Packers have two fifth-year option decisions to make

Green Bay Packers, Rashan Gary (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Rashan Gary (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

The Packers have two fifth-year option decisions to make this offseason.

It’s going to be a busy offseason for the Green Bay Packers, who must decide whether to go all-in or rebuild. Whether to trade Aaron Rodgers or try to convince him to stay.

Whether to re-sign Davante Adams and De’Vondre Campbell or attempt to replace them.

Two more decisions can be added to that, the fifth-year options of Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage.

Both players were first-round picks by the Packers in 2019. Entering their fourth season with Green Bay in 2022, it’s time for the team to commit (or not) to a fifth-year option. Declining the option would mean the player becomes a free agent in 2023.

Rashan Gary

This should be an easy decision for GM Brian Gutekunst.

According to Over The Cap’s projections, the fifth-year option for Rashan Gary will cost the Packers $10.55 million. Gutekunst absolutely must exercise the fifth-year option for the former 12th overall pick.

Gary had two years to sit behind the Smith Bros. and develop. He showed flashes of potential. In 2021, the Packers needed him to take the next step with Za’Darius Smith injured. And he did. In a big way.

According to Pro Football Reference, Gary had 9.5 sacks, 28 quarterback hits, and 47 pressures in the regular season. He was dominant throughout the year and has become the Packers’ top pass rusher.

Like last season, Gary saved his best football for the playoffs. Against the San Francisco 49ers, he made play after play with two sacks, three quarterback hits, and three tackles for loss. A phenomenal performance from the Packers’ new star pass rusher.

Darnell Savage

This one isn’t as easy a decision. In his first three seasons, Savage has had moments where he’s looked like an All-Pro. Unfortunately, especially this year, those moments have been few and far between.

Savage struggled in coverage. According to Pro Football Reference, he allowed 496 receiving yards, eight touchdowns, and a passer rating of 117.4 in his coverage in 2021, the worst in his career in each category by a long way.

Spotrac projects the fifth-year option for Savage would cost the Packers $7.92 million. Assuming they exercise Gary’s option, financially it could be more difficult to also exercise Savage’s fifth-year option.

In this scenario, the Packers might be better off declining the option, allowing Savage the final year of his rookie deal to get back to his best and land a long-term extension in 2023.