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An Early Handicap on Potential Packers Cap Casualties

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An Early Handicap on Potential Packers Cap Casualties

The 2019 Green Bay Packers draft class certainly added a considerable amount of depth to the roster which will make for some interesting positional battles during the offseason.  This could be one of the most interesting Packers training camps in years because several players are entering the final years of their contracts and could become expendable with the added depth at certain key positions on the roster.  

If a certain rookie or second-year player(s) shows great promise and is worthy of a starting spot during the preseason, the Packers could be forced to make some tough decisions when constructing their 53 man roster this September.  

Here are some players the Packers could move on from if players at their position groups emerge as key contributors this offseason: (Salary Cap Numbers compiled from Spotrac.com and overthecap.com)

1. Mike Daniels: 1 yr/$10.72 million ($2.4 million dead cap).  With the emergence of Tyler Lancaster, James Looney, last season and the selections of Rashan Gary and Kingsley Keke this season, Mike Daniels could find himself on the outside looking in if one or more players from this list emerge.  

All of these young players are on rookie contracts and moving on from Daniels could save the Packers as much as $8.3 million in cap space during a time when the Packers don't have much financial flexibility and are looking to get younger.

2. Brian Bulaga: 1 yr/$8.35 million ($1.6 million dead cap).  Brian Bulaga has been written about as a potential cap casualty for what seems like the last two seasons.  Two years ago, releasing him did not make sense from either a roster standpoint or a financial standpoint.  Now, the Packers find themselves with enough depth and enough of a financial gain to consider parting ways with the veteran right tackle.  

3. Tramon Williams: 1 yr/$6.375 million ($2.625 million dead cap) Tramon Williams finds himself in the midst of a very crowded young and talented defensive backfield with players who are rookie contracts.  If Joshua Jackson makes the year 2 jump, Kevin King stays healthy, and either Tony Brown or Ka'Dar Hollman emerge as rotational players, the Packers could be forced to consider releasing Williams to save some cap space and develop the younger players in the secondary.  

4. Mason Crosby: 1 yr/$4.85 million ($1.25 million dead cap). The only way I could see Mason Crosby being released is if Sam Ficken makes it to training camp and then puts on a kicking display.  The more likely move would be to sign Crosby to a team friendly extension that would save the Packers $2-3 million in cap space.

*These four transactions could save the Packers $20.1- $22.5 million on the 2019 salary cap. (spotrac.com and overthecap.com)

My Take:

Personally, I think the Packers should hang onto all of the players on this list for a few reasons.  1. They all still have value and will help the 2019 Green Bay Packers. 2. Their cap figures will come off of the books for the 2020 season anyway and will allow the Packers the financial flexibility to resign Kenny Clark and pursue another young free agent or two.  3. The Packers could still restructure or resign these players to team-friendly extensions that will lessen their cap hits in each of the next 2-3 seasons which would make the roster stronger while still providing financial flexibility.  4. The Packers would only need to free up more cap space if a big name became available via trade or training camp release.  The Packers should just sit tight and develop every player on the roster so they can maximize their production in 2019.    

Sound Off:

Let me know if you think any of these players will be released or if there is anyone else you would add to the list of potential salary cap casualties.  As always, I look forward to the discussion.  

-------------------

David Michalski is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter @kilbas27dave 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (63) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Old School's picture

I think it’s bad business to cut decent players to save money when you don’t need to. Sign guys to contracts that you can afford and manage your cap that way.

hobowilly's picture

basically agree; as has been said, until the pads come on NO ONE knows what GB just drafted and if they'll "contribute" this coming season. As i keep sharing, if 1/2 of these guys play and 1/2 of those that play make impacts (put up noteworthy stats) then it's a really good to great draft. The thing we all need to keep our fingers crossed is with Gary...perhaps it'll be worth the high pick gamble that he'll be a Sapp quality type player AND Pettine figures out a way to use him/work him into a situational player. Are you kidding.....who doesn't think the Smith's won't get a lot of playing time? There's really no real pressure to have him be an every down player this next season-IMHO, that's the beauty of this gamble. It's all rookie team potential or bust but just don't give him the one year grade, be patient. Lastly, beyond Savage, i think the Jenkins draft was a sneaky steal and he'll be a really good packer beyond his rookie contract!

