The Packers enter the 2022 offseason with a myriad of questions for them to answer. The vision and direction Green Bay takes this offseason will echo through the next few years. Do they do everything they can to keep Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and as many key players as they can, regardless of the ramifications? Do they lean into a transition that could divide the locker room and fanbase? Some combination of the two? Setting the offseason agenda and blueprint for the roster is priority one for Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur.
First and foremost on everyone’s mind is the status of Aaron Rodgers. Will he retire, return to the Packers, or even be traded this offseason? Time will only tell. Rodgers has made it clear that he will inform the team of his wishes and plans prior to free agency; until then the Packer fanbase will have to wait. While the most recent memory of him is his poor performance against the 49ers, it’s clear the Packers are a Super Bowl contender with him at quarterback. However, if Rodgers retires or wants to finish his career outside of Green Bay, the Gutekunst and LaFleur will then need to decide if former first round pick Jordan Love is their starter in 2022. If they have doubts, they will likely bring in competition in the form of a veteran quarterback.
The next domino to fall will likely be Davante Adams. The 2021 all pro is scheduled for free agency this offseason. The Packers will need to negotiate a contract or utilize one of the tags to keep his services. Whether he wants to stay in Green Bay or not could depend on Rodgers; he may not want to saddle his future to an unproven quarterback as he shifts into the middle part of his career. If Rodgers stays, then he may have much more interest in staying. The question then will come down to price. Adams deserves every dollar he wants, but the question will be how a new contract fits into the salary cap.
After the big two unknowns, the next part is determining how to get the salary cap under control. The Packers are currently over 40 million over the cap and will need to shed some contracts as well as negotiate extends for some players to adjust their cap in. Some players they could consider include Adrian Amos, Jaire Alexander, Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, and David Bakhiari, just to name a few. I’d expect a few of these players to have a new or adjusted contract before the league year starts.
Another tool in the toolkit to fix their cap situation is cutting players. All the previously mentioned players could also be cut candidates. Additional players who could also be considered in this category, including longtime kicker Mason Crosby or Dean Lowry. While not massive savings for either, it could the direction the team takes to start cutting away at the deficit.
Clearly, the 2022 offseason will not be quiet at 1265 Lombardi Ave, particularly early on. It will be fascinating to see the roster take shape, given the numerous challenges and decisions the Packers have to make. One thing is for certain amongst all the uncertainty: the 2022 Green Bay Packers will look vastly different than their 2021 version.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.