Packers should pick up Kenny Clark’s fifth-year option

Green Bay Packers, Kenny Clark (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Kenny Clark (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers should exercise Kenny Clark’s fifth-year option this offseason.

Kenny Clark has quickly become one of the Packers‘ most important players on defense, and he continues to improve each year.

This offseason the Packers will decide whether to pick up his fifth-year option. There’s still plenty of time as they don’t have to make their decision until May 3.

But it should be an easy one for general manager Brian Gutekunst. Clark is just 23 years old, is getting better and better and has become a star player on the Packers’ defensive line. It’s only a matter of time before Clark becomes a Pro Bowler. He was named an alternate this season.

Clark finished the season on injured reserve and missed three games, but before then he had already set a career-high in sacks with six. Clark, who was Green Bay’s first-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, ranked ninth among interior defenders by Pro Football Focus in 2018.

By exercising the fifth-year option, Clark would remain under contract in Green Bay for the next two seasons and would become a free agent following the 2020 season. If Gutekunst opts not to pick up the option, Clark would hit free agency next offseason.

For this team to take the next step, both the offense and defense will need to improve. But the defense has a lot of young talent.

Jaire Alexander put together an impressive rookie season and was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team. Kyler Fackrell surprised just about everyone with a team-leading 10.5 sacks this season.

Clark, too, is a player to build around on defense. He’ll turn 24 during the 2019 season, and the hope is he’ll remain a Packers player for many years to come.

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The Packers will need to give Clark a big contract in the near future, which will be well deserved, but for now, they should exercise the fifth-year option.