Coming off a breakout campaign in 2021, Rashan Gary could get a new contract from the Green Bay Packers before Sunday's season opener.
Per ESPN's Dan Graziano, Gary is viewed as a candidate to receive a "high-end" extension from his current club prior to Week 1.
This marks the first offseason that Gary is eligible to sign a new deal with the Packers. He was the team's first-round draft pick (No. 12 overall) in 2019. The team exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie deal for 2023 in April.
Gary looked like a bust for the first two years of his career. The Michigan alum had a total of 14 quarterback hits, eight tackles for loss and seven sacks in 31 games between 2019-20.
A change in defensive coordinator from 2020 to 2021 also meant a shift in role for Gary. Joe Barry replaced Mike Pettine, who parted ways with the team in January 2021, after three seasons with the Packers.
Barry's philosophy in his first season in Green Bay put an emphasis on light boxes and stopping the pass.
Gary, who shifted from defensive end to outside linebacker, was a direct beneficiary of the change. He led the team in quarterback hits (28), sacks (9.5) and finished second in tackles for loss (eight).
The Packers have placed a heavy emphasis on their defense during the offseason. Star cornerback Jaire Alexander signed a four-year, $84 million extension in May. Linebacker De'Vondre Campbell re-signed as a free-agent on a five-year, $50 million deal after making the All-Pro first team in 2021.
General manager Brian Gutekunst used both of his first-round draft picks this year on Georgia defenders (linebacker Quay Walker and defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt).
Gary's breakout performance last season made him an essential piece for a Packers defense that could be among the best in the NFL in 2022.