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

First, we need to free up some cap space. We should if we can just in general.

Second, cap casualties are part of the NFL.

Third, if players want teams to guarantee all contract years, they should take a discount.

You limit it to decent players. What does that mean? Does decent mean that they are playing at a level commensurate with their salary? How close? I don't think it matters whether they are decent or not, mind.

Daniels and Bulaga would have zero problem making more money in 2019 if they were released. Probably Crosby as well. I don't know about Tramon, but we already have paid him $1M anyway and the roster is not so set that depth at safety and CB isn't a comforting thought. GB would probably try to trade these players: while we'd get more for them the earlier we traded them in general, we won't know whether we have any replacements until probably mid to late August.

Coldworld's picture

That Daniels and Baluga would have “zero problem making more money elsewhere” indicates that you accept others would see them as having significant value, one more than “commensurate with their salary.”

The question then becomes whether that valuation would be based upon the past not present. In those two cases I firmly believe that the odds favor both players being worth their salary and more.

Yes it’s good to have cap space because that is the source of roster flexibility and options. It is not good to create cap space unnecessarily where that space weakens the team and creates higher risk of greater problems. This discussion would be different if we were discussing extending new contracts.

Personally, I believe that Williams’ presence on and off the field in a year of youth and change will justify his retention absent an unforeseen revelation of ability by more than one DB. Cosby should have to compete, but I can’t see them further complicating the challenges of turning special teams around without him being decisively bested in camp.

Old School's picture

I would say that if a guy could make more money if we released them, they’re probably a decent player. And I think a decent player is a decent player regardless of what we decided to pay them.

If you manage your cap well, you don’t have to cut players for cap reasons.

jannes bjornson's picture

If they wanted to cut them, why pay the roster bonuses in March? Workout bonuses etc.

GBPDAN1's picture

Don't cut any of these contributors. The way this team is injured every year.... we need depth no matter what. I think this article upset me.....lol

Packerpasty's picture

"sign guys to contract you can afford"....so guess what you'll have...a bunch of "jags"...you can afford a whole bunch of them and see a repeat of the last two years....its the NFL, premium players cost big bucks....

Old School's picture

So you think signing players to contracts you can’t afford is a solid way of running a business?

hodge555's picture

Injuries aside I personally think the only potential casualty from that list would be Tramon Williams but that means a few young guys stepping up significantly and even then his versatility means there's still a strong case to keep him.

Daren726's picture

TW is too valuable as a leader and mentor to the young guys in the DB room. Plus he can play any DB role. Stupid to cut him for the small amount it would save, even if some of the rookies pan out and second year players make the jump. Too many questions at DB to take the chance of cutting him.

Qoojo's picture

My take on it is that none of these guys, excluding Crosby, are in danger due to salary cap reasons. The only way these guys go is if they show that they can no longer perform or injury.

No rookie is going to replace Daniels. Just not going to happen. Also, Daniels is worth his cap number.

Bulaga is the biggest question mark due to injury. I would almost prefer to see him move to a backup role if one of the new guys can step up. In my mind, it's almost a 100% certainty that he doesn't start all 16 games if he is the starter.

Williams is at risk due to all the new and young talent added in the first few years. This is splitting hairs, but if he is released, it's because the other guys are better, not due to 6 mil of salary cap.

I think there is new regime and Crosby doesn't have too many staunch supporters like MM to keep him around. I see a short tolerance for bad performance.

RWood832's picture

"I see a short tolerance for bad performance."

Shouldn't this always be the case? Each of these players have contributed to the Packers in a big way over their careers. The adage is that you get paid for your performance today, not for your past performance. They will stay, or possibly get contract extensions, based on what they do for the 2019 Packers' team.

sterlingbesteva's picture

I think we should hold onto them all if we want best chance to win this year. Almost guaranteed that there will be injuries in all these position groups, and Tramon brings versatility and leadership that can't be replaced.

