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Affording Khalil Mack - A Packers Financials Deep Dive.

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Affording Khalil Mack - A Packers Financials Deep Dive.

Many have questioned whether we should try to acquire Khalil Mack.  The arguments include how much draft capital we should give up and whether we can afford to pay him.  I am going to focus on how Mack might fit under our current salary cap situation in 2018 and offer some possibilities for 2019. The first thing is to figure out just how much cap space we currently have.  The Rule of 51 is all well and good, but we need to know what space is available when September arrives and all contracts count. 

The major services are operating under the Rule of 51, and they disagree about how much cap space we have. Their numbers should be reduced by the salaries of the 52nd and 53rd players on the roster ($480 thousand times 2 = $960 thousand) and 10 practice squad players ($1.29M).  That is a total of roughly $2.3 million. OTC has us with $11.28 million ($8.98 million); NFLPA has us at $10.5 million ($8.2 million), and Sportrac has us with $6.4million ($4.1 million)

Using mostly conventional wisdom, I put together a 53-man roster and added up each player's respective cap hit.  The exact composition of the roster actually does not have that much impact on how much salary cap space we will have.  Keeping one bubble player over a different bubble player usually means a difference of less than $60,000 in salary cap space.  Keeping Odom over Fackrell costs $65,000 (that is, we have more salary cap space with Fackrell than with Odom).  Cutting Spriggs costs money. 

Here are the cap savings if we cut some of the bubble-type players: Kendricks ($1.1 million); Bell ($700K); Rollins ($450K); Hundley ($200,000).  I cut Hundley and Rollins and kept Bell, Spriggs, and Kendricks.  After deducting $1.29 million for 10 practice squad players, paying each the minimum allowed, I reached the following number for our cap space:

$4,500,550 dollars.

A word of explanation.  The NFL team cap limit is $177.2 million, and Green Bay had $3.934 million to roll over.  Our team-specific cap limit thus should be $181.134 million.  That is the number Sportrac uses and that I have used.  But OTC uses $184.862 million, a difference of $3.72 million.  I think this is the explanation: Green Bay filed a grievance over Bennett's $6.3 million signing bonus, and by CBA rule only 40% of the amount subject to a grievance counts against a team's cap.  40% of $6.3 million equals $3.78 million.  If Green Bay loses its grievance, I expect OTC and the NFLPA to reduce our cap space by $3.78 million.

Paying Mack in 2018:

 

Mack wants something in the area of $20 to $22 million AAV according to various reports.  Let's compromise at $21 million.  Green Bay often structures its contracts so that the first-year cap hit is between 50% and 70% of AAV, which translates to a cap hit in 2018 of between $10.5 million and $14.7 million.  Where would Green Bay find $6 to $10M in cap space?

1.    Cut or trade Matthews.  That saves $11.34 million and probably pays outright for Mack, who would be the direct replacement for Matthews.  We would have to hope Perry stays healthy and that Gilbert, Biegel, et al. can be solid rotational players.

2.    Cut or trade Cobb.  That saves $9.1 million.  We have to hope we have an internal replacement who can play the slot, or just put Graham in the slot and hope we have an internal replacement at the boundary receiver position.

3.    Extend CM3 and/or Cobb to reduce their cap hits.

4.    Reduce Rodgers' cap hit by several or even many millions for 2018.  Fill in if necessary by cutting Kendricks and Bell to save $1.8 million more.  This option complicates structuring Rodgers' cap hit for 2019 to 2022.

5.    Trade Clinton-Dix to get $5.96 million in salary cap relief.  It is too late to get cap relief by cutting him.

6.    Convert $5.7 million of Daniels' base to a signing bonus to get $2.85 million in cap relief.  Convert his active game bonus too.

7.    Convert $4.935 of Bulaga's base to a signing bonus to get $2.4675 million in cap relief.

8.    Convert $2 million of Crosby's base to a signing bonus to get $1 million in cap relief.

9.    Extend Daniels, and/or Bulaga, and/or Crosby, and/or Clinton-Dix.

10. Demand a pay cut from Matthews.  With Mack signed, much of his leverage disappears.

 

I do not see any other contracts that could be modified.  Bakhtiari, Perry, Adams, Linsley, and Taylor all have minimal base salaries so there is almost nothing to convert to a signing bonus.  Several of them have large roster bonuses, but I am assuming that those bonuses have already been paid and thus those cannot be converted to a signing bonus.  I am not advocating for any of these options: they are simply where the money is.

