Is Kenny Clark Really Worth What It Will Take to Extend Him?

Let's rethink exactly how 2021 free agency should play out.

I am certainly not an NFL salary cap expert. Not even close. But I can add. And I just don't see any way the Green Bay Packers can extend all of their "Big Three" 2021 free agents. At least not without critically gutting the rest of the team. One of them for sure, maybe two, but I don't know how they can squeeze in all of them.

The big three are, of course, defensive tackle Kenny Clark, left tackle David Bakhtiari and running back Aaron Jones. One would have to think each of them will command a deal at or reasonably close to the top salaries at their position. Let's look at those numbers.

The highest paid defensive lineman in the NFL currently is Aaron Donald. The Rams are paying him an annual average of $22.5 million. Surely Kenny Clark won't come in any cheaper than around $20 million, and even that may not be enough.

Among offensive linemen, Laremy Tunsil is now the top money maker after Houston signed him to a deal averaging about $22 million. I personally believe Bakhtiari is better than Tunsil, although older, and again you're looking at something in the $17 to 20 million range.

Christian McCaffery of the Panthers set the running back standard with a package that averages $16 million annually. Aaron Jones can't command that, but I'm willing to bet his agent feels Jones on the open market could at least reel in $10 to $12 million.

Put them together and you're at a total of around $47 to 50 million dollars per year of new money.   The 2020 base cap is $198.2 million.   The latest wisdom out there is that the NFL will protect the cap from taking a sharp drop in 2021 by borrowing against future earnings..   So the 2021 cap is expected to come in about level, roughly $200 million.   That means the extensions of the big three alone would eat up around 25 percent.   

The Packers can ease the pain by putting some of that money into signing bonuses and spreading them out over the length of the contracts, but then you still have to add the already huge deals of Aaron Rodgers, Zadarious and Preston Smith, Adrian Amos and Davante Adams.  Oh yeah, then you also have to pay 45 more players.   

The result is clear. The money simply isn't there, unless you axe a bunch of solid contributors off the team, or push a fortune into future years which just delays the cap stress..

At least one of those big three stars has to go. But which one? The great mantra from Packer Nation this off season has been "resigning Kenny Clark is the number one priority". I have been firmly on board with that. But the more I look at those numbers, and the more I actually rewatch the Packers games last year, the more I feel compelled to float the unthinkable idea: Would it be smarter to focus on Jones and Bakh, and perhaps trade Clark?

I ask you to picture which is worse.....Green Bay's defense without Clark.....or Green Bay's offense without Jones and/or Bakh? Which would hurt the team more in the big picture?

No question without Clark the Packer defense is worse. But at least there are a few options to try. Green Bay has had some success rotating guys like Zadarious and Rashan Gary into the front, and perhaps somebody like Kingsley Keke improves enough to help out, or maybe the light comes on for Montravious Adams, or perhaps one of the new guys such as Treyvon Hester or Willington Previlon can contribute. I'm not saying Clark wouldn't be missed, but hey, even with him the Packers were terrible against the run. Can it get much worse? (he asked nervously)

Now picture the offense without Aaron Jones. Yes, at first I bought into the philosophy that running backs are more easily replaced. But really, go back and watch last year's games. If you watch closely, you'll see that Aaron Jones is not only the best weapon on offense, but he pretty much IS the offense. Nearly every bit of success the Packers have moving the ball is either due to Jones carrying or play action fake off of him. And his emergence in the passing game gives Green Bay a rare threat down the field. Without him, the Packers are reduced to three yards and a cloud of dust with Jamal Williams and rookie AJ Dillon, and Rodgers holding the ball and throwing it out of bounds. Yes, running backs are easier to replace, but not special running backs. Aaron Jones is special.

Same goes for the offense without Bakhtiari. Rodgers would be a sitting duck and once the pass game is stifled opposing defenses will load up to stop the run. I'd rather search for ways to shore up a defensive line spot than a left tackle spot.

