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The Green Bay Packers worked more magic on the salary cap to build another competitive roster for the 2022 season. Russ Ball, Brian Gutekunst and the rest of the crew deserve credit for the way they were able to manipulate the cap while not having to gut the roster, which must be considered a minor miracle considering the cap hurdles in front of the team at the start of the offseason.
A full breakdown of the how the Packers maneuvered to get under the cap can be found here.
Where do the Packers stand in terms of the salary cap entering the dead part of the offseason? Let’s do a quick rundown of all the important things to know.
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Current: $17,022,188 (Over the Cap)
Effective: $7,731,389 (Ken Ingalls)
The Packers are in good shape here. There’s cap room to make a move if necessary, and there’s also cap room for all the in-season moves teams must make over the course of a five-month season. In terms of total cap space, the Packers currently have the third most in the NFL, per OTC.
The effective cap room from Ingalls takes into account the rest of the draft class, contract offsets, practice squad salaries, the elimination of the Top 51 rule to start the regular season and likely practice squad elevations. We’ve included Ingalls’ $5,000,000 “in season piggy bank” total into the final total.
Biggest cap hits
(AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
1. QB Aaron Rodgers: $28,533,568
2. LT David Bakhtiari: $13,420,808
3. OLB Preston Smith: $11,460,588
4. DL Kenny Clark: $9,975,647
5. DL Dean Lowry: $8,072,000
6. S Adrian Amos: $7,278,000
7. CB Jaire Alexander: $7,076,000
8. RB Aaron Jones: $5,900,941
9. OLB Rashan Gary: $5,051,872
10. K Mason Crosby: $4,735,000
The Packers have only three players with a cap hit over $10 million. The contracts were adjusted and lowered for seven players on this list. Russ Ball and the Packers front office made the cap work by shaving off millions from the top of the salary cap and pushing the money to future years. Amazingly, at just over $8 million, Lowry’s cap hit makes the team’s top five.
Dead money on the cap
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
OLB Za’Darius Smith: $11,424,443
OL Billy Turner: $5,810,000
CB Kevin King: $3,000,000
TE Robert Tonyan: $1,879,200
CB Chandon Sullivan: $970,400
LB De’Vondre Campbell: $808,000
TE Jace Sternberger: $251,632
LB Kamal Martin: $135,530
OL Cole Van Lanen: $115,266
The Packers are carrying the ninth most dead money on the cap in 2022, a highly uncharacteristic situation for this team. Smith and Turner were released to save money on the cap, but both will be playing elsewhere while still counting over $16 million against the Packers cap this year. Ouch. Tonyan and Campbell were re-signed, but each had a voided contract, so the dead money is already accelerated onto this year’s cap. The same goes for King, who remains unsigned, and Sullivan, who is now in Minnesota. Sternberger, Martin and Van Lanen count on the cap because they were released draft picks with guaranteed prorated money on the their deals. Van Lanen returned to the practice squad after being released. Almost half the NFL has $20 million or more in dead money in 2022, so the Packers are operating like most others. Still, almost $25 million in lost cap space isn’t nothing.
How can Packers still save?
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The options for creating more cap room are limited, mostly because the Packers have exercised most of the options already. Dean Lowry and Mason Crosby are the most likely “restructure to save” options if cap space gets tight or the team needs to make a move. A long-term deal for receiver Allen Lazard could, in theory, lower his cap hit in 2022. Don’t expect the Packers to do much more in terms of manipulating the cap.
The Packers are spending roughly $101 million on offense and $92 million on defense in 2022. Both are right around average for the NFL. The spending is spread out well across the roster. The Packers rank in the top 10 of spending over just two positions: quarterback and interior defensive line.