Nick Perry's picture

Personally I just soon see the Packers keep each one of those guys for the 2019 season some more than others. Kenny Clark is the stud on the D-Line now and has been since about week 12 of the 2017 season. But now since the Packers FINALLY added some pieces to help Daniels and Clark on Defense I think the possible benefits of keeping Daniels probably outweigh the $8 million in cap space they gain.

On the O-Line the Packers finally have some depth. I understand Jenkins and Madison are unproven but IMO the O-Line is possibly in the best shape since Lang and Sitton were here and Trettor was backing them up.

NO just NO to Tramon Williams. He's always been one of my favorite players and with the youth on this team in the backend is like a coach on the field. ESPECIALLY with the experience in Pettines scheme ANF King's fragile body.

Extend Crosby? After reading about the Bears having 8 kickers in camp and 6 of the 8 missed 43 yard FG attempts makes me appreciate the ole guy a little more. I'm not sure on an extension though. Lets just worry about 2019 first before we start extending kickers.

zeroluv's picture

I would like to see a Bulaga, Daniels, Crosby, T.Williams, Jimmy Graham and Taylor Lane all leave Via Free Agency next year. Each would return a decent compensatory pick if signed by other teams and they all would be signed at least to a 1 year deal as long as we don’t sign anymore FA ourselves in 2020. We are in a youth movement and we need to keep getting younger with talent where we can. I think this draft we just did get us there to feel better about letting the players above walk.

This year we signed 4 players and lost 4 players so we had a wash so no extra picks for 2020.

Johnblood27's picture

Lets not forget a very large reason to keep Daniels and Bulaga for this season and let their respective contracts play out.

If the GBP do not re-sign them and they sign with another NFL team in free agency the GBP will receive compensatory picks commensurate to their contracts, playing time and performance.

If just cut loose for salary cap savings the GBP receive NOTHING.

They would have to absolutely fall off a cliff performance-wise for me to just cut them for cap savings.

As has been mentioned they are proven veteran players and will undoubtedly help the 2019 version of the GBP if they can stay on the field.

Crosby and Williams would probably not garner much interest in free agency and would bring minimal compensatory value.

sam1's picture

Just look at Chicago, a mostly very reliable leg like Crosby would be snapped up faster than you can breathe!

zeroluv's picture

Both players would get snapped up. Crosby would get a multi year deal somewhere and T.Williams would get offers for a 1 year deal somewhere I’m sure. Both would return compensatory picks which would be key

MarkinMadison's picture

Bulaga is so solid when he is on the field that it makes no sense to cut him, and makes even less sense to talk about him as a backup. He won't need a ton of reps in training camp. Pick a guy to be the backup and give him a ton of reps.

I don't see anyone on the roster displacing Mike Daniels. He is still the second best player on the defense.

Tramon could be in trouble, but for a net of $4M I think you hold on to him.

The Packers should find another person to compete (beside Ficken) and really put the heat on him. His performance last year in Detriot was totally unacceptable. If there is a cap hit it should be him.

PeteK's picture

New holder might have not helped Crosby last year. Hopefully back to normal this year.

PackfanNY's picture

The Packers may already have another kicker (besides Ficken) to compete in UDFA Cole Tracey out of LSU. 56/62 on FG’s and 109/109 on extra points.

He is in GB as a mini camp tryout.

Tarynfor12's picture

Letting go is so very hard to do but when you boast of a New Culture and a new way of doing things in the FO, you have to make cutting the strings and easier thing to do.
Many here are already on the side of keeping these older and injured veterans and use the cap savings as a reason not to do so. That means as much as you screamed for a New Culture you cannot cut the strings for those who cannot help this team in the new chapter.
The first injury to Bulaga..gone.
Tramon age will demand it.
Daniels competition may necessitate it.
Crosby may kick the door open for another.
What ever the reason to keep them there are reasons to let them go.
You just needs the guts to close the snips.

Coldworld's picture

I am a better a year early than a year late type. That said, I don’t think any of these players are currently on the cusp of decline such that this is an issue with one year left on their contracts.

