The Green Bay Packers haven’t been known for making splash free agent signings over the years. Every once in a while they’ll bring in a veteran free agent (Sammy Watkins, Rasul Douglas, Jarran Reed, etc..), however, rarely is it a top market signing.
What the Packers are known for is their commitment to re-signing their own players. Kenny Clark, Jaire Alexander, Aaron Jones, Rashan Gary, and David Bakhtiari have all stayed in Green Bay due to the massive contracts the Packers agreed to. There is one contract that was recently agreed to though, that is already coming off as a major steal.
The Green Bay Packers Got A Steal With Their Rashan Gary Contract
of Acme Packing Company laid out how Gary’s contract is so beneficial for the team:
Before Sweat ever played a down for Chicago, the team awarded him with a four-year, $98 million contract that gives him an average salary of $24.5 million per year in new money — just north of what Rashan Gary received in his extension with the Green Bay Packers.
Over the first three years of their new deals, Gary will receive $65.5 million compared to Sweat’s $63.1 million — which means it’s not “funny money,” either.
With that in mind, let’s compare the two players. Personally, I don’t think that Sweat is in the same tier as Gary as an edge defender, but let’s check some third-party sources to make sure I’m not being biased. In the summer, Pro Football Focus dropped their edge rusher rankings, which listed Gary, coming off a since healed ACL tear, as their eighth overall player at the position while they slotted in Sweat as a “Tier 3” player. Here’s what they had to say about Gary:
Gary missed time last season, but over the past two years, he ranks sixth in pass-rush grade (90.2), fourth in pass-rush win percentage (19.7%) and second in pass-rush productivity.
If you want a more recent set of rankings, Pro Football Network ranked Montez Sweat as the 26th edge defender just last week. For perspective, according to Spotrac, the only edge defenders set to make more per season than Sweat on their current deals are Nick Bosa, T.J. Watt, Joey Bosa and Myles Garrett, the best every-down players in the league at the position — outside of maybe Las Vegas’ Maxx Crosby. Yikes.
The Packers Have Played The Long Game For Gary’s Entire Career
The Packers selected Gary is the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft (12th overall). Gary would go on to start a grand total of four games over his first two seasons. The Packers drafted Gary with the intention to develop him an elite edge rusher, and that is exactly what happened.
With Gary coming off a torn ACL in 2022, they have eased him back in 2023. A little more than nine months after the injury and almost seven months after he took his first steps following surgery, Gary returned to action at Packers training camp. He has started four of the Packers’ eight games so far this year and has clearly been on a pitch count for much of the season.
Their contract commitment to Gary proves they believe he will be a cornerstone player for this defense for years to come.
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