So if somebody has to go, let's rethink it. Wouldn't it make more sense to trade Clark (surely you could get a top pick or more, with which you could target a top college DL) and focus on Jones and Bakh for extensions? Don't forget, the Packers also have guys like Kevin King, Corey Linsley, Allen Lazard and Jamal Williams to ponder.

In the mean time, maybe we can all hope Russ Ball has some sort of magic up his sleeve that enables the Pack to bring them all back.   It's just hard to see from here. 

 

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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Comments (71)

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Bure9620's picture

July 12, 2020 at 06:28 pm

Big guys are hard to find, you extend Clark, Gute just has to do it. Dominant interior defenders are hard to find and the game it won up front. Will this cause us to not sign other players? Yes of course. He is too important

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Samson's picture

July 12, 2020 at 07:30 pm

No doubt that Ken Clark is top priority, Bak is definitely 2nd on the list... As much as I like A. Jones, the Pack drafted AJ Dillon as a viable replacement. --- Look at it anyway you like, even the best RBs in the NFL can be replaced & quickly.

Really, all of this analysis will start to shift to season 2021 after a vaccine... I can't see a 2020 NFL season... Too many questions... very few answers.

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Stroh's picture

July 12, 2020 at 07:59 pm

Too much money to be lost by players and owners not to play. Might be altered and abbreviated but there will be a '20 season. The biggest issue is how the salary cap will be affected. Lost revenue and income equls a decrease in the salary cap. That is already affecting Clarks negotiations with the Packers!

I would consider Bahktiari and Clark 1 and 1a, in no order. Both equally vital.

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flackcatcher's picture

July 13, 2020 at 09:48 pm

That's the best case scenario. (which I am desperately hoping for) But the flaming egos involved on both owners and players will find a way to screw things up. They can't help themselves...

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stockholder's picture

July 12, 2020 at 07:43 pm

Franchise him! Forget; getting burned on Perry. Franchise Him! He's are best DL. Franchise Him! He's a NFL player. Pay him like one. Franchise him!

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Bure9620's picture

July 12, 2020 at 08:34 pm

Nick perry was never even close to the player Clark is, he is dominant

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Spang29's picture

July 12, 2020 at 09:34 pm

Franchise him? Hmmmm let's not! 2021 offensive line will look much different from now. Believe that!!

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Turophile's picture

July 13, 2020 at 09:07 am

Maybe Stockholder should dial back on the sugar intake, he's getting too excited.

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stockholder's picture

July 13, 2020 at 12:01 pm

Maybe your right. I'm laughing. Thanks.

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Stroh's picture

July 12, 2020 at 07:52 pm

I don't agree Jones is in the big 3. RB are a dime a dozen and among the most replaceable positions in the NFL. Jones might be better, but a strong case can be made that both Kevin King and possibly Linsley are higher priorities than Jones. King plays a premium position at CB and Linsley being the Center. The QB and Center relationship is pretty important as well. If you lose Linsley it puts even more stress on Rodgers, especially presnap.

Yes, Jones is a really good RB, but its much easier to find another that can ba as productive, than it is to find capable CB. Jones is going to have to accept the contract the Packers are willing to give him. Likely 6M max which is probably well below what he could command in FA.

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PhantomII's picture

July 12, 2020 at 10:37 pm

Green Bay has not seen RB production like A. Jones in 15 years. When Adams went down Jones was the offense running, catching and mainly leading the NFL in TD"s 2019. Any RB can be replaced with a mediocre production which is the Packers norm for that position. We no longer have 4 WR sets out wide who perform like the old days. He is top 5 RB and tops in TD production last year. We have another year to figure all this out, we will see. His production will NOT be easily replaced. Thinking that he will is dumb. He may get hurt, who knows? We are at best 8-8 team without Jones. Adams and Jones are electric players. Nobody else on offense is like them.

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PeteK's picture

July 13, 2020 at 07:49 am

Lacy had a few very good years and look what happened. Jones had a durable year , but let's not forget the other seasons.

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13TimeChamps's picture

July 13, 2020 at 09:24 am

Totally unfair comparison. Totally different body types, totally different running styles. Lacy was an out of shape 250-260 lb. battering ram who ate himself out of the league. Jones is an athletic 207 lb. make-'em-miss dual threat running back. Going into his 4th year, Lacy's best football was already behind him. Jones, also entering his 4th year, is just entering his prime.