 

Another scenario involves sending a first-round draft pick and Perry to Oakland in exchange for Mack.  That would provide $2.75 million in cap relief in 2018 while leaving an $11 million dead money hit on the books for 2019.  Strangely, it also nets $3 million in extra cap space in 2019.  Note that Oakland's cap hits for Perry would be a mere $2.75 million in 2018, $11 million in 2019, $10.6 million in 2020, and $10.4 million in 2021.  Perry's cost to Oakland would be 4 years for $34.75 million, a huge saving over the cap hits Mack would probably cost.  It is about 41% of Mack's cap hits, and Perry would have no dead money at all. 

Perry earned a $4.3 million-dollar roster bonus for being on the roster on the 4th day of the league year last March, and I am assuming Green Bay has already paid him that bonus.  In the unlikely event that the bonus has not been paid and GM Gutekunst could induce Oakland to make the payment, then trading Perry would provide $7.05 million in 2018 cap relief, but the $11 million dead money hit in 2019 wound remain unchanged.

 

Options 1 and 2 should supply enough cap space to pay for Mack in 2018 without changing the cap situation in 2019.  Options 3 and 4 also might pay for Mack in 2018, but they would reduce our cap space in 2019 and beyond.  Option 5 leaves us without a free safety, and might not quite pay for Mack.  It probably would need to be combined with one or more of the other options, or by cutting Kendricks and/or Bell.  Option 6-8 each taken alone would be insufficient to pay for Mack.  At least two of those three options would have to be done, plus something more, like cutting Bell and Kendricks.  If Perry were traded to Oakland, add $2.75 million to the cap saving generated by whatever option or options are selected.  We might have a small amount available to roll over into 2019, and we would have $3 million more cap space in 2019. 

 

Paying Mack in 2019:

 

Green Bay often structures contracts so that the cap hit is 90% or a bit more of AAV in year two of five-year contracts.  That would lead to a 2019 cap hit of $19 million for Mack.  OTC and Sportrac agree that Green Bay will have $38 million in salary cap space, assuming a $190 million team cap limit and zero dollars rolled over.  Paying Mack reduces that to $19 million.

Rodgers is scheduled to have a cap hit of $21.1 million in 2019, but what will it actually be?  There is no real precedent for the contract structure of players who are extended with 2 full seasons remaining on their contract.  Assuming Rodgers gets $32 million AAV in new money on a 5-year deal, he would receive $202 million over seven seasons.  That means the Packers could distribute the cap hits over seven years -- about $28.86 million on average, but most likely the cap hits would increase progressively.  A 10% annual increase seems to work, so Rodgers’ cap hit could be just $2 million more than currently scheduled, or it could be considerably more.  Let’s assume it is $3 million more.  That would leave about $16 million in cap space, depending on which option or options were used to generate the necessary cap space in 2018.   

Our currently scheduled free agents include Matthews, Cobb, Clinton-Dix, Wilkerson, Marcedes Lewis, Montgomery, Kendricks, Ripkowski, Ryan, and Bell.  Allison would be an RFA. Could Green Bay re-sign the players it wants to retain with $16 million in cap space?  I would suggest that Green Bay would let some of those players walk even if they had not signed Mack.  Bell, Ryan, perhaps Kendricks come to mind.  Some players, like Ripkowski and certainly Ryan would come back for the veteran’s minimum if Green Bay even wanted them.  Most of the rest depends on how those players performed in 2018. 

It would be hard to envision Green Bay signing any but the most moderately priced free agents in 2019.  Mack/Gilbert might make CM3 expendable in 2019, and arguably in 2018 for that matter.  One of the rookie wide receivers might make Cobb expendable.  Montravius Adams/Lowry might make Wilkerson expendable.  I do not see any obvious internal replacements for Clinton-Dix, or for the blocking prowess of Lewis, and to a lesser extent, Kendricks.  Bulaga would be a target as a cap casualty prospect if Murphy or Spriggs develop.  That is a pretty rosy view, but Green Bay could probably retain enough of its free agents to be a contending team.

 

Character Matters:

 

Character matters when a team makes this large of a commitment to a player.  Green Bay does not want to sign the next Albert Haynesworth.  I am referring to effort here in the upcoming years, but also to how Mack would conduct himself over what probably would be a five-year contract.  I have considerable sympathy for rookies since the veterans sold them down the river in the last CBA.  Mack was not able to negotiate most of the terms of the contract he signed, and since the NFL is the only employer that pays, he had little choice but to sign. 

Since the contract terms were not those he had much say in, I do not consider holding out to be indicative of poor character.  I view it as an efficient breach, which is an old concept in contract law.  The contract specifies what happens if he holds out, or reports in time for week one or week five of the season, and as long as he is willing to accept those consequences, I just do not think the team or fans have a legitimate beef.  I view those consequences as a liquidated damage clause in case of a breach.  NFL rookie contracts look very similar to predatory loans.

