Packers Extend Dean Lowry's Contract
Reliable defensive lineman Dean Lowry earned a contract extension with the Packers, the team announced days before training camp begins. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported the deal is for three years and just over $20 million.
The fourth-year player out of Northwestern was set to double his career earnings in 2019 with a base salary of just over $2 million. He joined the Packers as a fourth-round pick in 2016, and has been able to play in every game across his first three seasons (as a rookie, he was a healthy inactive player for one game). Week 1 will mark his 50th game with the team.
What Dean Lowry brings to the Packers
The defensive lineman fell to Green Bay in the fourth round of the draft for two reasons. First, while his combination of height, weight, and speed compare favorably with players taken in the top 40 picks, his 31” arms place him in the second percentile of all defensive linemen. (Percentiles can be a confusing – in this case, to be in the second percentile means 98 percent of defensive linemen tested have longer arms.)
His consistent improvement in each of his first three seasons is commendable, too. He’s had two position coaches and two defensive coordinators in his first three seasons, and will now play under his second head coach in 2019. Throughout the change, Lowry has worked to hone his craft and continued to set new career highs each season.
Lowry’s versatility made him a nice fit in Mike Pettine’s defensive scheme last season. While his arms may be short, his 6-6 frame has helped him knock down passes at the line of scrimmage. It showed, as the lineman set career-highs in tackles, solo tackles, sacks, and forced his first career fumble.
The defensive line is Green Bay’s best defensive position group heading into training camp this season, and keeping Lowry under contract ensures the Packers can continue to increase their reputation as a defense worth worrying about.
What the extension means for the Packers
Lowry is the first of four players from Green Bay’s 2016 draft class to sign an extension with the team. While much has been made over the team’s failings in the 2015 draft, the following year brought the Packers four contributors: defensive tackle Kenny Clark in the first round, outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell in the third round, and inside linebacker Blake Martinez and Lowry in the fourth round.
Between expiring contracts and raises for existing players, the Packers stand to gain just $9 million in salary cap relief next offseason. While major contracts like Bryan Bulaga, Mike Daniels, Tramon Williams will come off their books, Green Bay’s splurge in free agency this offseason hits their salary cap in full force in 2020. Combine that with two major increases in the salary cap – an extra $10 million for Aaron Rodgers and an extra $6 million for Davante Adams – and it becomes clear why the Packers sought to lock Lowry up before the 2020 offseason.
The Lowry extension follows the Packers’ history of inking contract extensions before the regular season starts in earnest:
Defensive lineman Dean Lowry in July 2019
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers in August 2018
Left guard Lane Taylor in September 2017
Left tackle David Bakhtiari in September 2016
Wide receiver Jordy Nelson in July 2014
Safety Morgan Burnett in July 2013
Punter Tim Masthay in August 2012
Left guard T.J. Lang in August 2012
Right guard Josh Sitton in September 2011
Wide receiver James Jones in July 2011
Kicker Mason Crosby in July 2011
Fullback John Kuhn in July 2011
Wide receiver Donald Driver in August 2010