GREEN BAY, Wis. – As a third-round pick in 2016, Kyler Fackrell had two sacks. In 2017, he had three sacks. In 2019, he posted a crazy 10.5 sacks.
What did Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst think of Fackrell? He signed Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith to massive free-agent contracts and used a first-round pick on Rashan Gary.
Not surprisingly, Fackrell’s playing time and production took a deep nose-dive, with his snap count going from 623 to 415. He managed just one sack.
“It’s been good. We’re 7-2,” Fackrell said at midseason. “It is what it is. I’m taking the attitude of it’ll all work itself out.”
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Also not surprisingly, Fackrell worked things out by leaving the Packers in free agency. According to ESPN, he agreed to a one-year, $4.6 million contract with the New York Giants.
With fewer opportunities, Fackrell’s big-picture production but, according to Pro Football Focus, he actually had more pressures (25 in 2019 vs. 23 in 2018).
“I just love Kyler as a person,” outside linebackers coach Mike Smith said last season. “He’s one of the brightest kids in the room. You’re talking about a guy that started last year and had a lot of success, and with Z and Preston, he’s still getting 25-30 snaps. He grades out the highest every week. … When you get guys who do that and take our time and study an offense and its DNA, you’re going to be a damn good football player. You’re going to be a damn good football player in this league. Kyler is up there with the best I’ve ever coached.”
Told what Smith said, Fackrell replied: “That means a lot. I appreciate that. I’ve really enjoyed Coach Smith. I’ve learned a lot from him. Wherever I end up, if I’m here or somewhere else moving forward, I’ll definitely keep in touch with him because of the coaching and the way he goes about pass rush and coaching the outside linebacker position. I really enjoy it. So, it means a lot. I’m grateful that he feels that way.”
According to Nick Korte of OverTheCap.com, Fackrell’s departure gives the Packers the potential for a sixth-round compensatory draft pick in 2011. The team also could receive fourth-rounders for right tackle Bryan Bulaga and linebacker Blake Martinez, who also signed with the Giants.
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