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Coldworld's picture

July 13, 2020 at 01:45 pm

Personally, I think Jones determines the answer by how he performs in the new system and thus how versatile he can be after teams have studied tape and with a heavy back threat in Dillon. The complication is that he isn’t an every down back if we want him to last. Yes, he can play that role, but it is pretty likely to shorten his career. Those factors define the value proposition in my view.

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PeteK's picture

July 13, 2020 at 04:22 pm

It wasn't a comparison, but an ans to Phantom about not having RB production.

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Stroh's picture

July 14, 2020 at 10:07 pm

You don't remember Raheem Mostert? Cut by half a dozen teams. SF picked him up and he ran roughshod over the Packers. Id be willing to bet he could put up 1000 yds and another 400 receiving. They drafted Dillon in case you forgot. He's definitely not top 5. Top 10 sure probably. There are RB in the mid rounds every draft that can put up 1000 yds and a few hundred more receiving.

I'd like Jones back for sure, but RB is devalued more than any position and its been proven you can find very good ones everywhere. Jones will have to take a very team friendly deal.

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murf7777's picture

July 13, 2020 at 11:21 am

I agree with you Stroh....most RB's lose their greatness quickly, we need to use the money at the prime positions and CB is one of them. If Jones came at a price tag of 6-8M I'd think differently, but not big money that I suspect he will want. I also suspect Dillon is going to be able to replace his him, maybe not at the same level, but somewhere close. I also believe that is why Gutey drafted him, just in case, Jones wants the big $$'s.

Smart teams, one's that are in the playoffs regularly, don't pay premium dollars at the RB position. That is why Pittsburgh let Bell leave. NE, SF and/or Seattle won't either. I hope Vikings give Cook a hugh contract!

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Stroh's picture

July 14, 2020 at 10:28 pm

Very good comment! You clearly "get it". Most are misguided when it comes to Jones. Love to have him back to pair with Dillon but it has tb be at a price they can absorb without difficulty.

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Istanbul's picture

July 15, 2020 at 03:15 am

Find another RB like Jones who finds something out of nothing, changes direction masterfully, catches well and sets up the play action, which is integral to the new offense. If it's that easy to find this guy, then why don't we just trade Jones for a 1st, call up and plug someone in from the taxi squad and use the pick on another OL. Considering his production in this offense and how poorly RBs are paid, Jones will be a cheap way of keeping the offense strong.

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mnbadger's picture

July 12, 2020 at 08:03 pm

I agree with your premise. I'm a former offensive lineman so I always watch the line of scrimmage. KC is very good, but not dominant. No where near the top dl's in the league based on splash plays and tackles within two yards of the LOS.
Top ten or twelve so pay him like that or trade him for a first or bundle of other picks.
Hate to see him go, but anything close to 15 mill. is way too much. Hopefully Gutey won't repeat TT's errors and fall blindly in love with his own picks. (See Nick Perry)

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stockholder's picture

July 12, 2020 at 08:15 pm

KC chiefs DL Jones got franchised. Meaning they had to make an offer of 16 mil. a year He turned down 18mil.

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Stroh's picture

July 12, 2020 at 08:24 pm

Jones is probably the #2 interior DL in the NFL, hehind only Donald. Clark should get slightly less or equal at most to Chris Jones.

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mnbadger's picture

July 14, 2020 at 02:53 pm

Chiefs just signed Chris Jones to a new four year $84 million contract with $60 guaranteed.
IMO Clark isn't as good as Jones and shouldn't get more than $15 million annually but needs more in incentives (including number of snaps) than guarantees. GPG

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dobber's picture

July 14, 2020 at 03:41 pm

Still, I don't think this deal is good for the Packers' negotiating position.

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Stroh's picture

July 12, 2020 at 08:22 pm

Clark is definitely in the Top 5 interior DL in the league. Maybe you should watch more or pay attention better.

