The contract details of newly signed Packers center Jeff Saturday have been reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN.
According to Schefter:
Jeff Saturday’s two-year deal in Green Bay is worth $7.75 million, including $4 million this season.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 24, 2012
Saturday was signed as an unrestricted free agent on Friday by the Packers, their first unrestricted free agent signing since Duke Preston in 2009 and perhaps a signing that will have the biggest impact since they inked cornerback Charles Woodson and defensive lineman Ryan Pickett back in 2006.
Saturday will replace the departed Scott Wells, a 2011 Pro Bowl selection that signed a four-year $24 million in guaranteed money with the St. Louis Rams as an unrestricted free agent, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Compared to the contract signed by Wells, the Packers spent much less on Saturday than they would have needed to keep Wells. The other side of the coin is that the Packers still need to find a long-term solution at center.
The Packers were a little more than $5 million under the salary cap at the start of the new league year in mid-March, according to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The signing of Saturday leaves the Packers little flexibility to make any more signings in free agency, particularly one that might take a couple million dollars, such as linebacker Manny Lawson who they’ve reportedly showed interest in.
The Packers could clear some salary cap space by either cutting or restructuring the contracts of players like cornerback Charles Woodson, tackle Chad Clifton and wide receiver Donald Driver. In the case of Woodson, it would be a restructuring of his contract.
If the Packers don’t need salary cap space immediately, they may wait to make decisions on Clifton and Driver whose big bonuses worked into their contracts aren’t due until late summer.