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The details are in on the restructured contract between Za’Darius Smith and the Green Bay Packers.
According to Field Yates of ESPN, the Packers converted $9.76 million of Smith’s base salary and all $5 million of his roster bonus into a signing bonus, creating $7.38 million in cap space in 2021.
In other words, the Packers are kicking the can down the road in an effort to get under the salary cap before Wednesday’s deadline.
By converting the base salary and roster bonus this year, the team can spread out the cap hit of the money over the next two seasons. The move creates much-needed cap space now but creates a much larger cap hit for Smith next year.
Smith’s cap hit was scheduled to be $22,000,000 million in 2021 and $20,750,000 in 2022. The restructure will lower his cap hit in 2021 to under $15 million but increase his cap hit in 2022 to over $28 million.
The Packers are clearly confident in getting an extension done with Smith at some point before the 2022 season.
The team needed to create cap space to fit Aaron Jones’ new deal under the cap before the start of the new league year on Wednesday.
Smith played in all 32 games and has 26 sacks and 60 quarterback hits since signing with the Packers in 2019. He turns 29 in September.