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mnbadger's picture

July 13, 2020 at 07:37 am

I agree with you that I may need to pay closer attention. I see him whipping up on mediocre centers but becoming less impactful against better opposition.
My biggest hesitation is that he's very good but not great so don't overpay him. These are the kind of moves that bellichick always seems to get right and our gm's generally miss on.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 14, 2020 at 02:46 am

I couldn't agree more.

Clark had great games against MN, MN, CAR, CHI.
Clark had good games vs. CHI, DAL, NYG, WASH.
Clark had ~ to > ave. games vs. DET, DEN, PHI, LAC.
Clark had < ave. games vs. DET, OAK, KC, SF.

Link shows his worth by game in the valuation tab.

https://overthecap.com/player/kenny-clark/4739/

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Stroh's picture

July 15, 2020 at 11:44 pm

Every player outs up better numbers against inferior opposition and has more trouble against other great players! This is the epitome of... duh!

Charles Woodson struggled covering Calvin Johnson but could cover and put up better stats against the Allen Lazards of the NFL!

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Bure9620's picture

July 14, 2020 at 02:36 pm

This is probably true, is this due to snap counts? Clark plays ALOT, I am wondering if some of this is due to fatigue and no one really able to take those snaps, maybe Keke??

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Slim11's picture

July 13, 2020 at 06:30 am

At the moment, I believe Clark is the first priority followed closely by Bahktiari. This could change depending upon the performance of the 2020 defense should there be a 2020 season.

Part of what plays into this decision is the play of the ILBs. Kirksey is expected to be a solid starter on opening day. If Burks, Bolton or the other ILB performs well, it may be the measurement by which Clark's next contract value is determined. In 2019, much was demanded of Kenny Clark and, by most observations, he delivered.

The 2020 season will tell if Clark can perform in a like manner if called upon.

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splitpea1's picture

July 12, 2020 at 08:13 pm

No, it would not make sense to trade Clark; he's young, talented, durable, and just made his first Pro Bowl. Here's a guy we can build the front of our defense around--and we need to do some building, because all we have otherwise is a little rotational depth and a lot of question marks. Too many "perhaps", "maybes", and wishful thinking here. And I would trust the Packers' FO enough to find a decent replacement for Bakh so that Rodgers isn't a "sitting duck." As for Jones, it would be tough losing him, but once again, finding a cheaper option seems to be the best way to go--although replacing 19 TDs and over 1500 yards is easier said than done. We definitely need to get more contributions from the other offensive weapons so we're not so reliant on one player.

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taarons420's picture

July 12, 2020 at 08:32 pm

This is why they drafted Love.

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stockholder's picture

July 12, 2020 at 08:56 pm

So Lucky Rodgers doesn't File an unfair labor practice.

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Oppy's picture

July 12, 2020 at 08:55 pm

Kenny Clark will probably get top 5-10 type money, which would put him right around $15M yearly.

Donald broke the bank at $22.5M a year average, no doubt. But by the time you get the #3 highest paid interior linemen in the league, you're already down to a $17M/year average contract.

Top 5 through 10 contracts for interior linemen are all very consistent at about $15-$16 M apy.

I don't think Clark at this point of his career demands $20M+ per year, but I think in another three years his value will have skyrocketed.

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Packers0808's picture

July 12, 2020 at 09:05 pm

I hope they will find the bucks to keep all three! Only thing that really makes sense with the caliber of each!

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Oppy's picture

July 12, 2020 at 09:18 pm

In one breath, the author says "Surely" Kenny Clark will command a $20M+ contract ("and even that may not be enough"), but then goes on to suggest that the hole left behind might be able to be filled with our carousel of lack-luster talent at the position?

If Kenny Clark is a player you feel demands $20M+ on the open market next year, why would you think trading away that talent in 2020 for a crap-shoot draft pick would be the way to go? I would keep the known production and talent in 2020 and deal with the loss of Clark in 2021 if we can't come to terms, rather that sub-zero the entire interior of our D line in 2020 by trading a one-year contract for a "top pick" that may or may not produce a player worth his salt.