Ian Rapoport’s report that Oakland and Mack’s team have not spoken since early February of 2018 strikes me as extremely odd.  Note that Oakland does have the cap space to sign Mack (even now he counts as $13.84 million against their cap), at least as far as 2018 is concerned.  Oakland has $45 million in cap space in 2019, but also 23 undrafted free agents, mostly who I would describe as lower-middle-class types.  Perhaps Oakland is suffering from sticker shock or is stingy; rumors suggest that Oakland’s owner is short on the ready cash necessary to be escrowed; perhaps Mack’s demands are extraordinary in terms of guaranteed money or in contract structure.  Perhaps Mack might be more flexible if he thought he was being traded to a super bowl contender instead of staying with the team that has gone 28-36 in his four years there.   

Conclusion:

There is no cushion in the figures I used.  IR and PUP designations cost cap space every year and add up to millions.  Still, paying Mack is doable, if only by the hairs on Green Bay's chin.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (67) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

Yeah, we could do it. And, while it would hurt, we could do the draft next year without a 1st round pick too.

Think about this:

Resign HHCD. Extend CM3 to a much lower AAV deal. (or ship him to OAK as part of the deal). Extend Rodgers to keep his 7 year AAV under 28m/yr. Let Bulaga walk after this year and I'd rather have Mack than Wilkerson....

Bakh/Daniels are signed for another 2 years. Graham is here for 3, or cut after this year if it doesn't work out.

Who else do you want from this current team that's going to cost big $$ before 2020? It's a very young defense at this point. Maybe a RT?

Point being, it would get financially tighter with Mack on board, but it is doable. You pay for top tier talent. Plus, OAK is going nowhere this year in the AFCW. Their owner has no money (by pro owner standards). Their stadium makes no money. And they're moving in 2 years.

If this staredown continues for another week or 2, a trade becomes feasible.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Why would you prefer Mack over Wilkerson? Let's see what Pettine does with Wilkerson before we call Mack or Wilkerson better or worse. If you go back and watch Wilkerson prior to being paid he was extremely disruptive. His play fell off after getting paid. Same could happen with Mack in theory.

Bearmeat's picture

Pretty simple:

Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels. That's why.

Thebearsstillsuck's picture

I don't think Wilkerson is here next year no matter what. He's either going to price himself out of town or play his way out of the league. And I would be extremely nervous about paying him the money he's going to command next year if he plays good this year

Southside's picture

Nice speculation, but the price tag is way too high. It's just not going to happen. Also the Raiders are not going to let him go. They will figure out something and sign him.

LambeauPlain's picture

But that is the point...the Raiders cannot sign Mack with the resources currently available. They would have to cut key players to do it.

This is why Mack's holdout is causing a bigger and bigger rift between the two sides at Raiderland.

Mack has them by the short hairs and he knows it.

Sean-Luc Shanahan's picture

There would be a cap hit if we traded Perry. 15.3 million of Perry's signing bonus would be accelerated next year and be applied to our cap. Because it was a signing bonus that would not be collected by the Raiders in such a trade.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

There would be a dead money hits, but Green Bay would get a $2.35M to $2.75M cap savings in 2018 (I had no way to tell whether Perry earned his $400K workout bonus since he was injured). Since it is a post-June trade, only the $3.7M proration of his signing bonus attributable to 2018 would accelerate into 2018's cap. I assume he has been paid his $4.3M bonus back in March. That's $8M dead vs. a cap hit of $10.75M, so there is net positive of $2.75 ($2.35M if we paid the workout) for 2018. His contract has three more $3.7M signing bonus prorations, which = $11.1M: that would accelerate into 2019. Since his cap hit is $14.7, the cap savings would be $3.6M.

4thand1's picture

The Raiders will be in Las Vegas soon, is there a state tax there? I don't think so. Raiders keep Mack, they can't afford to let these kinds of players walk.

Michael Hughes's picture

It can be done however ...

Regardless of how you manipulate the cap, 22m buys you two 11m players. So its the equivalent of giving up clay, cobb and two first rounders.

Happy to give up 2 first rounders if you get him on a rookie deal for 3 years. Happy to pay 22m in free agency. But both of these is foo much. We still have plenty of holes for next year and pulling 4 blocks out isnt really viable.

You can do this kind of thing when you have nailed the draft for a few years but we havent.

The other thing to bear in mind is that we have drafted exclusively defence for pretty much 4 years. When you do that really should be able to hope the defence can get it done without something like that. The offence is getting old and is filling up with late round and undrafted players. It desperately needs draft love next year and trading that away for yet more defence investment is questionable.

dobber's picture

" But both of these is foo much."

