Worth the money: Smiths, Adrian Amos made Packers' investment count

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The most important number for Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith wasn't their sack totals, although they made the Green Bay Packers the only team in the NFL to have two players with 12-plus sacks each in the regular season and they combined for 29.5 sacks in the regular season plus playoffs.

It was 18.

The same number was key for Adrian Amos.

The Packers' three high-priced free agents played in all 18 games, including playoffs.

It was money well spent by Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst. Worst-case scenario would have been spending $47 million in signing bonus money and watching the trio miss games because of injury. History suggested that wouldn't happen -- Za'Darius Smith had missed only six games in his first four NFL seasons, Amos sat out just four and Preston Smith never skipped one -- but even that was no guarantee.

Amos was on the field more than any Packers' defensive player in the regular season -- for 1,036 of a possible 1,040 plays. He sat for only the final four plays of the Week 7 blowout win over the Raiders. After playing all 64 snaps of the divisional-round playoff win over the Seattle Seahawks, Amos left the NFC title game loss to the San Francisco 49ers after 31 snaps because of a shoulder injury that coach Matt LaFleur said this week should not require surgery.

Meanwhile, the Smiths led the outside linebacker group in playing time, playing nearly 1,000 snaps each.

"I feel like we just come to work each and every day," Za'Darius Smith said before the NFC Championship Game. "You know, the world calls us brothers so we act like brothers, so we bring the best out of each other. So that carries around the team also. Everybody feels the same way so that's why we call it a brotherhood."

When asked before the NFC title game if they could have imagined this kind of impact, Preston Smith said: "It clicked right away. We already had a chemistry of knowing each other. So it was easy to come in and have that brother-like feel already. We were already cool with each other, so we talked about a lot of stuff and the transition. It just made the transition that much smoother. You had somebody that you know going through it with you. It made the process a whole lot easier."

The Packers' good health was reflected in their participation numbers. They used only 25 players on defense all season, down from 32 in 2018 and 30 in 2017.

Below is this season's playing-time breakdown on defense (the offense report published on Wednesday). For comparison, last season's defense snap totals can be found here.

Total defensive plays (including playoffs): 1,159

Defensive line


Defensive backs