I love Kenny Clark, and have espoused that I think he's a special talent, but he's not Aaron Donald at this point, and I don't see him getting $20M+ in this next contract. That said, I hope the Packers keep him, and if the question is "Kenny Clark for one year then gone without compensation, or trade him immediately and get a high draft pick?" I would respond that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 13, 2020 at 05:57 pm

I don’t think it’s an either/ or scenario, Oppy

Going into camp, our defensive line is Clark (last year of rookie deal), Lowry on an economical second contract, Lancaster at minimum wage. They’re backed up by two rookie contract guys who haven’t really shown much. This is an inexpensive unit, it was inexpensive last year when we won 14 games. I think the plan is to keep it that way.......but I think we can improve the overall unit by drafting a replacement for Clark and using FA money to get a better player to rotate in with Lancaster. You could also look to trade or poach a practice squad guy to compete with Keke and Adams.

You could resign King for half. I think overall, we can put a stronger defense on the field. Clark is probably a top ten DL but I’d hope we could draft a guy who might be top 25.

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PhantomII's picture

July 13, 2020 at 09:45 pm

Yea, I have been thinking something similar. Clark is good but not 8-10 sacks 2 or 3 of which strip sacks and 10-12 TFL. He has a high QB pressure rate. With our 2 stud OLB's I don't know how they rate a DL type. I was hoping Keke makes a big step up. Alternately we could pay 2-above average DT's close to what Clarke will make and improve the DL and plug an extra leak on the line making our overall "D" better. Drafting a DT high in the draft could also work next year but who knows how college season unfolds or doesn't. A lot of unknowns these wacky days. I wish Clark had been taken care of a few years ago on the cheap. Hindsight is always 20/20. In the end we really don't know how good Clark can be because he hasn't had anyone around who was a force since Daniels left and Clark was a lot younger then and he has improved.

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Stroh's picture

July 15, 2020 at 12:34 am

You never get better letting a playmaker go. At the end of rd 1 your as likely to draft a complete bust as you are to get a good DL. Remember Daone Jones. Players like Clark not only make plays they make others better.

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Lphill's picture

July 12, 2020 at 09:43 pm

Runyon is Bak’s replacement he made 26 starts at left tackle , Clark is not a 20 million a year guy he probably turns down the Packers offer and signs elsewhere.

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NickPerry's picture

July 13, 2020 at 04:11 am

Runyan is a Guard in the NFL, maybe a RT but he's no LT in this league. I'd say Yosh Nijman has a better shot at being a LT than Runyan does. Nijman is and interesting player but is still at least a year away.

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taarons420's picture

July 13, 2020 at 07:05 am

why can't runyan be a left tackle?

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Jonathan Spader's picture

July 13, 2020 at 02:58 pm

Why couldn't Jason Spriggs?

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taarons420's picture

July 13, 2020 at 05:52 pm

Not talented enough.
But we don't know that about Runyan yet.
Could be the case... but seems a bit early to make statements like "...but he's no LT in this league" before he even finishes his first practice.

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flackcatcher's picture

July 14, 2020 at 01:14 pm

Spriggs has all the tools, but would lapse on technique and get beat. Not an uncommon problem for OL who get pounded on every play in game. That's why the good ones get those nice deals. Their ability to zone in and play with pain every snap is special.

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Turophile's picture

July 13, 2020 at 09:03 am

Yep, dump Kenny Clark and make the weakest unit on defense much weaker.............duh ! Spotrac suggests his value is $18m, not the Ken Lass suggested minimum of $20+m.

Much as I love watching Aaron Jones play RB, I'd lose him over KC every day of the week and twice on Sundays. The drafting of RB Dillon in round two, suggests the Packers think that way too.

Bakhtiari is a LT, one of the key positions on the team protecting the blindside of a right handed QB. He was the best pass-protecting LT in the league and is still one of the very best, so he is a keeper as well.

I'd rather see Corey Linsley (29 at the end of July, with a 2020 cap hit $10.5m) replaced with a cheaper alternative at the end of 2020, than lose Clark. Elgton Jenkins could slide to C. The two interior linemen drafted in 2020, along with existing players that can play guard, suggests to me the Packers might also think this way.