Dave Grohl agrees.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Reminds me of the CHTV podcast that talked about Christopher Walkin hosting SNL with the Foo Fighters as the musical guest. The Foo Fiiighters!

LambeauPlain's picture

Both 2019 #1s and CMIII for Mack or the highest 2019 #1 after the season and Perry.

Perry has more value due to his age and he gets moved with a signed contract for the next few years.

I do either one for the best edge rusher in the NFL. He'd be like Reggie White 2.0 for the Packer D.

How many offers has Gute discussed with McKenzie?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

If you send Perry to Oakland (and wouldn't you envy Perry replacing Mack at the exact same position Mack played?), we would have Mack, Gilbert, Rookie/Biegel in 2019. We might be right back to the days where CM3 was our only real pass rushing threat and there was no bookend to complement him. Of course, maybe someone blossoms, or we keep one of those first rounders and snap a pass rusher in the allegedly deep prospect pool in 2019. The article wasn't meant to advocate, but point out the possibilities.

Maddygirl1's picture

Agreed! It never made sense to me to trade Perry either. the point in aquiring Mack would be to strengthen the front 7. While Perry always seems hurt and probably a bit over paid, he sets the edge well, is very powerful and is a pretty good pass rusher. We would need him opposite Mack. With either CM3 moving to ILB (to take Ryan's place) both this year and on a more reasonable contract next year, or cut/traded to save cap dollars. I'd rather try to keep the trio of Perry, Mathews and Mack, but if I had to I'd move Mathews over Perry.

croatpackfan's picture

As I thought, cutl half od the team to sign one player...

Too expensive, way too expensive...

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Really, Cobb or CM3, or extending both might scrape up enough in 2018. You might be right, both in terms of draft picks and/or players.

I suspect that one first and something extra, like a 2nd, might do it. GB could even condition it, like the 2nd only if the first turns out to be later than pick 12. I mean, Brees could have an injury that destroys their season. IDK, sometimes I am shocked by how much teams give to move up in the draft and shocked by how little teams got for trading their talented and proven problem child players.

Hawg Hanner's picture

Matthews makes sense in the trade and a #1 and maybe a #3. Two firsts for a guy without a long term contract is absurd. If they are allowed to lock him into an agreement as a condition that makes it worthwhile.

croatpackfan's picture

Yeah, let's say you are right. And we can trade Matthews (who is obviously not good player any more, for you!) and 1st and 3rd rounder.

If you are on McKenzie position, will you accept that conditions? If yes, what do you think owner of Oakland Riders will do to you?

Do you really think Oakland think that Mack is not worth better price? If they know he is not worth better than old "bad" player and 1st and 3rd rounder, why do you think that he will bring "Reggie" level to the Packers?

I think that Packers are not wealthy enough to buy cheap...

croatpackfan's picture

I agree TGR. But let be honest. Do you really think that Packers have enough time to prepare Mack for the season (you'll get half season only)?

Second, why do you believe Clay and/or Cobb will accept restructuring. They saw how Packers handled Jordy Nelson situation and they are completely aware that restructuring are taking money from them with no guarantee that they will be members of the Packers next season, after restructuring their contracts...

This is something many of us here forgot. THIS IS BUSINESS ONLY! Business for our entertainment. Loyalty is only to the bucks and bucks comes only if you can sell products to the crowd. There is no sentiment here...

I know for sure Gutekunst ("Fine art") knows that very, very well... And he did one very hard decision already by letting Jordy go...

Wake up people. We will be entertained well this season. We do not need Mack for that!

EDIT: And that is all with presumption that Mack will not be injured and that he will be able to play!

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Re-structure equals pay cut. CM3 might because otherwise he gets cut. then he finds out what his fair market value really is. My guess is that he says no to a pay cut, preferring a multi-year deal from another team with a signing bonus. It is mid-August and lots of teams are low on salary cap space, but somebody probably gives him some money, but it probably is a bad or mediocre team. Maybe he thinks GB can win a SB with Mack, Perry, CM3 and Gilbert at OLB, a fine DL, and enough at DB? I think Cobb refuses a pay cut as well. He is getting $9.4 in cash and his fair market value is arguably over $7M, so it isn't that much money anyway.

Can't extend both. Money works in 2018, but not in 2019 if GB wants to re-sign more than a few minor FA types.

IDK if 4 more practices and 3 more preseason games are enough to fully prepare Mack. I'd guess it is enough to get him on the field a lot. Ask Dobber, Flak, MITM, etc.

croatpackfan's picture

TGR, first, there is no sign that Raiders are willing to trade Mack!
Than comes all other things...

DD's picture

Not worth it. I don't disagree with some of the cuts, but not for Mack-burger.

