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FutureStarrPackers Salary Cap Update After Restructuring David Bakhtiari?
Today, the Packers announced that they have restructured the contract of LT David Bakhtiari to free up over $40 million in cap space. This marks their third major move this offseason to reduce commitments from their 2022 salary cap.
This latest restructuring guarantees Bakhtiari his place on the Green Bay Packers for at least two more years and prevents them from having to release him before June 1st.
The Green Bay Packers and general manager Brian Gutekunst are working diligently to free up cap space for 2023, with several key veterans having their contracts reworked. Last week, running back Aaron Jones agreed to a pay cut and restructure that significantly reduces his cap hit.
In 2023, the team will save approximately $11 million on their salary cap. Furthermore, they could add another void year to his contract in order to further reduce his cap hit. This should bring running back's cap hit down to around $29 million for 2023, giving them more flexibility moving forward.
Since joining the Packers, Jones has been an integral part of their offense and continues to be a dominant force on the ground. He's finished two seasons with at least 1,000 yards rushing and is among the league leaders in both scrimmage yardage and total touchdowns.
He's been one of the team's most reliable receivers, as evidenced by his 93 receptions for 1,060 yards and eight touchdowns this season. The former Michigan State star is an accomplished playmaker with a proven NFL track record; hopefully he can continue making an impact in Green Bay long into the future.
It's worth noting that Jones is under contract through 2024 and it seems highly unlikely the Packers would trade him in free agency if he doesn't return next season. There are plenty of other capable players available on the market, making it hard for teams to justify giving up a potential future starting running back in exchange for an established veteran like Jones.
The Green Bay Packers needed salary cap room and it wasn't hard to convince Jones to take a $5 million pay cut and restructure his contract. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Jones will make $11 million for the 2023 season plus an $8.52 million signing bonus; that's significantly less than his projected 2022 salary and also allows them to spread that bonus over five years, significantly decreasing his cap hit in 2023.
The Green Bay Packers still need to do a lot of work in order to stay competitive on the salary cap front. After reworking deals with cornerback Jaire Alexander and edge rusher Preston Smith, the team now has $16 million in cap space with which to make additional moves going forward.
As the offseason continues, it will be essential to monitor the team's salary cap situation - particularly with Aaron Rodgers' future uncertain. With a starting cap hit of $2 million for 2018, they must find ways to free up more funds so they can sign free agents and continue playing in the NFL.
One of the simplest and most efficient ways teams can create cap space is by restructuring contracts. This enables a team to convert certain payments into bonuses, thus lowering how much money counts against their annual cap.
Kenny Clark is another player the Packers could potentially restructure this offseason. His four-year, $70 million contract was extended in 2020 and he already boasts 22.5 sacks and 33 tackles for loss on the season.
Field Yates of ESPN reported that Clark's new deal turns $14 million of his 2022 salary into a signing bonus and adds two void years, helping Green Bay get further under the salary cap this offseason.
Clark's 2022 cap hit will be reduced to $10.9 million, the fourth-lowest total for defensive tackles in the league. That number would only increase if he were granted an extension or the team traded him, both unlikely outcomes.
This offseason, the Packers face a formidable challenge: how to retain Aaron Rodgers and John Adams while providing them with enough talent for championship success. While this will not be easy, there are several steps the team can take in order to achieve this objective.
The Packers should try and restructure the contracts of players they plan on keeping for a while. Not only will this save them money this year, but it will also enable them to pay their players slightly less each year.
The Green Bay Packers entered the offseason with some salary cap issues, so GM Brian Gutekunst quickly got to work. First, he restructured safety Adrian Amos' contract in order to save $750,000 by converting his $1.5 million roster bonus into a prorated signing bonus over two years.
He then restructured linebacker Preston Smith's contract to save $7.25 million, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and ESPN's Rob Demovsky and Ken Ingalls. Additionally, he released fullback/tight end John Lovett and non-tendered quarterback Tim Boyle which helped bring the team under the salary cap.
These moves leave the Packers about $16 million under the cap, with further adjustments required. This week however, they took an important step toward getting under it by restructuring left tackle David Bakhtiari's contract to create relief in 2023 according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.
By 2020, the Packers could save approximately $7.5 million in salary cap costs - taking their overall cap hit down to $21.3 million, close to where they were before the restructuring. Depending on whether void years are added into their deal, further cap relief could be achieved for Green Bay as well.
Though restructures and extensions may seem like unnecessary measures, they are some of the best ways for teams to keep their players under control. By doing so, teams are able to retain key personnel while making them less money over time - ultimately helping the team exit the red zone.
Smith was a key factor in the Packers' defensive success last season, ranking third among pass rushers with 8.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 17 games. Additionally, he had 20 quarterback hits and nine tackles for loss - both impressive numbers considering his past injuries.
Smith still has one year left on his current deal, which could be renegotiated to reduce his cap hit. This could make him a desirable free agent due to his highly productive edge rusher and potential growth as an even better player in the future.
Over the Cap has reported that the Packers have removed $8 million from their salary cap in two days by restructuring contracts with cornerback Jaire Alexander and edge rusher Preston Smith. This leaves them at least $16 million under cap, as reported by Over the Cap.
There are still opportunities to make additional procedural moves that would free up even more money to sign restricted and exclusive rights free agents. For example, an extension for edge rusher Rashan Gary - who has only five years left on his current contract worth around $10.9 million - would seem like a logical fit.
Another possible candidate for restructuring is left tackle David Bakhtiari. A full base salary restructure with four void years added onto the backend of his deal will reduce his 2022 cap hit from $28.9 million to $10.6 million, but that still leaves him with a dead cap hit of $27.9 million in 2023, barring an extension before then.
Ginnitti estimates that a full restructuring could free up $20 million in cap space. This amount would allow enough room to sign two restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as the 2022 draft class.
Green Bay may need to part with some players in order to free up money for some of these moves. They might release some young players like Billy Turner who is set to earn $3.464 million in 2022 off a base salary of $5.45 million; this could prove easier than cutting Lowry since his void structure will save the Packers more cash in the long run.
Green Bay will need to find a way to protect Turner's value for 2022, which could involve either an extension or second-round right-of-first-refusal tender. Given his impressive 2018 performance, they may want to give him some extra time on a multiyear extension, since it could be difficult for the team to bring him back with right-of-first refusal next offseason.