Daniels and Williams will be valuable in the locker room and I actually expect Daniels to have a great year given that he will hopefully not reveive such a high percentage of snaps. He missed six games last year and was still credited with more hurried than anyone else. As such, we need him this year while others develop.

Other than his major injury in 2017, Baluga has not missed major time. He played in 14 games last season. When largely healthy, he remains one of the best right tackles in the league. Behind him is a FA fill in tackle, who may project to tackle, Alex Light and a guy projected as a guard. None of these are proven starters. Behind them is Aron Rodgers, the protection of whom I see as a pretty key prerequisite of team success. To assume that Baluga has been adequately replaced is ludicrous at this point. He will stay.

Williams will likely be as valuable for his presence as his play. He will likely be the depth chart for all defensive back positions as well as a mentor.

Crosby perhaps can be challenged, but I doubt that they wasn’t the additional challenge of a new kicker given the magnitude of the other changes to ST under the new coaches.

So I think that it is highly unlikely that any of these players are cut given their contract status.

Minniman's picture

Extending them is a different prospect to retaining an already contracted player.

I would say that right here right now I don't see the obvious day 1 2019/20 season positional replacement for each of these players - and I'd need to see these in action before I would make such a call.

...... I do see Bryan Bulaga's replacement in the 2020 NFL draft though. Also a new Wr1\2.

splitpea1's picture

The Packers have already "closed the snips" on the worst offenders, thankfully. But the rest of these players still have value, and they're certainly not a detriment to the culture. I would be especially nervous about cutting Bulaga--who is the ready replacement? Do you trust Spriggs?

You may have a point, though, about Crosby. He's had a nice career, but if you can find someone that really impresses...then it might be time.

MarkinMadison's picture

So "new culture" has to mean giving people the boot with one year remaining on their contracts and no clear replacements or you're not being "serious"? That's some bad decision-making.

PackfanNY's picture

No way any of these guys should be cut. They all have just 1 year left. Win now teams take these players to the end. If they were going to be cut that should have happened prior to Free agency. Maybe in camp someone like Tramon gets cut because they just have a younger better player but not because of the cap.

sonomaca's picture

I actually think that Lane Taylor is most at risk, followed by Linsley. Pack have cut interior offensive linemen in past.

Don’t see an obvious replacement for Bulaga.

sam1's picture

Linsley, you dying or what?

Southside's picture

Linsley? He's not going anywhere. He's one of their best offensive lineman. Why would you even think that? Are you a Packer fan?

PeteK's picture

Linsley, is a very solid player. Taylor another story. Bulaga's injury history worries me the most going into next season. Turner /Spriggs?

porupack's picture

All the 4 are still needed until the next draft. There is no solid basis to bank on their replacements being as good or better.

Of all, Daniels is needed to lock down the IDL with Clark as a proven unit that all other pieces revolve around.
Bulaga is so much needed with no evidence any replacement is as good. Until then, it is reckless to cut him to save cap when last year Oline was cause of so many failed drives.

If the have to get cap space, then maybe Crosby if a good kicker is in the wings. But...I can just as easily argue he puts more points up than anyone else.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

To gain cap space by releasing these players, they have to be cut or traded prior to the beginning of the season. GB can't wait a whole season to decide. And they won't have much of an idea whether they can do without these players until at least training camp and some preseason games have been played: that is still a bit risky since GB has had many a preseason play champ. More likely GB would only be comfortable with saying bye to these players after some portion of the regular season has transpired, by which time the contracts for all four of these players will have become guaranteed since they are vested veterans.

Edit: GB should try to play some of these new acquisitions to find out if they can play. Should GB re-sign Bulaga if he plays at a high level for all 16 (I hope 19) games? Sure would be nice to have some idea whether Turner/Madison/Jenkins or anyone else can play/start at RT. Ditto for whether they have anyone who can replace Lane Taylor, Mike Daniels, Lowry, Tramon, etc.

porupack's picture

ah, right. Thanks, I totally missed that it was this 2019. I'll humbly delete my comment.

Minniman's picture

Don't be so hasty to step back from your point porupack.

The biggest point in play here, and as TGR conceded, the replacements for these identified players aren't immediately visible on the team - and the time needed to expose this would guarantee each of their next year's contracts anyway.

