Kenny Clark’s Contract Structure Doesn’t Equal A Rodgers Departure
Yesterday, news broke about Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark’s contract structure. The structure of the deal features Clark making only about 14 million dollars in his two years. You couple that with the signing bonuses, and Clark will make a little more. After that, he receives an extreme jump in pay for the final three years of his deal starting in 2022. That sends off an immediate bat signal to Packers writers and fans that 2022 is the year the Packers could potentially move on from Aaron Rodgers if they wanted to. This contract does not make things a given though as some might think, rather, it gives them room to operate moving forward.
First look at Kenny Clark's actual contract breakdown shows the cap numbers as:
2020: $6.69M ($1M less than it would've been).
Will have a full breakdown posted before this morning's 10:10 am practice.
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) August 25, 2020
The first part is obvious that yes, in 2022, they could not have Rodgers on the books making it easier to have a larger contract like Clark’s. But there are also some other things to think about with this deal. Aaron Jones and David Bakhtiari still need to get paid. But both, more so Jones, play a position where it is more practical to pay upfront versus backloaded. You could really say the same thing about Clark’s position, but he is younger than both Jones and Bakhtiari.
The next part is Russ Ball and the Packers are expecting a cap decrease in 2021 with COVID-19. The lack of fans in the stands will hurt revenue, therefore driving down the cap. Packers are already planning for that with the Clark deal, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the other deals reflect that cap decrease.
Another part that goes beyond Rodgers is the other guys that will be coming off the books in 2022. Both Preston and Za’Darius Smith will be free agents again with the Packers unlikely to bring them back. Adrian Amos will also be up for free agency. They’ll have a big decision on Davante Adams that year, but Adams will be hovering around 30 years old. Adams will likely want to get paid again, but at age 30, that’s not always the smartest idea for a receiver even for Adams’ stature. This Clark might be less about Rodgers, and more about the guys in 2022 that Packers fans shouldn’t expect back.
We will not know what this means until actual year 2022. Hopefully, by then, we’re all cheering on Clark at Lambeau Field.