PatrickGB's picture

For me, it MAY be doable, but it’s not feasible. I don’t like the terms and I am not impressed with the man as a person. It’s just my opinion but unless he comes in cheaper, I don’t see it happening. Of course if it does I will cheer him on.

ShanghaiKid's picture

I’m on the fence about it this. On one hand guys like Mack don’t grow on trees, on the other hand that’s going to be a lot cheese (no pun intended) to give to a single player.

Having two 1st round picks next year gives the Packers a lot of flexibility. I expect both picks to be in the 24-32 range. You could trade both and possibly move in the top 10 for a difference maker at pass rusher for a lot cheaper.

All in all, I don’t think it matters as ultimately I’d be shocked if a trade for Mack was facilitated. But it definitely keeps the off-season interesting.

Maddygirl1's picture

I hear ya and respect your opinion... but what about THIS year??? The more times we "push back" and keep thinking towards the future, we're missing a great opportunity for the present. There's nothing guaranteed for future draft picks either.

ShanghaiKid's picture

As long as Rodgers is unsigned they’re just not going to give out that kind of money to anybody else. I’d love it if the Packers won now, and Mack would certainly help facilitate that. But to trade for a guy without paying the face of the franchise is not good business.

Maddygirl1's picture

Not sure Rodgers has to come first. His contract is much more complicated. He said he is hoping to have some sort of sliding contract. And a guaranteed one. Both tricky. And to add to the mix, he's still under contact for two more years. Most get reworked in the last year. Plus the Packer could in theory still franchise tag him for two more years after the next two! So... technically, the Packers could hold his rights for the next four years.

Of course I'm sure the Packers and fans would rather have a happy franchise qb, than play hardball with him and make him mad. But it's the facts of the situation. In fact, if Gute could pull of the Mack hiest, if anything it might make Rodgers feel with the new GM in place, and showing how much different he is than Ted ever was and that he will do anything to improve the roster, it might convince him he can elevate his legacy as GOAT here.

Will it happen, who knows? We should know in the next week or two I would think.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Maddygirl have to disagree on almost everything you have said. Rodgers has not said he wants a sliding contract he said the contract will take care of itself and he wants to be a Packer. We as fans have no idea what exactly Rodgers wants and how complicated the contract will or won't be.

As for Kahil being a sure thing vs. drafting rookies there's risk in both. Mack has been a force in Oakland but for 20 mil+ a year that's what we're currently paying Rodgers. There's no guarantee after being paid and switching teams that Mack will be a game changer. I personally think he would be but a draft player could have the same impact if not more. Look at CM3's first couple of years.

Maddygirl1's picture

It's ok to disagree. Not everyone agrees. I don't agree with your assessment.

Peter King and other national reports )all we have to go on) have said Rodgers wants a contract that will keep him among the highest paid qbs in the league and to somehow structure a sliding guaranteed contract. They don't make something like that up out of thin air.

As for Mack, I don't think I ever said he'd be a sure guaranteed thing. I said he would be more of a guaranteed thing than a high draft pick (assuming they couple their 2 first round picks and move up in the top 10 to be sort of comparable to K Mack in talent and value. Of course a high draft pick could turn out to be an all-pro, defensive player of the year in his first few years like Mack. But the point is he could also bust. Mack has never missed a game, made pro-bowl/all-pro and DPOY in his 4 years, in the NFL (not college). That's about as proven/guaranteed as it gets. Could he suddenly get hurt, sure, like any player. Could he suddenly decide to tank, i guess but why would he? If anything I'd bet he'd rather player for a perineal super bowl contender with a hall of fame qb.

But that's cool if you don't agree. Gute will be the one making the tough decisions. This is all just fan talk....

Maddygirl1's picture

I'd move Cobb over Mathews for sure.

It appears we have more talent at reciever (including tight end) than at linebacker. If Burks doesn't hold up, especially against the run, I'd move CM3 to replace Ryan. Having Mack, Perry and Mathews/Martinez would be a pretty good group. Not sure we have a great slot WR to replace Cobb. Maybe Jimmy Graham or even Ty Montgomrey??? Or maybe one of the young rooks. But just overall, seems we could replace his value better than CM3. Then I'd try to resign CM3 for a reasonable contract next year to make the full time move to ILB.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Does Oakland need a WR? They have Nelson, Amari Cooper, Bryant. At TE they still have cookie. Sounds great saying trade Cobb over CM3 but why would Oakland want Cobb's contract?

Maddygirl1's picture

I meant trading Cobb to any team in need to clear money for Mack, not just the Raiders. I should have clairfied. We'll see if anything happens...

