linebacker Blake Martinez’s days are done with the club as he gets set to hit free agency when the NFL’s negotiating period opens Monday at noon.