GREEN BAY — The way the news of Dean Lowry’s contract extension got out Tuesday afternoon fit the Green Bay Packers’ unassuming defensive end’s personality perfectly.
It’s not often in the internet information age that a team can announce a new contract for a player. Usually, scoopmeisters Adam Schefter of ESPN or Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network have the news from agents long before the ink is dry and the signing is official. Or, an on-top-of-their-game beat writer or two gets the news before the team can announce it.
But the unsung fourth-year defensive end, who quietly had a career year in 2018 — and proved his value and versatility when injuries struck the defensive line — didn’t get any of the breaking news treatment Tuesday. Instead, news of his deal — one that ESPN reported is a three-year deal worth just over $20 million, including a $6 million signing bonus — broke simply via a news release from the club’s public-relations department.
That was befitting of Lowry, a well-liked, respected player who entered the league as a fourth-round pick in 2016 and doesn’t draw the attention or the accolades that his more famous linemates, veteran Mike Daniels and former first-round pick Kenny Clark, garner.
Nonetheless, getting the deal done with Lowry, who was scheduled to make $2.025 million this year in the final season of his rookie deal, allows the Packers to lock up an ascending player who put up a career-high 57 tackles while recording seven tackles for loss, three sacks, three pass break-ups, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, two quarterback hits and 14 quarterback pressures while playing in all 16 games (eight starts).
He was also the last man standing after injuries landed Muhammad Wilkerson (leg), Daniels (foot) and Clark (elbow) on season-ending injured reserve by year’s end. With Wilkerson not having been re-signed, Lowry was already expected to start with Clark and Daniels when the season begins Sept. 5 at Chicago.
“It’s really good because we all can do a lot of different things and we’re all different players,” Clark said of the defensive line. “We all play at a high level.”
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Signing Lowry also gives the Packers a jump-start on what could be a busy offseason on defense in 2020, with Daniels, inside linebacker Blake Martinez and outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell all in the final years of their respective deals. Clark, an ascending player who is likely to earn his first Pro Bowl selection this season, also could be in line for a lucrative extension
Texans practices finalized
The Packers officially set start times for their two joint practices with the Houston Texans, led by former University of Wisconsin star and state native J.J. Watt.
The Packers and Texans will practice at 10:15 a.m. on both Monday, Aug. 5 and Tuesday, Aug. 6. The team announced last week that players from both teams will take part in the tradition of riding kids’ bicycles to practice.
In addition, the Packers shifted their Sunday, Aug. 18 and Monday, Aug. 19 practices — the final two open practices of camp — from 10:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The Packers kick off their first training camp under new coach Matt LaFleur with a 10:15 a.m. practice on Thursday.