The Green Bay Packers freed up almost $12 million on the 2023 salary cap by re-working Aaron Jones’ contract last week. General manager Brian Gutekunst still has work to do on the cap front, so expect more restructures, regardless of whether Aaron Rodgers comes back or not.
Here are the most likely restructure options following Jones’ re-worked deal:
DL Kenny Clark
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The Packers can save roughly $10.9 million on Clark’s deal by converting base salary and a $2 million roster bonus into a signing bonus and prorating the total over the remaining years on his deal. It’s an easy lever to pull for the Packers on Clark, a foundational player on defense who still doesn’t turn 28 years old until October.
CB Jaire Alexander
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Alexander’s new deal was written to be restructured almost immediately. The Packers included an $11.45 million roster bonus in 2023 that can be immediately turned into a signing bonus and prorated over the life of the deal, which would drastically lower his $20.2 million cap hit this year. Doing so would save roughly $9.4 million in 2023. Like Clark, this move is a matter of when, not if.
OLB Preston Smith
(AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
Smith is entering his age-31 season, but the Packers need him as a steady and reliable force at edge rusher in 2023 and beyond. His re-worked deal from last year includes a $7.5 million roster bonus that is likely to be converted into a signing bonus to create cap savings this year. The Packers can save roughly $6.7 million on the cap by doing the full restructure on Smith this offseason.
LT David Bakhtiari
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How much longer do the Packers want to keep kicking the can down the road on Bakhtiari? Likely one more time. His deal includes a $9.5 million roster bonus in 2023, and the Packers could throw in some of his base salary this year to create around $7.9 million in savings. But his deal ends in 2024, and the tab needs to be paid at some point. The pain – in the form of dead money – on the other side of this deal will, more than likely, be immense.
CB Rasul Douglas
(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
Restructuring Douglas’ deal could save roughly $2.2 million on the cap in 2023. He has a $2 million roster bonus and a few million of base salary capable of being converted to a signing bonus, and the Packers could also add void years to his deal, which currently runs through 2024. He’s in line to be a starting corner in 2023, so expect the Packers to use his deal to create breathing room.
LB De'Vondre Campbell
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Campbell’s play wasn’t at an All-Pro level in 2022, but he remains a solid veteran linebacker who will be playing next to Quay Walker in 2023. The Packers can turn his $3 million roster bonus into a signing bonus and create $2.7 million in cap savings this year.
The Packers would save roughly $39.8 million on the 2023 salary cap by executing all the moves mentioned above. If Brian Gutekunst and the Packers are willing to go “all in” financially this year, expect all six restructures to get done at some point over the next few months, including a few that get done before the start of the new league year in March.