Looking at how the Packers played the 2020 draft gives us the clues to how they will manage the roster in the future. The conclusions drawn from it do not point to them parting ways with Kenny Clark. If they had drafted a DT instead of a RB, or had not taken a center and a guard with their 6th round picks, I might think otherwise, but as it stands, KC is a keeper.

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

July 13, 2020 at 06:26 am

I agree, Turophile. I see this year's draft as a peek into the plans of Gute. Release A Jones (sadly) because you've taken Dillon (who might become as big a weapon) and still have J Williams. Release Linsley as you've drafted Hanson (a year ago many thought he was the second-best center in the 2020 draft crop) AND have Patrick who was resigned and filled in well at center, AND have Jenkins as a third option. I think Runyon is looked at as a backup RT and RG, who can be "good enough" if Turner or Wagner gets injured/sick or falls off in quality of play.
KC is too valuable to the Packers right now to even consider trading. NONE of the other DL have even been AVERAGE. That's why Gute picked up Hester and Previlon; they're desperate for improvement on the DL.
Bakhtiari is the interesting one; they surely want to keep him, but even though his run-blocking has improved, the new run-first offense doesn't need an elite LOT the way it used to.

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PeteK's picture

July 13, 2020 at 04:24 pm

We probably will run more , but it will not be a run first offense. Bak definitely stays unless , god forbid, a serious injury.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

July 13, 2020 at 10:37 am

Which dominant DE/DT would the Packers have shot for? 2019 wasn't a great year for that position the way it was in 2018. Maybe the Packers have their eyes on a DE in 2020's draft. Still a lot of unknowns.

If we do shift into a running team could we part ways with Bahktiari and replace him with a younger road grater through the draft? 2020's draft should give us more clues into who stays and goes along with the performance of the players soon to be FAs.

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Turophile's picture

July 13, 2020 at 03:25 pm

Packers picked at #62 and #94. That means that Davon Hamilton (#73) and Neville Gallimore (#82) were available to be taken early (with their 62nd pick), or with a small trade down of that pick, or by moving up from the 94th pick. DL Madubuike was also available (at #71) but is not really a 1 tech, more a 3tech or a big DE (like Raekwon Davis who went at #56). Both Hamilton and Gallimore are pretty good players........... and you were not going to get a first round DT with the Packers zeroed in on their QB of the future.

While Green Bay might rely more on the run, while veteran Aaron Rodgers is on the team (I'm thinking another two years) you want Bakhtiari protecting him.........and it wouldn't hurt for Jordan Love to have a very experienced (and elite) LT, for his first year or two starting. A four year contract for Bakhtiari (including 2020) would make him just 32 at the end of it (birthday in September), which is not desperately old.

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Guam's picture

July 13, 2020 at 04:17 pm

Bakh will be 29 this season (September B-day) and his first year under new contract he would be 30. Assuming a four year deal for Bakh, it would run from 30-33 age wise for him.

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Turophile's picture

July 13, 2020 at 05:23 pm

Did you read what I said ?
"A four year contract for Bakhtiari (INCLUDING 2020) would make him just 32 at the end of it (birthday in September)."

He is 29 in September 2020, therefore four years including 2020 makes him 32 when the 2023 season ends.

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Guam's picture

July 14, 2020 at 07:17 am

I did read what you said T, but Bakh's new deal would likely start after his old deal expires. I doubt he and his agent would settle for what is essentially a three year new deal.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 14, 2020 at 02:52 am

That makes sense. The same logic suggests that Bakh is a keeper as well, though their cap situation might dictate otherwise.

GB passed on Josh Jones (70th) to take Dillon.
GB passed on Lucas Niang (96th) to take Deguara.

It is possible that Gute just didn't like Jones or Niang.