Sure it's nice to have a cap buffer, but if you can't use it to restock and be competitive when you've had a couple of lean recruitment years then it defeats the point of having a large reserve.

Tramon is probably the least secure of all of these players - if I had to pick one - and next off season is the year to unsheathe the hatchet if players aren't performing to contract size.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I didn't mean to just concede Porupack's view that we shouldn't cut any of these players, I heartily concur with him. I just tried to note that to gain cap space, GB would have to trade/release these pretty good players without really having a proven replacement since it would have to be done before the replacement played a snap in a regular NFL game.

I suppose some of the players could be traded in-season, thus allowing GB to offload some of their salary. If GB can fleece some team like in the HHCD trade and still get a draft pick in roughly the same round the likely future comp pick would be in, that might work for me, depending on how the team is doing - that is, for me, GB would have to be out of the running for a playoff spot.

Minniman's picture

fair enough TGR. I'll trade conceded to the less inflammatory agreed - but all three of us are still in agreement (wrong timing to dump these guys). Good point re an in-season trade, but I truly think that if the Packers are to make a deep post season run then these guys will all be integral to that event (along with their rookie replacements).

Samson's picture

Actually, I'd like all of them to stay. -- It's the depth issue & veteran leadership issue.
However, Tarynfor12 is correct. -- There are many reasons to move on to other players. -- The new regime needs to consider all reasons. --- Fans don't... for the most part.
Consider this.... A young promising talent on a rookie contract gets cut or lands on the PS (and then gets snapped up by another team) ---- because any of these veterans are kept?

Would love if Taysom Hill were still wearing G&G.

CAG123's picture

The Taysum Hill thing is a bit overplayed he would be wasting away on the Packers bench because MM wasn’t creative enough to get an athlete like him involved in various ways. The Saints give him every opportunity to go out there and make plays the most he would be on the Packers is a special teams gunner he’s in a better situation in NOLA.

Minniman's picture

... And while I'm keen to watch his play for another year to see if I'm wrong, I'm not so certain yet that Sean Payton things the Hill is the heir apparent for Drew Brees into the future.

Ryan B Dub's picture

Why isn’t Jimmy Graham on this list?

Minniman's picture

I thought something similar myself, but remembered his circa 5 million March roster bonus which negates alot of the savings.

I see Jimmy as the most likely person to be cut at the end of the coming season (along with Tramon if he's still on the team), but "not today freddie"!

Coldworld's picture

Tramon will be out of contract after this season.

wildbill's picture

Since the players mentioned all still play at a high level I find it hard to believe they would be expendable with them being on their last year of contract. Depth is so important on the long NFL season, next off season is when to make these decisions.

James Martins's picture

Next year we have Dean Lowry, Kenny Clark and Blake Martinez to sign. Probably there won't be cap space to sign all of them. All those veteran players in this article except for Crosby will likely be gone next year, but they are very important if the Packers want to succeed this year.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Bulaga is the only one of these I could agree to if his rehab is way behind before his 2019 salary vests.

Lphill's picture

Let Daniels go , he will land somewhere else, he won’t be missed.

ScaryGary's picture

fuck u, i dare u to say that to mikes face

Savage57's picture

Well, it seems Mr. Pottymouth showed up to join the conversation.

Isn't that special?

I'd say it to Daniels face in a minute, then challenge him to make his arms and legs put up the same amount of effort during games his cake-hole does before and after them.

Lphill's picture

Daniels is good but nothing special , I don’t think he ever made the pro bowl maybe once , my point was if it’s a matter of money he can easily be replaced , he will find another team , and he probably wouldn’t be surprised. It’s a business ,seems you have no clue how about this.

ScaryGary's picture

u and i wont be missed

porupack's picture

Draft and Develop and Donate-
- one of the most consistent Defensive performers over the last 3 years. Ok. Sure. He won't be missed in Chigo and Detro and MInnipo if there is where you live. Or did you have a typo; "he won't be dissed"? Pay the man respecting his record of contribution, somehow.
These guys don't just drop down from the stork. Learn from the JCTrettor and Heyward debacles, and figure out a way to keep your lynchpins. That is the kind of BPA I'll agree with. Not CPA (cheapest).

