GREEN BAY, Wis. – The San Francisco 49ers traded defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick, with the Colts quickly signing Buckner to a contract extension worth a reported $21 million per season.
That means it wasn’t only a good day for Buckner but for Green Bay Packers standout Kenny Clark.
Buckner and Clark were first-round picks in 2016, with Buckner being the seventh pick of the draft and Clark the 27th. Both players were set to play the 2020 season under their fifth-year option. Buckner’s contract extension sheds some light on Clark’s future deal. That future deal isn’t coming anytime soon, though. A source said that won’t be coming until after free agency.
Time is not of the essence. Clark’s option is worth $7.69 million for 2020. However, an extension could have lessened Clark’s 2020 cap hit and provided a bit more cap space for general manager Brian Gutekunst to shop in free agency.
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Clark positioned himself for a massive payday. He finished second on the team with 89 tackles. Having played 869 snaps, that equates to 9.76 snaps per tackle. He had a team-high 11 stuffs (a tackle at or behind the line of scrimmage vs. the run), up from eight last year. His average tackle limited the gain to 1.8 yards, according to Sports Info Solutions, by far the best on the team.
Clark matched his career high with six sacks. Among the 82 defensive linemen who rushed the passer at least 200 times, Clark finished sixth in PFF’s pass-rushing productivity. His 62 total pressures trailed only Aaron Donald’s 80 and were only 15 less than Clark posted the last two years combined. Among the 63 defensive linemen who played at least 200 snaps of run defense, Clark finished seven in PFF’s run-stop percentage. That made Clark the only interior defensive lineman in the NFL to finish in the top 16 in both of those PFF metrics.