Restructure or cut? Remaining options for Packers to free cap space

The Green Bay Packers are in the business of freeing up cap space.

Starting the offseason off with a bang, the Packers were able to do that by freeing up over $8 million by restructuring All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari.

Since then, Packer fans have been on the edge of their seats waiting to see what the organization would do next.

In a not-so-surprising move, the Packers cut linebacker Christian Kirksey and tackle Rick Wagner. Both played decent during their one year in green and yellow. However, it wasn’t good enough to keep them on the squad and suffer the consequences of paying the two players.

The move freed up around $10 million of cap space. If I understand right, there’s approximately $10 million more left for the Packers to figure out to make it under the cap.

Because of how much money is left to free up, and the amount of money some of the Packers’ free agents are hoping for, guys like Aaron Jones, Corey Linsley and Kevin King are likely to go elsewhere this offseason.

And let’s not even get started about free-agent defensive lineman J.J. Watt.

Back to the main point of this article, the Packers are still looking for ways to clear up cap space. The biggest way to clear up cap space in the short term? Restructure.

I think the Packers need to start at the top. And who else is at the top of the Green Bay totem pole than MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers. If Rodgers is as big of a team guy as he says he is (and is interested in rings more than money) he would gladly restructure his contract and revert some of his $6.8 million in an offseason roster bonus to different money later down the line.

However, with the recent drafting of said-successor Jordan Love, it would be understandable if Aaron chooses not to cooperate with ownership.

Defensively, outside linebacker Z’Darius Smith and safety Adrian Amos could be options for a restructured contract. Both are due hefty chunks of change in roster bonuses and salary hits. Moving money to the back-end would be ideal for now, but stressful later.

Although restructuring contracts are the ideal way to clear up space now, later they will hurt. There’s likely more cuts coming than restructures. Preston Smith and Dean Lowry would be enough to get the Packers under the cap hit, but how valuable does the organization still view these two players?

Only time will tell.

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Gunnar Davis is a lifelong Packers fan and a recent graduate of Simpson College, where he was a 3-year letterwinner on the offensive line and graduated with a degree in multimedia communications. You can follow him on Twitter at @Gunnar57Davis.

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