Jonathan Spader's picture

If the Packers did find a trade partner for Cobb I think ESB could be a real weapon in the slot.

Maddygirl1's picture

Maybe. Very possibly. He just seems like a classic tall lanky long-stride perimiter guy to me. I want to see more of him in the pre season for sure, but so far I like what I see. Seems a very smooth route runner. But certainly we have 4 promising young recievers.

What do you think about Montgomery at slot? Quick, good hands? Also I'm hearing talk of Graham in the middle more.

Maddygirl1's picture

Here's another thing I haven't heard or read...

If I was Gute, I'd approach Aaron Rodgers and ask him how he would feel about getting an all-pro, defensive player of the year pass rusher. I'd remind him that it would show how serious he is of winning in the present. I'd also remind him that he could be GOAT and cement his legacy with a few more Super Bowls. But i'd tell him that we can go get him if you can be a bit more flexible with your salary demands (ala Tom Brady), and see what he says. Of course he needs a raise but he needs to know we can't be hand cuffed either where we can't surround him with top talent to win more Super Bowls.

I wonder if Gute talked to him a bit if he'd be a bit more flexible and might get him super pumped about this franchise for the future. He wants to be paid but I can bet you he also wants to win and have a legacy. I bet he's be all in on bring an impact blue-chip player like Mack!

Maddygirl1's picture

Also, let's see a vote who thinks Ted Thompson would even be considering any of this!

My vote is Ted would lock himself in his bedroom closet, turn the lights off and sit on the floor rocking back and forth saying "draft and develop, draft and develop, draft and develop..."

How great is it to have a smart, aggressive new GM that doesn't ignore ALL ways to improve a roster. I always said Ted was a decent scout, but a bad GM. This change should have happened years ago.

Oppy's picture

Ted went to the FA market last year. It didn't work out, but he did it (and he did it with more than one guy, even).

He also went the FA market the year before. It did work out, but they didn't get him resigned.

He also did it with Ryan Pickett and Charles Woodson. Those TWO were huge.

True enough, the only player trade I remember Ted being a part of was for role player Derrick Martin (He actually got something for Tony Moll, which was pretty impressive in its own right, and Derrick Martin was used as a core STer for a few years).

Maddygirl1's picture

Yes, I know he made a few free agents, but it's well known he has the least free agenct signings in his tenure than any other GM. And it was BY FAR. Not even close to other GM's. Great ones build on smart drafting and developing but the best also use smart free agent signings and smart trades. Gute seems to have used more roster building techniques this year than Ted has probably in the last three years of his career. From trading Randall for a young qb with some talent to develop (per Mcarthy), to working the draft to get top talent at a position of need (defense) AND aquiring an additional first rounder, to signing the best TE in Graham, the best blocking TE in the league in Lewis, a starting CB in Williams, etc. Yes we had to let Nelson and Burnett go, but I think most all would say this roster is much better. Even him not being afraid to talk to the media. Saying under his rule, he will be in on every top player opportunity (ie. Mack). Not sure Ted would have done ANY of the things Gute has done!

Oppy's picture

People need to remember, Ted Thompson built a Super Bowl winning team. A team that, for all the people who believe TT ran the franchise into the ground over the last 5 years, somehow magically has those same Packers fans believing a single off season has turned the Packers back into super bowl contenders. I'm as excited about Gutekunst as the next packers fan. And I do believe the Packers can be legitimate SB contenders. But Gute is a first year GM who has yet to win a regular season game.. who learned his trade from Ted Thompson, who he still leans on heavily as both his senior advisor of football operations, and as a mentor.

The only people who show so much disrespect and contempt for Ted Thompson are fans. What a shame. All he did was build a wildly successful team.

Maddygirl1's picture

Whoa... pump the breaks there Oppy... I never said Ted was a horrible GM over the duration of his career. I think he was bad the last few years or at least below average. Any GM who is affraid to use all methods to build a roster imo is not a good GM. If it was that easy, every team would do that. If you're going to only draft and develop, you better produce a pro-bowl caliber player just about every year to be a super bowl contender. Of course having a HOF QB helps, but you saw what this roster looked like when he went down! OI also never said that I didn't appreciate his early years when he helped build a super bowl team. Imo, he was better earlier in his career with the Packers than later. People need to realize that it's okay to move on from people. They need to realize this is a performance-based business and not be so sensitive and personal. These people make a king's randsom and they all understand if they don't perform, weather a player, coach or GM, they will be replaced. It's that simple. And the Packers clearly agreed otherwise Ted would still be the GM if he was doing a great job. It's really got nothing to do with disrespect or contempt, it's the clear fact he has been in decline and not open minded to use all ways to improve the roster. It's not just the fans, as you say. Coaches, players and evidently the Packers top brass agreed a change was over due and needed. IMO, it should have been made a few years ago. But better late than never. I agree with you, I do really like what Gute has done so far. Hopefully, like Ted, he can build a top-tier roster to get to the Super Bowl.

