Za’Darius Smith looks forward to a revenge match against the Packers

The Packers have released a Pro Bowl defender twice this season. But Green Bay’s loss could be Minnesota’s profit in a huge way.

One of the rare times in the last decade or so that the Green Bay Packers invested heavily in free agency was three years ago. During the 2019 season, general manager Brian Gutekunst signed an impressive four players (via Spotrac).

There’s a flexible offensive lineman Billy Turner, who left the Denver Broncos and signed a four-year, $28 million deal with the Pack. There’s the safety of former Chicago Bears Adrian Amos, who signed a four-year deal for $36 million.

Then there are the Smiths, a pair of full-backs outside, who can be obtained after the defenders head to head. Preston Smith left Washington to join “Titletown” for four years and $52 million. And Za’Darius Smith left Baltimore for Green Bay on a four-year, $66 million contract.

All of which have proven to be wise investments for a team that will win three consecutive NFC North titles under first-time NFL head coach Matt LaFleur. Turner has begun to settle down in attack. Amos has picked up two passes in each of his three seasons with the team.

Preston Smith has played all but one for Green Bay in the past three years (including the playoffs). He has 25 sacks in the regular season and two more in the post-season.

As for Za’Darius Smith, his tenure with the Packers got off to an incredible start. He combined 26.0 including his first two years with the franchise and won the Pro Bowl title every season. But a back injury has plagued him this past summer.

While he played in Week 1 vs. the Saints, it was his only regular appearance in 2021. He returned to play in the division playoffs with the 49ers and had one of four Jimmy Garoppolo bags.

But next time he plays at Lambeau Field, he’ll be a member of the Purple Gang. The Packers released him this season and rival Minnesota Vikings signed him to a three-year, $42 million deal. So, would it be “strange” for the one-time Baltimore Ravens pass athlete to face a recent employer?

Smith explained recently (via’s Mark Inabinett). “That’s pretty cool because we can get the chance to play them twice a year. It will be good to see them again when I get a chance to see them on the field. The Vikings have new head coach Kevin O’Connell and new defensive coordinator in Ed Donatell.

This is not Brett Favre as a member of the Vikings returning to face his old club. But revenge always makes for an intriguing game, and Smith will certainly keep an eye on former teammate Aaron Rodgers. Za’Darius Smith looks forward to a revenge match against the Packers

John Verrall

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