A year ago, the Green Bay Packers exercised Kenny Clark’s fifth-year option. However, they still need to ink out a long-term deal with the Pro-Bowl defensive tackle. Using the 2020 offseason as a time for conditioning and reflection, the 24-year-old rising star remains hopeful of staying a Packer for the foreseeable future.
“I mean, with me personally, I truly feel like it’s going to happen. That’s why I’m not too worried about it,” Clark told Matt Schneidman of The Athletic.
Everyone is hoping that General Manager Brian Gutekunst is still prioritizing a long-term contract with Clark. In January, Green Bay’s GM was optimistic about resigning Clark this offseason, however, nothing has come to fruition yet.
Of course, there is plenty of offseason left, and it is not out of the ordinary for teams to strike a deal when a player is back in town getting ready for the next season.
Lately, Clark has been working out during quarantine in Southern California where he lives. His workouts last one to 1.5 hours as he tries to add strength, keep his skills fresh, and become more explosive. Oh, his regimen also includes pulling buses.
Clark’s ascension as an NFL player has been fun to watch. Many who questioned his first-round selection in 2016 are eating those words. Over the last two seasons, Clark has totaled at least 55 tackles, six sacks, and a forced fumble.
The longer the Packers wait, the more likely it becomes that Clark’s asking price goes up. Interior defensive linemen are heavily sought after with the top defensive tackles earning at least $15 million annually. Clark will command nothing less.
If anything, Green Bay may want to get a deal done sooner rather than later to ensure they are not priced out. The team already has considerable money invested in the defense with sizable deals dedicated to edge rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith.
Luckily, the Packers can continue to manipulate their cap space to create more room as they have already done. They chose not to resign inside linebacker Blake Martinez and also went with a cheaper option in right tackle Rick Wagner to replace Bryan Bulaga.
It is hard to make sense of waiting much longer when Clark is ready to do business now. At least he remains optimistic.
“As far as when it’s going to happen and all that kind of stuff, I really don’t know, but I got confidence it’ll happen though,” said Clark.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.