Packers make moves in free agency, sign former Browns LB Christian Kirksey and former Lions RT Ricky Wagner

Sports

CLEVELAND, OHIO – AUGUST 08: Outside linebacker Christian Kirksey #58 of the Cleveland Browns during the first half of a preseason game against the Washington Redskins at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 08, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst didn’t wait until Wednesday, better known as the formal start of free agency, to sign a player. Better yet, the Packers have agreed to terms with two players: linebacker Christian Kirksey from the Cleveland Browns and offensive tackle Rick Wagner from the Detroit Lions, according to multiple reports.

After being cut by the Browns, Kirksey was brought in for a visit with the Green Bay Packers on March 12. Per ESPN, Kirksey has agreed to terms on a 2-year, $16 million deal.

The Packers had a pressing need at inside linebacker and Kirksey, who will be 28 by the time the 2020 season begins, will be entering his seventh year in the league. He spent his first two seasons in Cleveland with Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

Kirksey’s durability, however, has been in question. The linebacker has had trouble staying on the field after suffering season-ending injuries (hamstring, torn pectoral muscle) the last two years. That said, Kirksey did not miss a game in his first four seasons in the league.

His signing all but insures the end of Blake Martinez’s tenure in Green Bay. Martinez will become a free agent on Wednesday.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – OCTOBER 27: Rick Wagner #71 of the Detroit Lions plays against the New York Giants at Ford Field on October 27, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the Packers also agreed to terms with former Lions offensive tackle Ricky Wagner. The former Badgers lineman will receive a two-year, $11 million deal, per ESPN.

Over the last seven seasons in both Baltimore and Detroit, Wagner has started 87 of his 102 career games.

Wagner’s signing is a good indication that Bryan Bulaga’s decade spent on the Packers offensive line may be coming to an end as well. With Bulaga’s likely departure, the 2020 offensive line could very well include left tackle David Bakhtirai, left guard Elgton Jenkins, center Corey Linsley, right guard Billy Turner and Wagner at right tackle. Right now, it’s unclear whether or not Wagner would get the start.

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