The salary cap space created by restructuring the contracts of Aaron Jones, Jaire Alexander, Preston Smith and Kenny Clark and the potential for adding more cap space with additional restructures have the Green Bay Packers increasingly confident in the team’s ability to add during free agency if the right opportunity arises.
“I don’t know if (executive VP) Russ Ball would like me to say we have much room,” general manager Brian Gutekunst told Larry McCarren of Packers.com. “I would say we’ve gotten under the salary cap and we’re working towards the things we need to do to make sure so that if there’s opportunities out there in free agency moving forward we can capitalize on them.”
Over the Cap has the Packers at $17.5 million in cap space after restructuring Clark and the three others. The team is working on a restructure for David Bakhtiari, which could add $7-10 million more in cap space, and other veterans – such as De’Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas – have roster bonuses that could be converted to signing bonuses to make more room in 2023.
The Packers want to be in a position where, if the right player is there in free agency, Gutekunst can pull the trigger.
“I think we’ll go through our normal process. Our resources aren’t like some other teams, but we do feel if there are areas to improve our team and opportunities arise, we’ll be ready,” Gutekunst said from the NFL Scouting Combine.
The Packers have several in-house free agents needing new deals, including offensive tackle Yosh Nijman, receiver Allen Lazard and kick returner Keisean Nixon. Re-signings may take away a big chunk of the team’s cap space.
In terms of the roster, Gutekunst sees needs at tight end and safety, and it’s possible he’ll address both positions with veteran additions in free agency. The Packers have found cheap but valuable veterans each of the last two seasons.
Of course, there’s a short-term and long-term view of the cap. The Packers must consider the cost of the draft class, next year’s practice squad and an in-season fund on the cap, so the team’s effective cap space long-term isn’t nearly as big as the $17.5 million would suggest. In fact, more moves to help the cap will be required between now and September. Ken Ingalls has more here.
For now, the Packers have armed themselves with some buying power and the ability to add to the roster entering free agency.