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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