A Look at Kenny Clark's Contract Situation

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. The Packers need to pay 24-year-old defensive tackle Kenny Clark, and there is no better time than the present with the team re-focusing during the bye week.

This season, Clark has battled numerous injuries, and it’s hurt his production. Currently, his numbers are a little behind what we are accustomed to, totaling 34 tackles, only one for a loss, 1.5 sacks, and three quarterback hits. The month of October was especially quiet for Clark after recording just nine tackles, zero sacks, and zero QB hits in four games. In September, his numbers were far better with 17 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two QB hits in an equal amount of games. Again, injuries have played a large part.

Clark has been on the injury report with ankle, calf, knee, back, and shin ailments. However, he hasn’t missed a single game. Availability is a large reason why he is so valuable. Clark is even on a pace to play a career-high percentage of snaps this season.

So, if injuries have held Clark back in 2019, what does that mean for his next contract? Clark’s decline in production may give the Packers some leverage but not much. He’s still playing at a very high level, and his value has never been higher with Mike Daniels no longer around. For the most part, he’s been a solo act in making his presence felt consistently along the interior of the defensive line.

In week 10 against the Panthers, Clark posted a career-high 10 pressures on the quarterback for a single game. That just goes to show that numbers can be misleading for a defensive tackle when they can impact the game in ways that don’t show up in the box score.

We know general manager Brian Gutekunst is on record saying the team wants him back on a long-term deal. In July, Gutekunst called Clark a “dominant player” before saying the Packers would like to get a deal done at some point. When Clark responded, he said he was confident something would happen, he just didn’t know when.

So, what’s the hold-up? Perhaps Green Bay learned something from the deal they gave Daniels. In 2015, he was signed to a deal over four years worth $42 million, making Daniels one of the highest-paid players at his position. He followed it up with solid seasons in 2016 and 2017, even earning his one and only Pro-Bowl in 2017 after logging 49 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, and five sacks. However, injuries led to a shortened season for Daniels’ in 2018 and then his release before the 2019 season.

Clark may even want to wait on the new deal until the end of the season. As he returns to form, it’s not hard to imagine his production skyrocketing over the final six games. However, that could also motivate Gutekunst to get things finalized sooner.

Overall, it’s a risky contract to a position that isn’t all that glamorous but extremely important at the same time. As far as what the details will be, you can find a ballpark answer looking around the NFL. The Falcons handed 26-year-old Grady Jarrett a four-year $68 million extension this offseason.

Clark and Jarrett are on similar tiers among defensive tackles, so go ahead and pencil Clark in for a deal extending four to five years in the $70 to $80 million range. Get it done, Gute.

 

 

 

Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

NFL Categories: 
4 points

Comments (10)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
packerbackerjim's picture

November 15, 2019 at 02:43 pm

Clark is deserving of an extension because he is productive, a great teammate and a good citizen. Going off topic, I’m wondering if Eliot Wolf, Alonzo Highsmith, et al, are happy to be in Cleveland today. What a shitshow.

+ REPLY
3 points
4
1
BoCallahan's picture

November 15, 2019 at 03:29 pm

I remember Nagler getting a question during the preseason. He was asked, “Who do you think will have a better season, GB or Cleveland?” His answer was, “Ask me again after the preseason.”
Cleveland was expected to be a contender and no one really knew what to expect from GB. It’s been an enjoyable ride so far!

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Houndog's picture

November 16, 2019 at 08:04 am

Jim,
I agree Clark needs to be retained for many reasons, but I'm not sure the second part of you post is really relevant.
At the time Wolf and Highsmith chose to leave for Cleveland the shitshow appeared to be in GB.
Murphy had finally crawled from his cave to re-structure the entire organization (with his power-grabbing move) and no one knew exactly how this would work. I for one will never believe this happened without the Executive Committee giving Murphy some form of ultimatum. Now it's his a$$ on the chopping block if it doesn't work and it should be, he stood by and did nothing as TT and MM ruined the Packers!
As for the Browns, I remember Ron Wolf firing Ray Rhodes after only one year as HC, it wouldn't surprise me to see something similar in Cleveland.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
packerbackerjim's picture

November 16, 2019 at 01:00 pm

Yeah, I’m not blaming them for leaving, just wondering how they’re viewing the situation in which they find themselves.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
stockholder's picture

November 15, 2019 at 03:53 pm

It's not a question of comparisons. The DL sucks without him. Sign him, Franchise him, Just get it done. Kenny Clarke knows how to play football. Thats the difference.

+ REPLY
5 points
5
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 15, 2019 at 04:24 pm

I suppose. Grady Jarrett had 29 QB hits and 23 TFL in the two seasons prior to getting his big contract, and had grades of 85.7 and 90. Clark had 15 and 14 total for 2017 and 2018, but has just 1 TFL and 3 QB hits in 2019. Clark did have grades of 87 and 90, but is down to a 75 this year. His grade jumped 8 points after playing Carolina, and it had been in the 67/68 range for some time.

Clarks good games correlate strongly with facing weak opposing centers and vice-versa. Per reports Clark is the most double-teamed player in the NFL. That has to be largely because he is really good, but also because there is no need to double Lowry or Lancaster, and teams barely have to single block Adams.

Yes, pay Clark. Remember that Jarrett was franchised at over $15M for 2019. That's guaranteed money. Clark has 6 games in 2019 and 16 more in 2020 at $7.69M (fifth-year option). Grady was in a much better negotiating posture than Clark is now or will be in 2020.

Jarrett is a 4-3 DT. So is Fletcher Cox. Aaron Donald is a 3-4 DE. Clark is a NT, or a 3-4 DT, and the highest paid NT or 3-4 DT is Damon Harrison at $11.25M AAV signed in 2018 followed by Goldman at $10.5M AAV.

Yes, pay Clark, but not as much as Jarrett got. Really, millions less per year should be the figure. At $14M AAV, he'd be the highest-paid NT or 3-4 DT by a considerable amount. Maybe $15M AAV if GB waits until the offseason.

+ REPLY
9 points
9
0
scullyitsme's picture

November 15, 2019 at 05:19 pm

Agree completely. Well done.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
PatrickGB's picture

November 15, 2019 at 05:10 pm

Yes, and get it out of the way. We have a bunch of guys that we can wait on for next year.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Sol's picture

November 15, 2019 at 08:33 pm

Kenny is entering the prime of his carrier and is a clean cut player with no off field issues. He needs to get paid and get a running mate that can take some of the double teams. Nose Tackle is a tough business and most good guys don't last for a third contract because of the physicality of the position. I liked it when our GM said he will leave no stone unturned when putting together a winning roster.

Go Pack

+ REPLY
5 points
5
0
sam1's picture

November 16, 2019 at 03:35 pm

Pay the man, no one on the D deserves it more at this point!

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.