Latest Packers moves indicate they are preparing for future without Kenny Clark

Green Bay Packers, Kenny Clark
Green Bay Packers, Kenny Clark / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Part of roster building is preparing for the future. In 2020, the Green Bay Packers drafted Jordan Love and AJ Dillon with a long-term plan in mind. Both were third on the depth chart in their rookie seasons.

While general manager Brian Gutekunst will aim to fix as many short-term concerns as possible in the 2024 NFL Draft, he will also have an eye on the future.

The Packers may already be preparing for life without star defensive lineman Kenny Clark, who enters his ninth season in 2024. Clark is a three-time Pro Bowler and is coming off arguably the best year of his career, but his long-term future in Green Bay is uncertain.

Clark only has one year remaining on his contract and turns 29 in October. Outside of quarterbacks, the Packers often avoid signing players to a third contract. Davante Adams didn't get a third contract. Nor did Clay Matthews, Corey Linsley, Bryan Bulaga, or Greg Jennings—the list goes on. Green Bay did give David Bakhtiari a third contract, but he only played 19 games due to injury.

Clark has a team-high cap hit of $27.49 million this season, which the Packers could lower by offering him a long-term extension.

However, they may want to wait until later in the year before making a decision on his future, and their pre-draft plans suggest they could be searching for his eventual replacement.

Packers showing interest in defensive linemen in upcoming draft class

The Packers have shown interest in the rookie defensive line class. Ohio State's Michael Hall Jr. and Northern Iowa's Khristian Boyd are two names to watch.

According to The Athletic's Zac Jackson, the Packers are hosting Hall for a Top 30 visit. He is a potential second-round target and could replace some of the interior pass-rush ability the Packers would lose without Clark. Among defensive tackles in this year's class, Hall had the second-best pass-rush win rate, per The Athletic's Dane Brugler.

Boyd posted a photo at Lambeau Field last week, and it's not the first time Green Bay has met with him. According to The Draft Network's Justin Melo, Boyd spoke with the Packers at the East-West Shrine Bowl.

"I feel like the Packers showed me a lot of love," Boyd told Melo.

Boyd impressed at the Shrine Bowl and could be a Day 3 target for the Packers. He is another talented interior pass rusher.

Replacing Clark is impossible, but the Packers' interest in the interior defensive linemen could indicate they are planning for a future without the three-time Pro Bowler.

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