3 Moves the Packers Need to Make to Get Under the Salary Cap by March 15
The roster of the Green Bay Packers is likely going to look a lot different when the 2023 season kicks off, and that isn't just because starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers may not be around. A few veterans are set to hit the open market and the team needs to make moves to better its salary cap situation.
The Packers check in a $17.5 million over the salary cap limit, which is the eighth-largest mark of any NFL team. It's important to work on getting that total as low as possible before the new league year officially starts on March 15. Here's a look at three cost-saving moves Green Bay can make right now.
Green Bay Packers Roster Moves
1. Restructure Aaron Jones' Contract
The most obvious move to make here is restructuring the contract of running back Aaron Jones. He is set to have a cap hit of $20 million in 2023, but only $9.6 million of that money is dead cap. That means that there is room for the front office to decrease Jones' base salary by making the money involved into certain bonuses or simply spreading the cash to future years instead. Of course, this is a much better alternative to cutting Jones considering the sixth-year pro was one of Green Bay's only standout players on offense in 2022. He tallied 1,516 total yards and scored 7 touchdowns on 272 touches (5.6-yard average).
2. Sign Rashan Gary to an Extension
There's only one player who sticks out in terms of giving a short-term extension to, and that is defensive lineman Rashan Gary. The 2019 first-round pick is set to play the 2023 season on the final year of his rookie deal, yet has already proven he has what it takes to play at a high level for years to come. Gary has posted 22.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles across 56 games. Signing Gary to a one- or two-year extension would be a win-win for both sides. He'd be able to shore up his future, while the front office could clear up millions of dollars in cap space by spreading some of his 2023 cap hit to upcoming years.
3. Restructure David Bakhtiari's Contract
The Packers are in a tough spot because there are hardly any cut candidates on the roster that would free up more than just a few million dollars. It leaves the strategy of restructuring current deals a top priority. David Bakhtiari is set to come with a $28.8 million cap hit in 2023 and $23.1 of that hit is dead cap. $5.7 million could go a long way in bringing in free agents or signing draft picks, though. Much like with Jones, the front office can wiggle its way back under the salary cap by turning some of Bakhtiari's cap hit into prorated bonuses or making his current contract heavier at the back end.
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