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Cory's Corner: Five Packers Who Will Outplay Contracts

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Cory's Corner: Five Packers Who Will Outplay Contracts

The Packers have been a team that has been synonymous with value for a long time. 

The way for Green Bay to make up for that is by having players that perform above their current deals.

Here are the five Packers players that will outplay their contracts in 2018:

1. Kenny Clark, $2.553 million. Clark led the Packers in quarterback hurries last year with 22. That’s pretty good for a defensive lineman. Clark is on the doorstep of greatness and he is the main reason why new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is opting to generate a pass rush from the interior vs. the exterior. Clark turns 23 in October and will become a free agent in 2021. Clark needs the next two years to prove he not only deserves a large contract but to also prove that he can be the face of the defense and still succeed. 


2. Kevin King, $1.609 million. King is a tough one because so much has been left to the unknown. He was placed on the season-ending injured reserve with a nagging shoulder injury in December. Even though King played in nine games and started in five last year you could still make the argument that we haven’t seen his best as a cover corner. He’s 23 and will become a free agent in 2021. Motivation is a fickle thing and the Packers drafted two cornerbacks with their top two selections this year. King knows that the pressure is on him and the lanky corner will deliver. 


3. Josh Jackson, $1.137 million. Jackson is the only rookie on this list but won’t play like it in his first year as a pro. In his first year starting at Iowa last year, he led the nation with eight picks and 26 passes defended. Jackson fell to the second round because of his supposed lack of speed but that never materialized during OTAs or minicamp. Jackson was the best corner in the nation last year for a reason and the Packers got him for a big bargain. The 22-year-old can be a cornerstone corner for the Packers and it all starts with him raising eyebrows this season. 


4. Jamaal Williams, $696,498. Williams led the Packers with 350 yards after contact last year. He only had three dropped passes, with a catch rate over 75 percent. Williams is an interesting versatile back that is perfect for a passing league. Most importantly, in 153 rushing attempts, Williams didn’t have a single fumble. The 23-year-old will become a free agent in 2021 and is poised to become a focal point of the offense.


5. Aaron Jones, $685,484. Jones racked up 2.9 yards after contact per attempt and also amassed 13 missed tackles last year. He proved that he can be called on to be an old-school bellcow by tallying 15-or-more carries twice — and he backed it up with over 120 yards rushing in both games. Jones has excellent vision and solid cutting which will make him an important cog of any offense. And now he doubled down on himself by getting noticeably stronger in the offseason. The 23-year-old will become a free agent in 2021. Jones has the ability to make defenses look silly with his slalom-style cuts but he doesn’t mind lowering his head to move the pile. 




Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He is also nearing completion of a master's degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (22) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nick Perry's picture

Interesting Cory...Putting King on the list after only playing in 9 games and Jackson without playing a single game. Still think Jackson will be considered the steal of the 2018 draft when we look back in 3 or 4 years.

Clark is really a no-brainer... That kid is a stud!

Williams and Jones will definitely out-perform or outplay their contracts. The production the Packers offense will get from these two for 4th and 5th round money for the next 3 years will represent a HUGE value to the offense.

zeke's picture

Would substitute Rodgers for Jackson/King at this point.

mamasboy's picture

Jackson is only making 1.137 Million. Any one in the league could out play that. So he was right about him, too.

RCPackerFan's picture

Overall a good list. Its hard to include rookies without seeing them play, but this time of year, its perfect for these types of lists.

I mean any of the rookie WR's could easily outplay their contracts. The guy who impressed a quite a few early was St. Brown. Could he become the next Antonio Brown? The 6th rounder who outplays his draft position?
How about the rookie OL Cole Madison. Perhaps he is the next Bakhtiari/Sitton/Lang/Linsley who are mid round picks but start early and never let the position go.
The other rookie that won't get much love but could easily outplay his rookie deal is JK Scott. If he is as good as advertised he could truly become a weapon for the Packers.

As for players that have been around, I would add Blake Martinez. Drafted in the same draft as Clark, Martinez was a tackling machine last year.

How about a few more guys to watch.
Vince Biegel. He didn't get to show what he could do due to getting injured something like 45 minutes into his first practice. But he could play a huge role and could be the guy we had hoped for.

Much like Biegel, Montravius Adams also injured never really got a chance to prove his value. While this year he may not get nearly as much playing time do to the 3 guys ahead of him, he could be a valuable rotation guy and could be a future starter.

Savage57's picture

Imagine Matthews and Cobb outplaying their contract.

Mind. Blown.

RCPackerFan's picture

How do you define them outplaying their contract?

Is it simply stat driven? If so what are the numbers they must achieve to consider it earned?

And if that is the case that its about stats then Mathews should be persecuted for willingly moving to ILB because his stats severely suffered from it.

hodge555's picture

It's a big assumption I know but sticking with the feel good factor of a potentially great draft then GBP have the makings of a really solid roster.

