Russ Ball and the rest of the Packers front office have begun the arduous task of trimming >$50 mil off of the Packers salary cap for 2022. Re-structures for Kenny Clark, Aaron Jones, and David Bakhtiari saved a combined $23 mil. But they are far from out of the woods, and the countdown is on for the start of the league year on March 16. The Packers have likely started some of these moves behind the scenes, but there is still a lot to be figured out in the next 2 weeks.
Extend Aaron Rodgers
The obvious caveat here is that Rodgers has to want to be in Green Bay. But reports are making it more clear that this is the expected end result. There are even reports about what a potential extension might look like. Other clues here are in how the Packers have managed some of these re-structures, adding void years to basically kick the can down the road. They wouldn’t be doing that if they expected Rodgers to leave.
Extending Rodgers would lessen his cap hit, and ensure that their title window doesn’t slam shut. As tempting as it is to trade Rodgers for a haul of picks and/or players, getting rid of a first ballot hall of famer coming off back-to-back MVPs would be tough to swallow.
Cut Za’darius Smith
From a purely football standpoint, this move is less than ideal. When healthy, Smith has been one of the most dominant edge defenders in football. But missing almost the entirety of the 2021 season after back surgery, and likely irking some decision makers after his fuss over not being selected as a captain paved the way for this move. Saving north of $27 mil likely seals the deal (~$15 mil including dead cap). The emergence of Rashan Gary as a legitimate star also makes this much more palatable.
Extend Jaire Alexander
Another Packer who’s 2021 season was marred by injury, but Alexander has steadily improved each year of his career. He has been one of the top shutdown cornerbacks in the league since 2020, and locking him up to a long-term extension would ensure he stays in Green Bay. It would also help spread his salary cap hit over multiple years. The Packers could back-load his contract to free-up space in the short-term, and try to take advantage of expected salary cap booms in coming years.
Restructure Randall Cobb
Cobb played well in his reunion with Green Bay a season ago. But undergoing surgery for a core muscle injury caused his to miss significant time. But prior to that – he looked more agile and explosive than he had prior to his departure after the 2018 season. He would also be another trusted option in a WR room in flux. But his cap hit as it stands would be $9.5 mil. Getting that number down through contract re-structuring would be beneficial to both sides, especially if Rodgers returns.
Extend Adrian Amos
Amos enters into the 2022 season in the final year of his 4 year contract with the Packers. He has been the most consistent defender on the team over that period, stabilizing what was a dreadful safety position before his arrival. Amos will still be 29 years old through the 2022 season, so signing him to 2-3 year extension would be reasonable. This could lower his cap hit from the nearly $12 mil it currently sits at. And it would also offer security given the uncertainty of Darnell Savage’s future with the Packers – entering into what could be his final year under contract.——————
Jared is a rogue Packers fan from a Steelers family and an overall football junkie, including playing 4 years at Ithaca College. You can follow him on twitter at @JPrugar.