WKUPackFan's picture

Sounds like you're the person that needs to move on. TT is no longer in control. What is your purpose in bashing him?

And make no mistake about it, you are being disrespectful of, and showing contempt for, TT. Otherwise, you would not keep wallowing in the past.

Maddygirl1's picture

Has there ever been an Offensive Player of the Year and a Defensive Player of the Year voted in the same year on the same team???

It could happen in GB!!!

TXCHEESE's picture

I'm not sure I would give up that extra 1st round pick next year. You may get the next Khalil Mack in the draft next year at a fraction of the cost. Unless Mack comes down on his asking price, I say pass. The guy is a real talent, but what happens if you spend all that money and he gets injured...then you are s-c-r-e-w-e-d! No way I trade two ones for a line backer, unless he's the next LT.
Maybe Oakland gets desperate and we swap Mack and CM3, plus a couple of bags of balls.

porupack's picture

Oakland, please sign Mack, so we Packers fans can go back to appreciate our 1st real offseason upgrade in the past 6 years, and not have to read another fantasy; dream team conspiracy plot.

Wait, I take it back....I hear Brady is a little disgruntled with Kraft, maybe he wants to stick it to ole Kraft and come over for a hundley, Kizer and 2 draft picks to be backup. Guys like brady don't grow on trees. Belichik can put both Hundley and Kizer on the field in two QB sets in a Belichikian innovative way.

Maddygirl1's picture

Nahhh, I'd still take Rodgers over Brady... no thanks!

Samson's picture

Really don't like the idea of depending on CM3 and Perry to stay healthy and actually lead the Pack deep into the playoffs anytime soon (2018 or 2019 or 2020).

However, I doubt Mack has enough ability or character to pull the Packer "D" to the SB either.

The best Packer LBs in the next 2-5 years are still playing college football.

jww061356's picture

I think Mack would be a big piece of the puzzle, very much like White, Favre, Woodson, or any combination of lesser acquisitions that Wolf pulled off to build the 95' roster. The trick is recognize two things: 1) opportunity and 2) a window to take advantage of it. Probably a top five defense(barring unusual misfortune on the injury front) by midseason. If you have that and decent protection for Rogers in Green Bay, you are a SB contender, IMO.

jww061356's picture

I say if he can be had for a 1st and a 3rd next year, + Nick Perry, pull the trigger. Sounds like at the very least we will swap the China Doll for a guy the plays 16 games.

Guam's picture

TGR: Thank you for a detailed and very thorough article. Really good read!

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I have to admit it's funny seeing yall arguing over this and downvoting each other when this is really unlikely to happen anyways.

dobber's picture

...and when the Raiders have really given no indication that they're shopping Mack.

Oppy's picture

Speculation and sensationalism is the fuel that keeps sports fans motors running.

DraftHobbyist's picture

Great article. Even if we assume you got some stuff wrong, this is the type of thoughtful article that brings great information to a great website, and then we can try to poke the holes in the logic. Having said that, I'm left thinking what we're really improving. So lets say we're basically upgrading Matthews to Mack in 2018, and then I don't see any way we're getting all of those top guys signed for $16M in 2019.

I really think Khalil Mack is being overrated to some extent. Yes, he is good. Yes, it's awesome he hasn't missed a game due to injury. Having said that, last year he had 10.5 sacks. You want to sacrifice so much Matthews + top starters for a 10.5 sack guy in 2017? So about 2016: 11 sacks. 2015 was the big year with 15 sacks and he trailed off ever since. Of course, he does other things, but if you are buying him for his sacks then you may be disappointed.

Give me Clay's 8.5 sacks last year in 14 games (only 2 sacks less in 2 fewer games last year), and then let me re-sign Clay next to another contract for cheaper, plus keep the Draft picks. That also gives us the time to Draft a pass-rusher if we want, especially with two 1st Round picks next year to try and trade up if we want to go that route. And btw, Matthews himself does quite a bit outside of just sacks.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Thanks. The biggest things that I see that can be questioned are the projected cap hits for Mack and AR. I think the most likely consequences to signing Mack would be having to cut CM3 in 2018 and wave goodbye to Cobb in 2019 and just take the Comp pick. Probably ditto for Wilkerson, but Wilkerson leaving has been kind of assumed my many already.

I like CM3 more than most. If cut tomorrow, I think someone would pay him $8.5M to $9M for one year. The thing is, I am not sure I want to give CM3 a signing bonus and 3 additional years that extend into his age 33, 34, and 35 seasons.

