Perhaps one of the NFL's most underrated talents along the defensive line, the Green Bay Packers' Kenny Clark is getting some deserved recognition by way of a raise.
Clark is signing a four-year extension for $70 million that includes a $25 million signing bonus with $37 million paid over the first two years, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Saturday morning. The team later confirmed the extension. Clark's new deal makes him the highest-paid nose tackle in league history.
"It's a blessing man. Feels good," Clark told reporters Saturday. "Honestly, I don't even know what to say. I'm just excited to be a Packer for the long haul."
Heading into the final year of his rookie contract, Clark was due $7.69 million and could have made less if games were lost due to COVID-19, but now he will receive at least $25 million with the entire signing bonus set to be paid out within five months, Pelissero reported.
Now, Clark is the fourth-highest-paid interior defensive lineman in the league in terms of average annual value ($17.5 million) and the second-highest Packer behind quarterback Aaron Rodgers on a per-year basis, per NFL Research.
Coming off his first Pro Bowl season, Clark has been producing for the Pack for quite some time as he's been the starting centerpiece for Green Bay's defense over the previous three campaigns, showcasing a balanced game able to contribute mightily in the pass rush and against the run while maintaining a full-speed motor.
Clark set or matched career-highs with 62 tackles, nine tackles for loss and six sacks in 2019 as the Packers' defense spearheaded a resurgence for Green Bay that culminated with an about-face from missing the playoffs in 2018 to winning the NFC North and advancing to the NFC Championship Game in 2019.
Allowing just 19.6 points per game last season, Green Bay was the No. 9 defense in that respect. Stunning improvement came with the aid of additions such as defensive end Za'Darius Smith, linebacker Preston Smith and safeties Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage. It was Clark who was a stellar presence prior to the turnaround and a focal point during it, however. Going forward, the Packers have made it clear just how vital a presence they view Clark to be for their defense and the franchise as a whole.