The Packers’ voided offseason contracts are the first step in a long offseason for Green Bay.
Adrian Amos, Mason Crosby, Dean Lowry, Mercedes Lewis, Jarran Reed, Randall Cobb and Robert Tonyan all have contracts that were voided by Monday’s end. There’s a total dead cap hit of $16,396,543 next season because of these contracts.
Why did this happen? Firstly, this is one of the several consequences that will come because of restructuring contracts to add money to future years. From 2019-2021, the Packers had a legitimate Super Bowl window. They structured contracts to be cheaper for this championship opportunity, but following Aaron Rodgers’ two-straight NFL MVPs, obviously, Green Bay failed to capture another Lombardi trophy.
In a somewhat surprising move, the Packers did not elect to resign any of these players. This could be telling of Green Bay’s attitude towards Rodgers – the decision to not resign longtime players such as Crosby, Cobb, and Lewis, some of Rodgers’ most outspokenly favorite players, might be indicative of the franchise’s outlook on Rodgers’ future in Green Bay.
In the last few years, Rodgers has been outspoken about his desire to keep certain players on the roster, and it’s no coincidence that they’re ones he is particularly close with. Rodgers has talked about his desire to keep players like Cobb on the roster, despite a significant lack of production relative to their contract.
Cobb is 7th in franchise history in receptions, and 12th in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He’s near the all-time greats in Packers wide receiver history. However, whether Rodgers leaves or not, the Packers obviously, reasonably view Cobb as unreasonable at his nearly $1.4 million dollar contract owed in 2023. It was either that, or some kind of extension that likely would have cost the Packers more than the $1.4 million owed in 2023.
Amos took a steep step back in 2022; enough of a fall backwards that his nearly $8 million owed salary wasn’t worth keeping on the roster. It leaves Green Bay extremely thin at this position, currently anticipating Darnell Savage (coming off his worst season) and Rudy Ford (one year of proven competence in a backup role) as the best safeties on the roster. This move almost ensures Green Bay will target a safety near the top of the draft – at least, that would be ideal.
Crosby is the Packers’ all-time leading scorer, but the strength of his kicks has dramatically diminished in the past few years. Crosby’s number may very well be retired soon, but his career in Green Bay has come to a logical end.
Lewis posted bigger stats in Jacksonville but is widely regarded – especially by Rodgers- as one of the top leaders of the Packers since Lewis joined the team in 2018. He was a primary contributor to the great running game the Packers boasted over the past few years with the tandem of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon.
Lowry, Reed and Tonyan make more sense to let go at this stage. These players aren’t worth signing to a seemingly desperate, probably overpaying contract that these players might demand in the face of the open market. At one point these three players showed significant potential; at the present, none have proven the worth of a second contract and what that price tag might thieve from the salary cap, especially considering the unknown nature of Rodgers’ future with the team that could carry a hefty price tag itself. Ultimately, Lowry, Reed and Tonyan are replaceable by late-round picks.
Overall – especially in the long term – the decision not to bring back any of these players is reasonable in each individual situation. Considering the tight salary cap situation Green Bay is already working with, none of these players are clearly worth the cap hit that comes with their retention. The dead cap hit is worth the loss compared to the greater cap hit extensions would bring. However, these moves put more pressure on the Packers to make competent moves in free agency and the draft to plug holes on the roster.——————