2022 is a big year for the Green Bay Packers.

Especially the defense.

That’s because the unit is stacked on all three levels and for the most part, there is enough depth to go around. Add the cherry on top that is Year 2 of Joe Barry’s defense and it’s easy to see why there’s a 2010 feel to the defense.

A big part of that feeling is fourth-year EDGE Rashan Gary. The former first-rounder had a great year taking over for the injured Za’Darius Smith in 2021 and is poised for a monster year in 2022.

But, according to ESPN‘s Dan Graziano, Gary may have already shown the Packers enough to where he doesn’t need a monster year to receive a monster payday.

This comes from Graziano reporting in a Thursday column that he was hearing chatter about a few players landing big-time extensions before Sunday’s kickoff and Gary was one of them:

“… Candidates to get high-end extensions in the dwindling days before the season starts, based on chatter I’ve heard around the league, include Colts guard Quenton Nelson, Titans defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, Bengals tackle Jonah Williams, Rams safety Taylor Rapp, Packers defensive lineman Rashan Gary and Raiders tight end Darren Waller.”

It makes sense for the Packers to wait until after 2022 before making any big moves regarding Gary and his contract. However, Gary is only going to get more expensive as the seasons pass, especially if he develops like the Packers expect/anticipate.

The Packers’ cap situation will only get more and more complicated in the future due to Aaron Rodgers’ deal -as well needed deals for other players- so it also makes a lot of sense for Brian Gutekunst and co. to go ahead and scratch a name off their list. And, they’ll already have Gary’s financials in the books and planned out when approaching the next player’s (players’) deal(s), instead of having to play a guessing game of how much he’ll actually cost against the cap.

An extension would also lock up the Packers’ starting EDGEs for the foreseeable future, which is big for its own obvious reasons.

Stay tuned.

You can check out ESPN‘s full column, here.

Featured image via Joshua Clark/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis. via Imagn Content Services, LLC