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Former Wildcat Za’Darius Smith gets monster deal with Packers

Smith will collect over $34 million(!) in the first two years alone.

Louisiana Monroe v Kentucky Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images

After four seasons playing for the Baltimore Ravens, former Kentucky Wildcats star Za’Darius Smith is expected to sign a deal with the Green Bay Packers.

The deal will make Smith one of the NFL’s highest-paid linebackers, not to mention it’s one of the biggest deals a former Wildcat has ever gotten in the NFL.

The former fourth-round pick had a breakout season for the Ravens after playing and starting the most games in his career. He had a career high 8.5 sacks and posted career highs across the board in tackles and quarterback hits as well.

With a defense that ranked 18th in the league last season, the Packers also signed Chicago Bears safety Adrian Amos and Washington Redskins edge rusher Preston Smith. With those three either being 25 or 26 years of age, Green Bay got an injection of youth and talent entering the prime of their careers in spots that needed it most.

Clay Matthews is 32 years old and with his future in Green Bay uncertain due to his ongoing unrestricted free agency, both Smith’s would be able to fit alongside Blake Martinez and make an impact at linebacker for the Packers.

Aaron Rodgers, new general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur, along with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, should be extremely pleased with how their defense is now shaping up for next season.

The Ravens, who had the #1 defense in the NFL last season, have now taken a major hit on that side of the ball not only by losing Smith, but Eric Weddle, Terrell Suggs and CJ Mosley all within the last week as well.

In 24 games throughout his junior and senior seasons for the Wildcats back in 2013 and 2014, Za’Darius totaled 119 tackles, including 14 for loss, 11 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries.