Apparently the Green Bay Packers have been using the same calculator as Mickey Loomis down in New Orleans, because even with the salary cap going up in 2022, the Packers find themselves in a precarious position being over 50m OVER the cap. They will have to crush some numbers if they hope to repeat their 13 win season in 2021.
2021 Record: 13-4
GM: Brian Gutekunst
HC: Matt LaFleur
OC: Adam Stenavich
DC: Joe Barry
2021 Statistical Leaders
Aaron Rodgers: 366-531 68.9% 4,115 37-4
AJ Dillon: 187-803-5, 34-313-2
Aaron Jones: 171-799-4, 52-391-6
Davante Adams: 123-1553-11
Allen Lazard: 40-513-8
De’Vondre Campbell: 146 Tak, 2 Int, 2.0 Sacks
Rasul Douglas: 57 Tak, 5 Int, 13 PD
Rashan Gary: 47 Tak, 9.5 Sacks
Preston Smith: 38 Tak, 9.5 Sacks
Notable Free Agents:
Pos, Name, Age, Contract Status, 2021 Snap Count
LB - De’Vondre Campbell (29), UFA, 91.6%
WR - Davante Adams (30), UFA, 79.4%
LG - Lucas Patrick (29), UFA, 81.6%
CB - Rasul Douglas (28), UFA, 63%
CB - Chandon Sullivan (26), UFA, 76.6%
(9) Projected Cost of Rookie Picks in 2022: $3.15m
Round 1 #28
Round 2 #59
Round 3 #92
Round 4 #131
Round 4 #140
Round 5 #171
Round 7 #226
Round 7 #247
Round 7 #258
Green Bay has been awarded 2 Compensatory Picks in 2022 and will likely have more in 2023 if they are unable to sign their key pending free agents, which seems very unlikely.
It’s bad. I mean…like…really bad. With the salary cap for 2022 increasing to $208.2m, Green Bay will still be $50.79m above that with their current situation. While the team has a bunch of players like Allen Lazard (RFA), Yosuah Nijman (ERFA), and Krys Barnes (ERFA), all of whom played meaningful snaps for the team last year and will most certainly return at a bargain basement price, Green Bay will still have five players accounting for $137.11m against the 2022 salary cap (a mind-bending 65% of the cap this year). A shame considering none of the five are named Davante Adams. At this point, Green Bay will need to clear about $54m in cap space just to be able to make their draft picks.
First and foremost, I would be shocked if edge rusher Za’Darius Smith plays 2022 with his current contract and $27.66m cap number. He is entering the final year of his deal and played only 1 game last year. At age 30, while they could extend him, it’s a cheaper option to address his position in the draft and save $15.28m by releasing him.
Starting LT David Bakhtiari’s contract is equally terrifying in its current state. Unfortunately, the 31 year old tackle will actually cost you money to trade or cut at this point, as he still has 3 years remaining. It is unlikely you can do much with his $22.2m cap hit this season.
Defensive lineman Kenny Clark is in a similar situation, where the team has $20.86m tied up with him, however a post-june first release saves them $15m this season and pushes $10m to 2023’s cap number.
Preston Smith is in the final year of his deal and I’d imagine they extend his current contract, spreading out the damage his $19.7m cap hit will have right now.
Then the Chicago Bears favorite quarterback Aaron Rodgers is set to explode for a $46.66m cap hit, entering his final year under contract with Green Bay (he does have a voided year next season which will already cost Green Bay $7.67m against the 2023 cap). I mean, what can you really do with this contract besides cut or trade him, both of which will save you $19.8m against 2022 and thus will usher in the Jordan Love era.
It’s all about the draft for Green Bay, a team that historically spent their early draft capital on rotating defensive players and hoping and praying on hitting value later in the draft on offense. At some point they are going to need to invest real assets into their offensive line and given Rodgers contract situation, they are probably more equipped to run the ball in 2023 than ever before, with both AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones under contract. Their secondary needs help and they are losing arguably the best routing running receiver and target vacuum in the league in Davante Adams. Not being able to sign Da’Vondre Campbell will be a big loss as well but they have the draft capital to be able to fill some of these holes with absolutely zero cap space to spare.