We know the Green Bay Packers need to create a large amount of cap space this offseason. The question, however, is how will they go about doing so?
At this moment, Over the Cap has the Packers at $50.79 million over the projected 2022 salary cap, which is expected to increase nearly $26 million from where it was in 2021. But as we’ve discussed before, that $50.79 million is the starting point–what the figure doesn’t account for is the final two roster spots, the incoming draft class, the practice squad, in-season reserves, any re-signings, or outside additions.
Ken Ingalls, who tracks Green Bay’s salary cap independently, has factored these other expenses in — minus any free agent signings given that’s difficult to project — and estimates that the Packers will actually need to clear $70.33 million before the start of next season.
With this amount of cap space needing to be cleared, that, of course, brings a lot of potential roster turnover, and in general, just a lot of uncertainty to this offseason.
To be clear, there are plenty of moves to make to create this needed cap space, whether that be via a contract extension, a restructure, veteran cuts, or a trade, and our friends at Over the Cap took a swing at projecting how much cap space each possible cap-saving move could generate.
I recommend taking a look at all the possible options that the Green Bay Packers have, but for the purposes of this article, I tried to narrow it down to some of the more likely options that we could see take place.
Green Bay Packers Trade Aaron Rodgers
Projected Cap Savings: $19.81 million
Before any of these cap-saving moves can be made, Aaron Rodgers’ decision is the first domino that has to fall. Ultimately, if he decides that he wants to play elsewhere in 2022, the Green Bay Packers can trade him for a boatload of assets in return and hopefully reload instead of rebuild.
With a cap hit of $46.66 million in 2022, Rodgers still comes with a dead cap hit — money that is still on the books even if Rodgers is playing elsewhere — of $26.84 million if the team trades him, but that move nets the Packers $19.81 million freed up in cap space.
Green Bay Packers Extend Aaron Rodgers
Projected Cap Savings: $21.09 million
With the aforementioned cap hit of $46.66 million, along with 2022 being the final year of his current deal, if Rodgers does return to Green Bay, he is not playing on his current contract.
An extension would add years to his current deal, infuse the contract with new money, and it would also lower Rodgers’ current cap hit as Green Bay would likely convert a large portion of his $26.47 million base salary — in which that entire balance counts towards the 2022 salary cap — into a signing bonus, where the cap hit can be spread out over the life of the contract.
Admittedly, there is some guesswork here, given that we don’t know how much of Rodgers’ current base salary would be converted to a signing bonus and pushed into future years, but you get the idea–an extension would create a lot of added flexibility for Green Bay.