Decision to resign Bakhtiari or Clark has big-time cap ramifications

As the Green Bay Packers progress through their 2020 offseason, trying to find more money with their current roster has proven tough, although the restructuring of OL Lane Taylor’s deal helped free up around $3 million.

The likes of David Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark, Kevin King, Aaron Jones, and others are going to be up for new deals after the 2020-2021 seasons, with both Bakhtiari and Clark headlining that class.

Obviously both at or near the tops of their respective position group classes, Bakhtiari and Clark are integral to the team’s future success and has been important to them getting as far as they have so far. But both are going to be demanding top-market value (or at least that’s the perception), making fitting both under the cap for ‘21 and beyond a tough pill to swallow.

For Bakhtiari, the trusted blindside protector of Aaron Rodgers has been a stalwart at left tackle ever since he was selected out of the University of Colorado in 2013 in the fourth round. Having easily exceeded the expectations of a 4th-round OL, he has been solidly entrenched at LT for a while and has remained on top of his game ever since.

The market value for a LT was reset with the monster 3 year, $66 million deal that Laremy Tunsil signed with the Houston Texans this offseason, increasing what Bakhtiari can reasonably ask for.

While there have been no real numbers thrown out there to see what he’s asking for, the 28-year-old is most likely getting his final large deal of his career, and while getting $22M/season is out of the question, something like 4/$60M should at least act as a starting point.

For Clark, he is the next crop of fantastic interior defensive linemen and he will absolutely deserve to be paid like one – but GB can not afford for him to be paid like one.

Aaron Donald and DeForrest Buckner lead the pack in annual salaries, with $22.5 and $21.0 million, respectively, and the 24-year-old UCLA product, who entered the league as the youngest player at that time, has only gotten better in his young career.

This deal will be Clark’s first chance at his first major payday, and him making $15+M across four seasons will most likely be a low ball offer to him, but with how Russ Ball and the front office gets star players to sign for below-market value, it would be a huge coup to get him at that value.

If both players, roughly, were to command $15 million each for the ‘21 season, adding $30 million to the salary cap would be very tough to handle, but it’s gonna have to happen if they want to remain competitive.

For both King and Jones, they won’t command too-notch market value, thankfully, so they will be second and third on the list of importance moving forward. 

Bakhtiari is the LT stud of the past, present, and future, and he should be able to be the left-side bookend even when Rodgers is not the QB and the torch has been passed to Jordan Love. And Clark is the perfect compliment to the Smith Brothers and is absolutely the best under-25 player on the roster, which is what he’s looking to be paid like as well.

Money is going to be tough to come by, but Brian Gutekunst is going to be able to continue his impressive roster management and make this work, even if it comes at the price of a few other roster pieces.

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Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23

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4 thoughts on “Decision to resign Bakhtiari or Clark has big-time cap ramifications

  1. A Decent Journeyman NT can be replaced. One of the best LT’s in the entire league, not nearly as easy. The money has to go to Bakhtiari. I like Kenny Clark, but his contract would demand 10-12 M a year on the cheap, and you can’t keep them all. In fact, they could consider trading him, and getting some value, that’s what the Patriots would do.

  2. If someone has to go, it’s probably Aaron Jones, for several reasons: RB postion has been devalued, some serious draft capital was invested in AJ Dillon and RBs get injured.

    To me, Bakhtiari and Clark are both no brainers. The LT position is the 2nd most important position in the NFL. The Packers will find a way to make it work. Linsley will be let go and will free up some room considering the plethora of offensive linemen drafted and on the roster.

  3. I say Clark goes. Yes he’s good, but he only showed up for about four games last year! Against good run teams? Was not very effective or a game changer. That is not consistent at all. Bak protects Rodgers blind side which is huge!! But, don’t worry, Ball will screw it up and go cheap.

  4. Clark’s CAP hit 2020 is almost $8 million. Bakhtiari’s CAP is almost $15 million. $30 million for both is only $7 million more. Am I missing something or is the author. Letting Linsley go will free up $10 million form 2020. The problems are Jones and King both are at about $2.3 million and will take $5 million more CAP each in 2021. Not impossible, but the big issue in Rodgers CAP hit will rise $15 million in 2021, unless restructured. Cannot keep restructuring or the CAP hit when he retires will be impossible to absorb. Rodgers is a heavy load and will require rookies to fill important spots like OL, DL, and WR. King may be odd man out.

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