All the moves the Packers made to get under the salary cap to start 2021

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Zach Kruse
·4 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

A lot of planning and work went into the Green Bay Packers getting under the salary cap by the start of the 2021 league year.

Cuts. Restructures. Pushing money to the future.

The Packers exited the 2020 season needing to climb out of a substantially-sized salary cap hole but still did an admirable job keeping the roster together. A pandemic-caused shrinking of the cap made for an eventful start to the offseason in Green Bay. For the most part, the answer for Brian Gutekunst and Russ Ball was to push money to future years.

Here are all the moves the Packers made to get under the salary cap to start the 2021 league year:

Restructure David Bakhtiari's deal

AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps, File)

The Packers converted Bakhtiari's $11,447,000 roster bonus in 2021 into a signing bonus, allowing the team to prorate the entire amount over the final four years of his deal. This option was built into the contract extension Bakhtiari signed last November, giving the Packers a logical first step for clearing cap space. Cap savings: $8,304,045

Release Christian Kirksey and Rick Wagner

One year after signing both veterans to two-year deals, the Packers parted ways with Kirksey and Wagner to create another big chunk of cap space. Kirksey was mostly a disappointment for the Packers in 2020, but Wagner was a valuable piece of a terrific offensive line. Cap savings: $8,539,375

Pay cut for WR Devin Funchess

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Funchess, who opted out of the 2020 season, agreed to a renegotiated deal in 2021, although the exact mechanics for how the Packers saved cap space are unclear. This will be updated with any new information. Cap savings: Possibly $750,000

Restructure Adrian Amos' deal

(AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

The Packers converted Amos' $1.5 million roster bonus in 2021 into a signing bonus, creating $750,000 in savings this year and pushing $750,000 to his cap hit in 2022. He has two years left on his deal. Cap savings: $750,000

Pay cut for Preston Smith

(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

The Packers did a major re-working of Smith's deal, creating an incentive-laden pay cut after the veteran pass rusher had a severe dip in production during the 2020 season. With incentives tied to sacks, Smith can make back all of his 2021 salary, but the team still dropped his cap number this year substantially. A win-win. Cap savings: $7,250,000

Restructure Billy Turner's deal

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates a touchdown with Green Bay Packers offensive tackle Billy Turner (77) during the 2nd quarter of the Green Bay Packers Los Angeles Rams NFC divisional playoff game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Packers converted $4.425 million of Turner's base salary into a signing bonus and tacked on voidable years to the deal, helping the team spread out the cap hit over more years and create more immediate savings. Many NFL teams have utilized voidable years to help create cap relief this year. Cap savings: $3,560,000

Restructure Za'Darius Smith's deal

The Packers converted $9.76 million of Smith's base salary and all $5 million of his roster bonus in 2021 into a signing bonus, splitting the cap cost between the 2021 and 2022 seasons and lowering his 2021 cap number. His cap hit will rise above $28 million in 2022. Cap savings: $7.38 million

What's next, looking ahead

Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst watches before a preseason NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

The Packers have other avenues for opening up cap space, specifically by cutting Dean Lowry, restructuring Aaron Rodgers' deal or extending Davante Adams' contract. All three options remain on the table as of Wednesday afternoon, and all could be used to help the Packers land a free agent. Then again, it's unclear what moves the Packers are planning to provide necessary space to operate during the rest of the offseason. However, one thing is for sure: the Packers have pushed a ton of money to 2022. According to Ken Ingalls. the team has pushed at least $15 million into next year, which means more cap-clearing moves will be required at this time in 2022.

1

1