Packers Salary Cap: Are They "All-In" For The 2021 Season?

What is GM Gutekunst's philosophy going forward?  Is he "all-in" or does he still have an eye on 2023 and beyond?  Are the Packers using a two, three or four-year window as a guide to the offseason or are they looking for a seamless transition?  Gutekunst spoke to the media on Monday. 

GM Gutekunst said that he is always working in a 2 to 3-year window.  He said that if there is an opportunity to take some risks to win now, they are in that mode.  He also said the Packers were excited (about Aaron Rodgers] for years to come and that he is comfortable having a quarterback sit for years behind the starter.  He noted that the Packers had been given some information and had a pretty good idea about what the salary cap would be and he said it would go down, but no one tried to pin him down to a specific number or even a range.  Andy Herman noted that the Packers had been reluctant "to borrow against future cap to open salary cap space now - is that a philosophy that needs to change to deal with ... the potential lowered salary cap."  GM Gutekunst disagreed with the premise, suggesting that the Packers had "done that in the past and would have to do that this year for sure."   He also said that the Packers had at times in the past pushed cap hits into the future and would have to do some of that this year.  You can listen to GM Gutekunst's press conference by clicking on this link.

After listening to the interview twice, I do not think the philosophy is to retain as much talent as possible even if it means significantly mangling the contract structures by using void years and the like.  I suspect that losing some productive starters and significant contributors is acceptable as a general philosophy in order to maintain stability over the next four seasons, and that risks will be taken on a case-by-case basis.  Gutekunst some time ago indicated that the Packers would like to generate enough cap space to be in a position to sign one or two free agents, given that mid-tier UFAs might be available for less than normal, but it does not sound to me like they are willing to do what is necessary to generate excess cap space.  Indeed, that probably would require Draconian steps.

TABLE 1: 

Type Players
UFA Linsley, Jones, J. Williams, M. Lewis, Taylor, Ervin, Austin; King, Redmond, M. Adams, Harrison, Winn and Burgess
RFA Tonyan, Boyle; Sullivan, Lancaster, Greene, and Nickerson
ERFA Lazard, Ramsey, Ento, Nijman, and Malik Taylor

 REQUIREMENT 1:

The Packers must be under the 2021 salary cap limit by March 17, 2021.  Field Yates reported that the Packers will rollover $3.748M from 2020 into 2021.  No one knows what the salary cap limit will be.  There are reports that it might be $180M, $185M, and $198.2M.  It is known that the NFL and the Union have agreed it will not be less than $175M., so let us use that number.  With the rollover, the Packers have an effective salary cap limit of $178,748,893.  Using the Rule of 51, I calculated $212.1M in liabilities whereas Ken Ingalls reached $212.2M.  After adjusting for dead money and miscellaneous charges, I reached a net of negative of $34.486M and Mr. Ingalls reached $34.513M.  I shall use his number - click here to see Ken's numbers.  OTC and Spotrac have different numbers to which I shall pay zero attention.

There are four ways to attain the $34.5M goal:  Extensions, Restructures, Pay Cuts, and Releases.  Note that re-signings and/or tendering contracts to ERFAs and RFAs do not qualify: no player listed in Table 1 can help attain the goal.  Let us look at extensions first.

EXTENSIONS:

I feel comfortable extending Davante Adams.  Great route-runners tend to last a long time, so Adams at age 29 should age like Fitzgerald.  DeAndre Hopkins (age 29) signed for $27.25M AAV.  Julio Jones plays for $22M AAV.  Adams is scheduled to earn $13.25M in cash for 2021, so that is the likely minimum amount of cash that needs to get even if he is very cooperative.  Assuming a 5 year deal (2021 plus 4 additional years), the least his cap number for 2021 could reasonably be is $7.91M, a reduction of $8.877M from his scheduled $16.787M cap number ($1.075M base, $1M in workout and game active bonus, $3.6M signing bonus proration from his current contract and an $11.175M signing bonus, which would be a $2.235M proration.  That gets $13.25M in cash to Adams in 2021, but it is hard to imagine an agent letting Adams sign such a deal.  Such a deal would have a large option bonus or roster bonus fully guaranteed totaling at least $18M (Bakhtiari got a $30M signing bonus, after all) payable in 2022.  A more likely deal would involve a $25M signing bonus ($5M/yr), veterans minimum and $1M in workout/game active plus $3.6M already assigned as a signing bonus from his current contract.  That leads to a cap number of around $10.675M, providing $6.112M or so in cap relief.  Under the latter deal, Adams' cap number might be $10.675M, $21M, $23.5M, $27M, and $31M. 

I could make a case for extending Rodgers, but since I am planning on restructuring his deal, that is just a variation on a theme.  I doubt that  Zadarius Smith (30), Amos (30), Preston Smith (31) or Billy Turner (32) would be inclined to add just one year to their contracts.  It would make negotiating for a third contract rather more difficult for them due to their age when the extended contracts ended (age at that time in parentheses) unless the added year was a void year.  I am not inclined to add more than one year to any of these contracts, either, so that means there is an impasse.  As for restructuring any of these four contracts, the problem is that each one of them only has two years left on the deal, meaning all the cap savings in 2021 would have to be jammed into extra cap charges for 2022.  Zadarius Smith is scheduled to earn $16.5M in cash for 2021.  The Packers could convert $15M to a signing bonus to generate $7.5M in 2021 cap savings or extend his contract by adding a void year to pick up $10M or so in cap savings for 2021.  Just the amounts involved make him tempting.

