The Green Bay Packers have released LB Christian Kirksey and T Rick Wagner. General Manager Brian Gutekunst announced the transactions Friday.
Kirksey (6-2, 235) started all 11 regular-season games he appeared in during his one year with the Packers, finishing tied for No. 2 on the team with 78 tackles (47 solo). He also saw action in both postseason contests with one start. Kirksey was originally selected by the Cleveland Browns in the third round (No. 71 overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft out of the University of Iowa. Over seven seasons with the Browns, he played in 73 games with 54 starts, registering 463 tackles (289 solo), 11.5 sacks, two interceptions, 16 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Kirksey served as a team captain for three years (2017-19) and was the Browns’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2018. He registered the second-most tackles (281) in the NFL from 2016-17 (per press-box totals), including a career-best 143 in 2016.
Wagner (6-6, 315) played one season for the Packers, appearing in 16 regular-season games with nine starts and starting both postseason contests. He helped Green Bay rank tied for No. 2 in the NFL in sacks allowed (21) in 2020, the fourth fewest by Green Bay in a 16-game season. Wagner was part of a line that allowed one sack or zero sacks in a league-best 13 games, tied for the most in team history (2004), including four zero-sack games, the most by Green Bay since 2008 (four). He was originally chosen in the fifth round (No. 168 overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens out of the University of Wisconsin. After four seasons with the Ravens, the West Allis, Wis., native signed with Detroit in 2017 and played three seasons with the Lions. For the first seven years of his career, Wagner played in 102 games with 87 starts during the regular season, including starting every game he played except for one from 2014-19.