While short-term changes to the Packers’ roster could be coming in the next two days, a cornerstone of their defense is set to remain in place for the foreseeable future. Edge rusher Rashan Gary announced on Monday that he has signed a four-year, $96MM extension.
The deal comes as Gary is playing out his fifth-year option to finish off his rookie contract. Taking into account his 2023 salary of $10.89MM, the extension will pay out a total of $107.5MM to the former first-rounder and keep him on the books through 2027. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports the contract includes a signing bonus of $34.64MM.
Gary had a slow start to his career with only seven sacks across his first two seasons in the league. The Michigan alum took on a full-time starting role in 2021, however, and his increased workload produced an uptick in his statistical impact. Gary registered 9.5 sacks that year, leading to the Packers’ decision to exercise his option and expectations of a strong follow-up campaign.
However, an ACL tear limited him the 25-year-old to nine games in 2022. Despite showing continued effectiveness prior to the injury, it threatened to hinder Gary’s market for a new deal pending his recovery process. He rehabbed in time to suit up for Week 1, though, and he has yet to miss a contest in 2023. Gary made it clear last month he was open to negotiating a new long-term pact, and efforts on that front have now cemented his status as a key member of Green Bay’s core moving forward.
The $24MM AAV of the extension places Gary fifth in the NFL amongst edge rushers in that department. Nick Bosa‘s historic 49ers deal has set a new high mark at the position, and today’s agreement makes Gary the 10th pass rusher to eclipse the $20MM-per-year mark. He will now sit atop the pecking order (just ahead of left tackle David Bakhtiari and cornerback Jaire Alexander) as Green Bay’s highest-paid player.
Gary has recorded 4.5 of the Packers’ 19 sacks this season, giving him the team lead. Fellow starter Preston Smith has been floated as a trade candidate in the build-up to tomorrow’s deadline, with Gary’s extension on the horizon and first-round rookie Lukas Van Ness in place for years to come. While Smith’s future in Green Bay is yet to be determined, Gary’s is now taken care of for the foreseeable future.