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Stroh's picture

July 16, 2020 at 12:02 am

I was big on Jones to the Packers at #30. He could become a great OT. The fact he played a prmium position and was available at the end of Rd1, just fit the Packers draft philosophy perfectly. Taking Love also fit their draft philosophy perfectly. QB being an even more premium position than OT made the choice for the Packers. But not considering Love would be available at 26. If Love was not available I was 100% convinced Jones would have been the pick at 30.

I was shocked they passed on him in the 2nd and he fellto 70.

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gkarl's picture

July 13, 2020 at 07:47 am

I think it would be wise if the FO waited until next off season to make any decisions on our pending FA. I doubt the NFL will play a full season, which will limit the SC and player evaluation. All teams will be fighting this problem and contract $$ may be well below current expectations because of it and you can still buy some time with the franchise tag if needed.

That said I also expect the FO to invest whatever $$ they have available in our young rising players first. Clark, Jones, King. The draft make me suspect the big changes will occur on the OL after this year.

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Guam's picture

July 13, 2020 at 08:09 am

I think the author is spot on in that the Packers will likely only be able to keep one of their "big three". I think the keeper will be Clarke. He is a young ascending talent whereas Bakhtiari will be on his third contract and likely a descending talent at least in the later stages of the contract. RB's are short lived and replaceable at lower cost than the bug guys so Jones will also go unless he is willing to accept a lesser contract (doubtful).

The Packers will have to draft an LT high next year to replace Bakh as I don't believe his replacement is currently on the roster unless Njiman develops unexpectedly, but it is either draft an LT or NT to replace Clarke so the impact on next year's draft is the same. Unfortunate choices, but it is life under a salary cap.

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PeteK's picture

July 13, 2020 at 08:14 am

Linsley , Taylor , and a host of underachievers will be gone. Performance of Jones and Dillon will determine RB scenario. That should afford us the ability to sign all of our high performing free agents. Remember Clark and Bak are already making 20 mill between them, so it's an increase of about 17 mill. Lurking in the shadows will be Kings performance/signing.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 13, 2020 at 08:35 am

Considering the changeover looming after 2021, I don’t see us committing big money to anybody. It has nothing to do with how good they are.

We’re changing the team. It makes little sense to tie up money on veteran deals. You can replace Clark with a high draft choice who might not be as good but will be $15 million a year cheaper so we can sign somebody else. Same with Bakhtiari. We already have Jones replacement on the roster.

We have a good team this year, but a lot of these guys aren’t going to be part of our future.

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gkarl's picture

July 13, 2020 at 10:45 am

I agree we may not be able able to keep all 3 of Clark, Bak and Jones. I also don't think the FO will pay top of market prices to any of our FA, but the ones the they decided to keep will be well compensated.

Granted the team is changing, but still trying to win now, to think we can replace proven players like the 3 mentioned with draft choices and expect anywhere near the same level of play is unlikely and IMHO a dangerous strategy. Like offense and defense there needs to be a balance in roster construction between vets and draft choices.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 13, 2020 at 02:00 pm

Well, Jones replacement is already on the roster. I’m not saying you can replace Clark with somebody as good, but you can use the $15 million you save each year to improve other areas. The net effect is a stronger team that’s a little weaker at DE.

For example, if you resign King and draft a DE, doesn’t that make the defense better overall? And you can probably sign King and Williams for less than it would take to keep Clark.

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gkarl's picture

July 13, 2020 at 03:33 pm

I thought you were advocating letting Bak, Clark and Jones all leave and replace them with draft choices. You can't let them all walk and expect to contend.

As far who you keep, only the FO know who they try and sign and when. My guess as of now are Clark, King and Jones sometime next off season, keep the young ascending players.

We can't sign everyone and Bak probably brings a 3rd round comp pick if he ends up the odd man out.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 13, 2020 at 03:48 pm

Well, Jones replacement is already on the roster. I’m not saying you can replace Clark with somebody as good, but you can use the $15 million you save each year to improve other areas. The net effect is a stronger team that’s a little weaker at DE.

For example, if you resign King and draft a decent DE, doesn’t that make the defense better overall? And you can probably sign King and Williams for less than it would take to keep Clark.

