It’s a good Saturday morning for Green Bay Packers fans. This morning marks the first practice of the team’s 2020 training camp and just moments before that started, news broke of the team locking up one of its critical core players for the foreseeable future.
Kenny Clark will be a Packer for at least five more seasons.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Packers and Clark have agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $70 million in new money. That deal locks him up in Green Bay through the 2024 season and it includes a $25 million signing bonus, which will be spread out over those five seasons. Combined with his contract for 2020 — the fifth-year option on his rookie contract — Clark will be scheduled to receive about $77 million over the next five seasons.
Getting this deal done before the season begins was a critical priority for both Clark and Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst. It allows the Packers to use some of their roughly $13 million in cap space now to help pay for this deal, knowing that the salary cap will likely dip in 2021 due to the impacts from the coronavirus pandemic.
Clark’s deal makes him the highest-paid nose tackle in NFL history and the 12th-highest-paid defensive player in the NFL by average annual salary, and he narrowly eclipsed teammate Za’Darius Smith’s four-year, $66 million contract in 2019. This all comes with Clark still just 24 years old — he turns 25 on October 4.
In 2019, Clark made his first Pro Bowl and tied a career high with six sacks, adding a seventh in the postseason. He also played a whopping 869 defensive snaps, taking the field on 84 percent of the team’s defensive plays. With that workload, Clark finished second in total quarterback pressures among all interior defensive linemen, behind only Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams.
Now the Packers’ attention will shift over to left tackle David Bakhtiari, running back Aaron Jones, and center Corey Linsley, whose contracts are all also due to expire in March.