Brian Gutekunst expects Preston Smith back with Packers next season

Green Bay Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst said Tuesday that he expects outside linebacker Preston Smith to remain with the team for next season.

“Preston has played a lot of really good football for us, and certainly we’d like to have him back next year. He’s under contract, so we certainly expect him to be back,” Gutekunst said, via Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Smith has two years remaining on the four-year contract he signed with the Packers in 2019. However, the Packers have some salary cap issues to address and Smith seemed at least feasible to be a potential cap casualty. After posting 12 sacks in his first year in Green Bay, Smith had just four last season for the Packers. However, that dip in sack output isn’t something that’s concerning to Gutekunst.

“While those numbers might’ve been down, I think he affected out football team in a very positive way,” Gutekunst said. “So I think there are some things between the numbers there that his value doesn’t always show. He’s kind of been that way all his career. If you go back to Washington, his sack numbers were always a little bit up and down, but the way he affected the game with his length not only as a pass defender but in the run game as well. So he’s a really good player for us, and he’s got a lot of good years left, that’s for sure.”