The organization has repeatedly stated that the priority on defense is pass defense, and they’ve backed that up with draft picks and FA $$. The defensive line? Not so much. And, as I’ve mentioned, with all this uncertainty I wouldn’t be looking to tie up a lot of money because we might want to use in 2022 to either put a team around Love or make one final run with Rodgers.

And that’s part of why I sing King as more likely than Clark and I think Bakhtiari, Linsley, and Jones are in their final seasons with the Packers.

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PatrickGB's picture

July 13, 2020 at 10:39 am

I see the offense changing but not the defense. I would not be surprised if the team let Bakhtiari go and probably Jones as well. Lindsay and Turner gone is another possibility. That frees up money for Clark and maybe King. The new offense will not be MM’s and Rodgers holding on to the ball for 10 seconds will not be in the playbook. Short quick passes and runs will be the norm.

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taarons420's picture

July 13, 2020 at 06:05 pm

After this season...
Linsley - gone
Taylor - gone
M. Lewis - gone
Williams - gone
King - gone
M. Adams - gone
Burks - gone
Turner - gone

That's a lot of coin coming off the books.

Bakhtiari, Clark, and Jones will all be back.

Also - if Gary pans out, Preston Smith might be a cut candidate.
Wouldn't love that, but if it meant being able to keep those 3 - count me in.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 14, 2020 at 03:26 am

Linsley: $0 cap savings.
Taylor: $0 cap savings.
Lewis: $0 cap savings.
JWill: $0 cap savings.
King: $0 cap savings.
Burks: $945K savings
Turner: $3.55M savings.
Total: $4.495M

P. Smith: $8M cap savings.
D. Lowry: $3.55M cap savings.
A. Amos: $4.55M cap savings. Seems unlikely, but....

I am thinking GB will have $16.457M to $24.257M in cap space (assumes a cap limit of $198.2M or $206M for 2021). Probably hope to spend $9M on RFA tenders to Sullivan, Greene, and Lancaster, probably no or low tenders to Tonyan, Redmond, Light, and Boyle. It is early days yet on what GB's cap space might look like in 2021.

Hanson unseating Linsley this year would be nice. GB didn't really draft anyone who figures to provide cap relief for 2021. Even Dillon at $1.2M in 2021 doesn't save much (~$900K) over Aaron Jones' current cap number.

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dobber's picture

July 14, 2020 at 10:22 am

It could be that Gary eventually grows into a role like that Preston Smith plays, but Smith has more off-ball responsibilities that Gary ever had in college or last year. Never say never, but I think Gary making P. Smith expendable isn't very likely in this current defense.

Most of what we're talking about here is based on a very competitive Packers team. I think the timber of the argument changes dramatically if the Packers suffer serious regression and roll out an 8-8 or 9-7 season.

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flackcatcher's picture

July 14, 2020 at 01:44 pm

(sigh) Too many x-factors right now to understand the Packers long term plans. But this was a depth draft short term, mostly on the offensive side and zoning in on the offensive line. Outside of ILB and some depth issues on the DL, this defense was set for the upcoming season. With or without a season this year, this Packer team would be seeing some fairly big moves on their roster. Age and salary alone would force the front office to make those moves. The only question was when, not if the team made those moves. Father Time and Cap Man waits for no one...

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Oppy's picture

July 13, 2020 at 08:48 pm

Imagine how boring this conversation would be if we weren't paying Aaron Rodgers team-crippling money for good-but-not elite play, and we could just sign all these young, ascending players without breaking a sweat.

That'd just be horrible. being able to build a granite foundation for the next 5-10 years, and still have money to burn.. especially when we have the blueprint and the makings for a ground-dominant offense that takes the pressure of of needing to win purely on the arm of the QB.

Man, I'm glad we don't have that problem.

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scullyitsme's picture

July 14, 2020 at 11:13 am

Honestly if you believed in your talent evaluation you wouldn’t pay anyone over 15 mil except QB1. Bak and Clark are great but 20 mil? The patriot way is to sign 3 -4 solid players for that and move on from both. Works for them.

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Gravedigger93's picture

July 14, 2020 at 12:34 pm

But let's remember, they cheat.

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