Packers exercise fifth-year option on Clinton-Dix

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers hadn’t exercised the fifth-year option for any of their players since 2011 until Monday evening when they picked up the option on safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

The first-round pick from the 2014 NFL Draft is set to make $1.55 million in 2017 before his 2018 option kicks in at roughly $5.9 million. The decision was made after Clinton-Dix recorded a career-best five interceptions in 2016 and was selected to his first career Pro Bowl.

Derek Sherrod, Nick Perry, and Datone Jones all previous had their fifth-year options declined by Green Bay, and only Perry proved he was worth keeping after his contract year. The 2011 collective bargaining agreement gives all first-round draft picks a guaranteed four-year contract with a club option for the fifth year. Salaries are based on where the player is selected within the round.

Three Packers selected to the 2017 Pro Bowl

The NFL announced the 2017 Pro Bowl rosters on Tuesday night, and three Green Bay Packers were selected.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, guard T.J. Lang and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix were all voted in through a combination of fan, player and coach balloting.

For Lang and Clinton-Dix, it’s the first time they’ve earned the honor, while Rodgers was selected for a sixth time.

Earlier on Monday, Rodgers told reporters that the entire offensive line was worthy of making it, and that Clinton-Dix should be a “no-doubter,” though he admitted that it can be a popularity contest at times and sometimes guys get the nod a year after they truly deserve it. But for Clinton-Dix, Green Bay’s first-round pick in 2014, his third year has been a bit of breakthrough and it didn’t go unnoticed. He leads the team in interceptions with five, which is tied for the most among safeties in the league.

Lang makes the team despite missing nearly a month with a broken foot, but it’s an honor some, including his teammate Bryan Bulaga, feel should have happened long before this season.

“Congrats to (T.J. Lang) for being named to his first Pro Bowl,” Bulaga tweeted soon after the announcement. “Well overdue buddy. You deserve it.”

The Eastern Michigan product has started all but six games over the last six seasons for Green Bay.

“I’m speechless guys,” Lang tweeted. “All I can say is no way in hell I could get this honor without my (offensive line) brothers especially, Bulaga. We share this honor.”

As for Rodgers, his selection comes in what has been a weird year for the 12th year pro. At times, many were left questioning whether he’d lost something as he and the team struggled. But no one has been hotter than Rodgers of late as the Packers have gone on their four-game winning streak. For the season, he’s tied for second in the NFL in touchdowns (32), sixth in yards (3,781) and fifth in quarterback rating (100.3), and he’s just two wins shy of clinching his fifth division title in the last six years.

Rodgers hasn’t actually played in the Pro Bowl since 2012, with injuries keeping him out of the 2014 and 2015 games. But he’s expecting a different reason for his absence this time around — getting ready for the Super Bowl.

“It’s always a good thing to get nominated,” Rodgers said of the Pro Bowl. “But I don’t plan on playing in it.”