The Green Bay Packers added more dead money to their already incredible stockpile but also cleared space on the salary cap in 2023 by releasing veteran punter Pat O’Donnell on Monday.
The Packers added $1,175,000 of dead cap money in 2023 as a result of O’Donnell’s $475,000 prorated bonus (from $950,000 signing bonus spread over a two-year contract), $650,000 roster bonus (already paid in March) and $50,000 workout bonus in his now terminated contract. The Packers will clear $1,225,000 from the salary cap, mostly in the form of O’Donnell’s base salary this season. O’Donnell’s cap number in 2023 was scheduled to be $2,375,000, the 10th highest among punters.
Money and age were almost certainly factors in the decision to move on.
Although the Packers paid him a roster bonus in March, O’Donnell is 32 years old and was expensive on the cap in punter terms and entering the final year of his contract. He was also coming off a season in which he finished near the bottom of the NFL in net punting average and hang time.
The Packers will move forward with 24-year-old Daniel Whelan, who is under contract for just $750,000 in 2023. He will be an exclusive rights free agent in 2024 and 2025, giving the team at least three years of Whelan’s services on cost-controlled contracts. Whelan, an All-XFL pick before signing with the Packers, will get a chance to grow alongside rookie kicker Anders Carlson and with presumed long snapper Matt Orzech, who signed a three-year deal in the offseason.
The net result of the move will be saving $450,000 on the cap in 2023; immediate savings from O’Donnell’s release minus Whelan’s cap number.
Overall, the Packers paid O’Donnell $700,000 ($650,000 roster bonus plus $50,000 workout bonus) but were willing to go with Whelan’s $750,000 cap number over paying the $1,200,000 to O’Donnell in base salary this season.
Adding in O’Donnell’s dead money, the Packers are now up to $58.4 million of dead money on the cap in 2023. A break down of the dead money before O’Donnell release can be found here.