The Packers and defensive tackle Kenny Clark have agreed to terms on a four year contract extension that will make Clark the fourth highest paid interior defensive lineman in the NFL and by far the highest paid nose tackle in NFL history. The $17.5 million per year average salary will fall behind only Aaron Donald ($22.5M), DeForest Bucker ($21M), and Chris Jones ($20M).
Clark will receive a $25 million signing bonus which is most likely the only guaranteed portion of the contract as the Packers, more often than not, only guarantee the signing bonus. PFT reports that he will earn $37 million in the first two years which if I had to guess would mean a large roster bonus next March. The Packers often structure their contracts that way generally because it acts as a virtual guarantee for the player even if on paper the money is not protected.
Clark had been scheduled to earn $7.69 million on the final year of his rookie contract so if the above numbers are correct it would indicate a first year new money payout of $29.31 million. That is a very strong number, above the first year take home for Buckner and Jones as well as other defensive stars like Trey Flowers, ZaDarius Smith, and Von Miller.
I know many Packers fans were speculating as to what this could mean for the Packers salary cap this year, but probably not much. The minimum he could count for this year would be $5.91 million so not much more than a $1.8 million increase. If the Packers did structure that way it would indicate a salary cap charge next year of $16.1 million. The franchise tag for defensive tackles was $15.2M this year and while it will likely decrease next year due to a lower salary cap it is probably somewhat fair to say that they will be cap neutral between doing the extension and having had him play out the year and tagged him.
Getting this extension for Clark done now should open up the possibility of using the franchise tag on tackle David Bakhtiari who will be a free agent in 2021.
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