As the Green Bay Packers prepare for their 2023 season opener against the Chicago Bears this weekend, there is one order of business that remains from their offseason to-do list. The team has yet to work out a long-term extension with star pass rusher, Rashan Gary.
Gary is set to play out the fifth-year option on his rookie contract before hitting the open market in 2024. That is something that the Packers would likely avoid happening, as a pass rusher of Gary’s caliber fielding offers from teams around the league would drive his price up exponentially.
Many experts are predicting that the Michigan product will land a nine-figure contract, as Spotract believes he will get a four-year, $104.2 million deal. That is a lot of money to commit to a player, which is why the Packers are taking their time.
Coming off of an ACL tear suffered in Week 9 last season, Green Bay wants to see how Gary looks before committing to him long-term. While most players would want a contract situation resolved before the season, Gary and his representation are okay waiting.
Matt Schneidman of The Athletic spoke to his agent, Ian Clarke if they are willing to negotiate into the regular season should no deal be reached before Sunday. Clarke’s answer will surprise some people.
“Our plan is to operate professionally and remain open to reasonable contract offers in every phase of his career,” Clarke said in response to Schneidman’s question.
There is certainly risk in that approach, as Gary is returning from a serious knee injury. If he shows any signs of not being the same, it could lower the offer the Packers present to him. Also, a big game of chicken is going on around the league.
Gary isn’t the only young pass rusher looking to cash in. Brian Burns of the Carolina Panthers is seeking a new deal, as they are next in line after Nick Bosa and the San Francisco 49ers agreed to a record-setting mega contract.
Burns and Gary aren’t going to top the deal that Bosa got, but both could certainly break the $100 million threshold. The Packers and Panthers could be waiting to see what the other does to set a benchmark to work off of.
Alas, there is one big difference between their situations. Gary will be on the field for the Packers this weekend, proving he is healthy. There are concerns Burns may hold out until a contract extension is finalized.