In addition to that there are very few postitions that are due to bite us with pending FA and their huge contracts in the next few years.
By this I mean that we have the following:
QB's: AR12 of course and likely Kizer as backup who is not FA until 2021.
RB's: Williams, Jones & Mays not FA until 2021, only need to worry about Ty who is FA next year.
FB's: Rip is FA next year but this is not a high cost postion.
WR's: Devante, MVS, Moore & ESB aren't FA until 2022. Even Davis isn't FA until 2020. Cobb of course is FA next year but if renewed I don't see him commanding anything like the contract he has now.
TE's: A bit thin here after Graham (FA in 2021) next year it has to be said.
OL: Bahktiari, Linsley & Taylor aren't FA until 2021. Bulaga, Spriggs & Murphy aren't until 2020. Madision isn't until 2022.
DL: Clark & Adams aren't due until 2021, Daniels & Lowry not until 2020. Looney not until 2022. Wilkerson of course is only on the 1 yr deal.
LB's: Perry & Burks (& Donnerson if he makes the team) aren't due until 2022, Biegel is 2021 and Martinez & Fackrell are 2020. The obvious ones to watch are Ryan and Matthews who are on their last year. I'm not sure about Ryan being worth lots of money and Matthews won't command the sort of contract he's on now.
CB's: Jaire has until 2023, Josh until 2022, King until 2021. Even Williams is on a 2yr deal.
Saftey: This is a bit thin with just Jones until 2021. Dix is in his last year and so is Rollins (assuming he moves to saftey).
ST's: Punter and Long Snapper hopefully sorted until 2022 and Crosby isn't due until 2020.

cap'n kirk's picture

1) Aaron Rodgers
2) Kenny Clark
3) Blake Martinez
4) Aaron Jones
5) Justin McCray

Crackerpacker's picture

Assuming he gets his new contract before training camp, I hope you're right about Rodgers being the number one player outplaying his contract. What do you think he would have to do to achieve that. 60 td's, 6,000 yards passing, nfl mvp and superbowl mvp. Where do i sign up for that.

4thand1's picture

Josh Jackson doesn't have a chip on his shoulder, he has a log. He will be the steal of this draft, I believe the Packers got a difference maker on D that they sorely needed. TW is helping these young guys immensely.

Archie's picture

Maybe so but he did not move like a top draft pick at the NFL Combine. I crossed him off my list that day but maybe he's a guy that can play well w/o great athleticism.

Coldworld's picture

Hoping Spriggs can surprise us. Tackles often take time. Like Ryan, not expensive so as long as he fills a role decently, one could argue cost effective. Draft position is a separate discussion.

cap'n kirk's picture

1) Clay
2) Perry
3) Cobb
4) Bulaga
5) Hundley

Chuck Farley's picture

Pack fans better hope king can get through pre season without shoulder issues. Knock on wood but I wouldn't put any faith in a guy who already has seen three major shoulder issues since his frosh year. Could be another bust in the making for Ted t.

GBPDAN1's picture

I hope you're wrong Chuck. But, I fear you are on to something as the Packers draft 2 CBs early. I know we needed one, but maybe 2 was an insurance policy because of Kings shoulder ?

Nick Perry's picture

I honestly believe Gutekunst didn't go into the draft thinking he'd take 2 CB's in the first 2 rounds this year yet again. When Jackson was sitting there he represented to much value and really was the BPA at 45.

King's injury history is worrisome, I'm with you there. The BPA, #1 rated CB for some, Gute couldn't pass on Jackson.

GBPDAN1's picture

You're right, the value was to good to pass regarding Jackson. So, let's hope Kings shoulder issues are behind him and he develops into a top CB. An NFL team can't have to many good CBs and we have a great chance of having 3 young ones to go along with Williams.

Nick Perry's picture

That's exactly what I'm hoping for GBP... I'm hoping for Kings shoulder issues to finally be behind him and he starts to show he can be a #1 shutdown CB. God...Can you imagine if all 3 of these guys pan out and produce this year? Add in Williams with a deadly pass rush up the middle and Perry and Matthews on the edges and this D takes BIG steps forward. The Packers are just DUE. It starts this year with the D no longer being the "Little Brother" to the O.

snowdog's picture

Nor will anybody else . He's a steal

Archie's picture

And as to the least return per dollar paid list, I'd say the following:

1 - HHCD - last year in GB for good reason
2 - R Cobb - very ordinary
3 - B Bulaga - may get cut
4 - J Graham - is anyone buying that all these high-risk medical treatments he has taken this off-season will return him to his pre-SEA form? NOR should know best & they said too much risk for them.

Some will wonder why Matthews & Perry aren't on this list. Both can still play well when healthy. But both are so high paid, they probably fit at 5 & 6. Of these 6, it is possible only Perry returns in 2019.

hodge555's picture

Perry has too much dead cap until after 2019 so I think he's a keeper.
CMIII will need to take a pay cut to stay after this year as I don't see him getting $10+m anymore. He'll be 33 in 2019 so perhaps something like a 2yr $10m extension if he has a good ish season.
Next year is also supposedly a good draft year for edge rushers and we have 2 first round picks to play with, thus there likely will be additional competition for roster places after that draft.

LambeauPlain's picture

Packers who ARE out performing their contracts to date:

1. Gute
2. Pettine

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