Packers: Kenny Clark deal could give clue about Aaron Rodgers’ future

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Kenny Clark’s new contract could give us a clue about Aaron Rodgers’ long-term future with the Packers.

At the start of training camp, Kenny Clark signed a four-year extension with the Green Bay Packers.

Now that we have some additional details about Clark’s new contract, it could give us a clue to Aaron Rodgers‘ future with the Packers.

According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Clark’s cap hit is only $7.1 million in 2021, but then increases to $20.65 million in 2022, $21.25 million in 2023, and $22 million in 2024. Could the structure of this deal provide a clue for when the Packers could decide to move on from Rodgers?

In 2022, the Packers have some big cap hits. According to Over The Cap, along with the cap hit for Clark, Green Bay will also pay $20.75 million for Za’Darius Smith and $16.5 million for Preston Smith.

Rodgers? His cap hit that season is $39.85 million.

Interestingly enough, Spotrac’s breakdown of Rodgers’ deal notes that 2022 is a potential out for the Packers. If they move on that year, they’ll pay $17.20 million in dead money. That’s still a big cap hit, but the team would free up over $22 million.

Time for Jordan Love in 2020?

When the Packers traded up for Jordan Love in the first round of April’s draft, they effectively put Rodgers on the clock. This was a clear sign they are looking to the future beyond Rodgers. Unless Love doesn’t develop as the team hopes, it’s a matter of if, not when, he replaces Rodgers.

Considering the fact it’s unrealistic, based on his contract, that the Packers can move on from Rodgers in the next couple of years, we can assume he’ll be the starter until at least the end of the 2021 season.

But that’s where it gets interesting.

In 2022, Love will be entering year three with the Packers after getting two seasons to develop. Rodgers will be 38 with a huge cap hit.

Clark and the Smith Bros. will also have big cap hits that year, and that’s before we include possible new deals for David Bakhtiari, Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, or Jaire Alexander.

It’s possible the structure of Clark’s deal is just a coincidence. It’s also a possibility that the Packers don’t know when the time will be right to make the transition at quarterback.

But, looking at the salary cap, 2022 would make sense. Green Bay will have a number of key players with big cap hits. It would be the perfect year for the starting quarterback to still be on a rookie deal.

Time will tell, but it’s certainly something to watch.