Since '61's picture

At this point I would keep all of the players listed in the article. I realize that the team wants to move on with a new message and a new attitude but Daniels, Bulaga and T Williams each bring experience and leadership to their respective position groups.

They can be factors in the development of our younger players and they still contribute effectively on the field. The only possibility I see would be to release Bulaga if he suffers a serious injury during TC. Otherwise he should be our starting RT for As long as he is healthy in 2019. Daniels is a solid to exceptional player on the DL and will be playing for his final contract either in GB or
elsewhere. Williams is valuable depth at both CB and the Safety positions. Crosby is a veteran kicker who will benefit from a second season with his LS and holder.
Thanks, Since '61

ScaryGary's picture

arent we all pretty bunch a bunch of gasbags at this point? u gotta play 20 games in a real season and 1 or 2 changes all ur plans. mike daniels is worth his weight in gold. bulaga is a stud. i cant wait to see the rodgers lafleur marriage

Ryan B Dub's picture

If a guy is kept for experience and character let that be just one guy. Not four.

Madfan's picture

I'd rate Lane as the highest likelihood of being cut, but only if Jenkins shows the capability to start as a rookie.

T. Williams could be cut, if age has caught up with him. Otherwise, GB needs a veteran in the CB room.

If Gary shows a lot of early promise, I could see Daniels as an early to mid-season trade. The thought is similar to Clinton-Dix: get something for a player that will not be re-signed. Again, only if there is a player ready to take his place.

Bulaga is in a stronger position after the draft than before. There is no apparent replacement, unless Jenkins takes the LG position, Cole, the RG position and Turner shows he can handle the RT position. Those would be lofty expectations. Again, I would not see a cut, but rather a trade even for a third day draft pick.

Crosby, possibly if Cole Tracy wows everyone in the pre-season.

fthisJack's picture

if the Packers feel like they have replacements for Daniels and Bulaga, i would definitely explore trade possibilities. it would create cap space if it was for draft capitol next year or add a player at a weak spot on the team....MLB ,Edge, CB.
with the depth on the DL, i don't see why parting with Daniels would be a cause for concern. his play last year was not what it had been. as far as Bulaga, one thing you can be certain of is that he will miss games. with Turner, Madison, Spriggs, Jenkins....someone should be stepping up...

sam1's picture

I for one hope that Spriggs is stepping up and out of Green Bay for good!

blondy45's picture

Gute has done a good job on paper this year. I support his draft class, FA additions, and roster deletions. There is a price for all roster spots. Draft capital is at a premium in the earlier rounds. The best free agents cost $. Proven vets cost $ to retain.

BUT.... you have to know when to hold em, know when to fold em. Father time wins every time. I too am on the side of a year too soon, instead of a year too late when cutting vets. This year, we are a little low on cap money for the future. But.. this year we have set up our team to win as much as possible in a big way with all of our additions AND subtractions.

I see Bulaga as a key keeper #1 this year. Mike Daniels will be so much better with the young talent around him this year. He will probably price himself above what the Pack wants to pay him next year. I do not believe T. Williams or Crosby are a lock to keep this year. Both have age & performance issues. The Pack must make sure they have young dependable replacements for these two before they are cap cuts.

In conclusion, I think the Pack must keep Daniels & Bulaga. Crosby must be beaten out in pre-season or kept. Tramon Williams is the most likely to be cut this summer. Father time wins again. Next year we can hope for a very talented Offensive group to pick from in the 2020 draft. The NFL is a young man's game. The Pack must replace men who are not "young".

sam1's picture

I think Williams is a lock as definite quieting Db for the young guys they have back there. Crosby could very well be replaced as he is a left over of the McCarthy era, but too replace him somebody darn good and reliable needs to be available. I think looking a little south helps to explain that reasoning!

Bill Atkinson's picture

No mention of Jimmy Graham, if Steinberger plays well in the preseason, the Packers could trade him.

4thand1's picture

This the N. E. way. There is no room for keeping a guy for sentimental reasons.

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