The Green Bay Packers entered the offseason roughly $52 million over the 2022 salary cap. How Green Bay was going to go about navigating this offseason has been an unknown, but we did know two things–one was that there were going to be difficult decisions as the Packers worked their way under the salary cap. And two, whatever the moves may be, there were going to be a lot of them.
The Packers would get the “easy” cap-saving moves out of the way by restructuring the contracts of David Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark, and Aaron Jones. However, even with free agency quickly approaching and the team needing to be under the salary cap by March 16th, no other moves had been made as they waited on Aaron Rodgers’ decision.
But that first big domino has since fallen with Rodgers announcing his return to Green Bay, and shortly after, the second one fell as well, with the Packers franchise tagging Davante Adams.
Where the Packers currently stand from a salary cap standpoint is a bit unknown. They entered Tuesday at $26.4 million over the salary cap, according to OTC, and by tagging Adams, an additional $20.1 million will be added on top of that. But without knowing the details of Rodgers’ extension, we don’t know how much cap space in 2022 was cleared either.
Regardless of what that figure ends up being, it’s going to be a busy few days for the Packers as a flurry of roster and salary cap moves should be on the way.
During the combine, it was reported that the Packers and representatives of Preston Smith and Jaire Alexander had met to discuss possible contract extensions. This would obviously keep Smith and Alexander in Green Bay beyond 2022 while also lowering their current cap hits. Another possible contract extension candidate should be Adrian Amos, who, at 28-years-old has been one of the game’s most dependable and durable safeties.
The Packers will also likely continue to restructure contracts, pushing more cap charges from 2022 into future years. A few other restructure candidates include Billy Turner, Dean Lowry, as well as Amos if he’s not offered an extension.
Then there are the potential salary-cap casualties. It seems inevitable at this point that Za’Darius Smith has played his last snaps in Green Bay, and moving on from him will create $15.2 million in needed cap space. A few other players who could be cut for the salary cap savings are Randall Cobb and Mason Crosby.
As I’ve said all offseason, while the Packers may be in a tough spot financially, they have more than enough cap-saving moves available to create the cap space they need to retain much of the 2021 roster–including a few of their own free agents. Remember, the salary cap is all about tradeoffs, and if the Packers are willing to trade future financial flexibility — which it looks like they are — for cap relief now, they can run it back again in 2022 if they choose.