Green Bay Packers salary cap outlook: Several bargains at wide receiver

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

The "Shutdown Countdown" has entered the home stretch. In addition to previewing each team, Shutdown Corner will be taking a brief look at each team's salary cap situation heading into the 2013 season and beyond. We continue the series with the Green Bay Packers.

2013 Adjusted Cap Number: $130.822 million (11th-highest in the NFL in 2013)

2013 Cap Room Remaining: $14.564 million (6th in the NFL, as of Aug. 1)

Best Bargain(s): The top three receivers on the current Packers roster are Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jordy Nelson, who combined to catch 193 passes for 2,483 yards and 29 of the team's 40 touchdown passes last season. Cobb (12th), Jones (13th) and Nelson (17th) all placed in the Top 20 in Football Outsiders' receiving DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) last season. In 2013, that trio will earn $7,066,766 combined, which is 54.4 percent of the cash that former Packers receiver Greg Jennings will take home this season from the Minnesota Vikings.

Potential Camp Cap Casualty: Head coach Mike McCarthy stuck with veteran kicker Mason Crosby during his well-documented struggles during the 2012 season. The Packers brought in Giorgio Tavecchio to push him for the job during the preseason. If Tavecchio wins out, or Crosby just struggles and is replaced with a veteran free agent, the Packers would save $2.4 million in cash and cap space this season.

Looming Contract Issue: The Packers took care of Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews this offseason, which was wise as there is still plenty of work to be done in 2014.

B.J. Raji is entering the final year of his rookie contract and the Packers have tabled discussions towards a long-term extension. The Packers would have the option of the franchise tag, which for a defensive tackle, is projected to be worth $8.476 million if the 2014 league-wide cap number remains flat. Tight end Jermichael Finley's two-year, $14 million bridge deal expires after this season, as well. There is zero chance of the Packers using the franchise tag on Finley, who has struggled with consistency and would have a franchise tag worth $10.5 million (120 percent of his 2013 cap number) in fully guaranteed money if he were tagged. That $10.5 million figure is nearly twice what the tight end tag would be ($5.9 million) and exceeds the projected wide receiver tender ($10.28 million), which makes the whole "tight end or wide receiver?" question moot.

Cornerback Sam Shields will be an unrestricted free agent, as will center Evan Dietrich-Smith and right tackle Marshall Newhouse, which is 40 percent of the starting offensive line. Wide receiver James Jones, fullback John Kuhn, tight end Andrew Quarless, and defensive ends Ryan Pickett, Mike Neal and C.J. Wilson are also slated to be unrestricted free agents in 2014.

Long-Term Cash/Cap Outlook: Of the 71 players the Packers have signed for 2014, the "Top 51" cap numbers total $109.29 million in salary cap commitments. Make it an even $110 million as the Packers will be carrying $800,000 in "dead" money after releasing Desmond Bishop. Packers players also around $6 million in potential base salary escalators and incentives that could hit the cap in 2014. If needed, Rodgers, Matthews and safety Morgan Burnett have seven-figure roster bonuses due early in the season that could be converted to signing bonuses to create additional cap space.

Previous salary cap outlooks

32. Oakland Raiders
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
30. Arizona Cardinals
29. Buffalo Bills
28. Cleveland Browns
27. Tennessee Titans
26. Kansas City Chiefs
25. New York Jets
24. San Diego Chargers
23. Philadelphia Eagles
22. Miami Dolphins
21. St. Louis Rams
20. Minnesota Vikings
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
18. Dallas Cowboys
17. Detroit Lions
16. Pittsburgh Steelers
15. Indianapolis Colts
14. New Orleans Saints
13. Chicago Bears
12. New York Giants
11. Carolina Panthers
10. Washington Redskins
9. Cincinnati Bengals
8. Atlanta Falcons
7. Houston Texans
6. Baltimore Ravens
5. New England Patriots

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