GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers’ inside linebackers weren’t good enough last season, so general manager Brian Gutekunst did the logical thing.
He let them go.
A day after Blake Martinez agreed to a three-year, $30 million contract with the New York Giants, B.J. Goodson signed with the Cleveland Browns. Terms were not immediately reported, but NFL Network said it was for one year.
Cleveland is where Christian Kirksey spent his first six NFL seasons before joining the Packers on Monday. So, it was an unofficial swap of veteran linebackers.
With Oren Burks suffering a torn pectoral during the training camp, the Packers acquired Goodson just days before the start of the regular season. Because defensive coordinator Mike Pettine likes his dime packages so much, Goodson was a starter in name only. When he played, he was active if not ultraproductive. Goodson recorded 45 tackles in 254 defensive snaps, good for a rate of 5.64 snaps per tackle – not far off Martinez’s pace of 5.04 snaps per tackle. However, there was little impact in his game aside from the physicality of his tackles. In ProFootballFocus.com’s run-stop percentage, Goodson ranked 64th of 80 off-the-ball linebackers who played at least 140 run-defending snaps. He missed just one tackle but had zero forced fumbles, fumble recoveries, interceptions or passes defensed.
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Goodson was the 109th pick of the 2016 draft – 10 picks after Cleveland selected Joe Schobert but 22 picks before Green Bay selected Martinez. He played in 15 games in three of his four seasons. Kirksey, on the other hand, has played in a total of nine games the past two seasons.
However, Gutekunst said after the season that the Packers needed to get faster at inside linebacker. At the 2016 Combine, Goodson ran his 40 in 4.69 seconds and Martinez ran his in 4.71. Kirksey ran his 40 in 4.58 at Iowa’s pro day in 2013.
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