In 2019, I rely on M. Adams (with Lowry the rotational player) to replace Wilkerson. I rely on one of the rooks/Allison/Kumerow to take over at X split end with Graham moving full-time into the slot OR one of the same, perhaps ESB or Moore, to become a nice slot receiver, and split Graham out wide more.

I am a little surprised that no one questioned GB having just $4.5M in cap space.

L's picture

I've been all over that approximate $5M in cap space.

I really wonder when the M.Bennett dead money will get resolved as it would really help clarify what additional moves the Packers could make this season.

DraftHobbyist's picture

My main question, which you brought up here, is about Aaron Rodgers. He's 34 now, and he'll be turning 35 this year. When he starts getting close to 40, he's not going to be the same QB. In fact, we're probably pretty dang close to seeing some drop-off. I think a contract with incentives based on how well the team does would help protect the Packers from overpaying while helping Rodgers protect the ceiling of his value if he finds a way to stay as amazing as he is now. One great thing here is that Rodgers probably doesn't want to get overpaid because he's already made a ton of money and he wants to stay competitive I'm sure. Getting overpaid means he probably doesn't win any more Super Bowls. I have to think he wants at least one more Super Bowl desperately to pass up Favre.

Lphill's picture

Sign Bowman and Reid keep the draft picks , I think that alone will upgrade the defense , imagine selling the house for Mack and he plays like a dog or gets hurt . It could be a disaster.

Maddygirl1's picture

Agreed. We are pretty thin at both safety and ILB. If Dix goes down, we're in trouble. If Martinez goes down, we're in trouble. Adding some good, expereinced talent at a reasonable cost is smart imo.

lebowski's picture

As this rumor has been floating around the internet for several days now, I find it funny that Florio hasn't mentioned a peep about it on PFT. If this were the Vikings with a shot at it, he would have had a dozen posts already with how it could become reality. Can't believe he hasn't had another about them getting Larry Fitzgerald again this summer.

tincada's picture

MF hasn't mentioned it because he and most folks who haven't suffered brain frost bite know it's not ever / never going to happen.

tincada's picture

Seriously? I guess the Mack rumor won't die. These guys have had their head in the snow banks way too long. Answer this question. When was the last time GB paid serious $ and threw in some draft picks for anyone? Crickets.

mrtundra's picture

Never in the TT era, but we're talking Gute, now. Anything is possible.

D Ernie's picture

Hey this guy just wants to avoid taxes is all. He doesnt want to be traded only paid later on when they are in that great no tax state of Nevada.

He wouldnt accept a trade to somewhere where they tax you with Vegas close at hand.

Joe Garbarino's picture

You don't worry about which FA's you'll be able to retain in 2019, to be a contender. If you get Mack, it's because he and Rodgers make you a contender by themselves. This guy is a difference-maker. You don't find those at the end of the 1st round. Mack played at U of Buffalo and he was discovered and drafted in the top 5.

DenePhillips's picture

The Packers need to get K. Mack. There is no question in my mind. Not only is Mack a great player,but a team leader. I consider some guys like B. Martinez and M. Daniels as defensive leaders, but not so much C. Matthews (Glamour Boy) as he just goes out and does his job most of the time. K. Mack may be the closest impact player next to Reggie White, of course there will never be another Reggie God rest his soul. The Packers need to move on this. Too many times have the Packers played around and lost out on opportunities. This is a golden opportunity for the Packers. They have the cap space and they have 2 first round picks and they can maneuver money around with C. Matthews and R. Cobb as we have plenty of WR's in the mix; The time is now Gute! We have to match up fire with fire on defense with the Vikings. Remember, the old adage: "Offense gets you to the playoffs, but defense wins Super Bowls."

DraftHobbyist's picture

How come people aren't talking about more of a potential that the Raiders simply don't think Mack is worth it? And if they don't think he's worth it, should we really sell out for him? People talk about Mack like he's a 15-20 sack guy every year, but he's not that kind of guy.

He was 15 (and tied for 16th and 17th) last year with 10.5 sacks. Remember, he never missed a game. Other guys did. In 2016, he was tied with Nick Perry and Erik Walden with 11 sacks for 8th-10th. Again, remember, he didn't miss a game while other people did. Sure, if you want to go all the way back to 2015, he was 2nd with 15 sacks in his breakout year, but ever since, teams have been able to deal with him. The grass is always greener on the other side.

I really like the duo of Matthews and Perry because I think you have your speed rusher (Matthews) and your honest rusher that can hold the point of attack (Perry), the only thing I don't like is the injury history, but there's no guarantee Mack will stay healthy, either.

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