RESTRUCTURES:

Bakhtiari: I am not thrilled given his ACL injury, but the Packers will certainly keep him for 2021 and 2022 even if he comes back at something less than 100% initially.  So, I expect the Packers to convert his $11.072M roster bonus to a signing bonus to pick up $8.3M in cap savings.  That would increase his 2024 cap charge to over $30.1M, which gives me pause.  His cap numbers would be $10.993M, $22.768M, $26.286M, and $30.268M.

Rodgers: I know there are people who think the Packers secretly want to move on from Rodgers, perhaps in favor of Love, but there is no evidence for this other than the inexplicable decision to draft Love in the first place.  Gutekunst noted that Love had made limited progress due to no OTAs, no preseason games and the truncated training camp.  He also lauded Rodgers, said he was in the plans for future years, and said that he is comfortable with the Packers history of letting quarterbacks sit behind the starter for multiple years.  For those reasons, and because a ton of money is still needed, I would restructure Rodgers in a big way.  Rodgers is due $22M in cash for 2021 and has 3 seasons over which to amortize conversions.  I would convert $17M to a signing bonus to gain $11.33M in 2021 cap savings.  His cap numbers would be $25.872M,  $45.518M, and $34.018M. 

Zadarius Smith is scheduled to earn $16.5M and has a $22.0M cap charge.  He is due a $5M roster bonus on March 20th.  I would convert $5M to $7M to save $3.5M.  That reduces his cap number to $18.5M and increases it to $24.25M for 2022.  More could be done here if necessary: converting more cash or adding a void year, or by adding a year at a salary that essentially requires a renegotiation or release in 2023.

TABLE 2:

Player

Deep Breath

Win-Now

Hold Nose: -$35.5M

Win-Now: -$35.5M

Adams $6.11M $8.877M -$29.39M -$26.623M
Bakh $8.3M $8.3M -$21.09M -$18.323M
Kirksey $5.6M $5.6M -$15.49M -$12.713M
Rodgers $10.0M $11.33M -$5.490M -$1.380M
Z. Smith $2.5M $3.5M -$2.990M +2.120M
    Subtotal for Table 3 -$2.99M +$2.120M

Close enough, at least under the Win-Now calculation.  It is essential to be under the cap before any important cuts are made for reasons noted below.  The problem is that the Packers still need a lot more money and this has been both ugly and a struggle so far!

REQUIREMENTS 2 AND 3:

The Packers will need to have enough cap space to pay for their draft picks (about $1.7M this year), the 52nd and 53rd players ($1.32M minimum), and the practice squad ($1.877M).  That's almost $5M.

The team will also need some cushion for operations starting in September to get through the season ($3M to 5M?).  Call it $4M.  That is not a lot: last year the Packers easily spend $2M because players were sent to the IR or started on PUP who did not have game active bonuses and the team had to promote players to the 53-man roster who would not have been there but for injuries. 

The third requirement is that the Packers have to sign some of the ERFAs and RFAs, since that is young talent that is still relatively cheap, along with perhaps some of the UFAs. 

ERFAs: Lazard is obvious, and signing him costs an extra $190K.  Ramsey, Nijman, Ento and Taylor do not cost much extra, so they are good bets to be tendered minimum contracts given their number of credited seasons, though they might not make the 53-man roster.  The budget should be about $550K.

RFAs: Projected tender amounts per Overthecap: 1st round - $4.766M; 2nd round - $3.384M; Rt. of first refusal - $2.133M.

Tonyan will be on the 2021 team.  It would be interesting to see how the NFL values Tonyan.  I think Green Bay fans overvalue him.  He is an adequate blocker.  He is not a mismatch against safeties or against some linebackers.  He does catch everything.  Tonyan turns 27 in April.  His minimum base salary for 2021 is $920K and the Packers like their game active and workout bonuses.  The Packers might try to sign him to a three or four-year deal, but only if the 2021 cap number comes in around $3.384M; otherwise the team should issue a second round tender.  Under the Rule of 51, tendering Tonyan knocks a player making $660K off the list, so $3.384M minus $660K means a budget of $2.724M.

Sullivan: He was not great but the Packers are not re-signing King and Sullivan played 729 snaps (71%), so finding two starting CBs is too tall of an order.  Given the disparity in the quality of his play between the 2019 and 2020 seasons, valuing Sullivan could prove difficult.  The Packers tender him at the 2nd round level.  Under the Rule of 51, the tender will knock a player making the $660K minimum off the list, so budget $2.724M.

Boyle: The Packers like him but not at the tender price.  The Packers sign him for $1.3M and he gets budgeted for $640K.

Lancaster: He played 352 snaps.  The Packers have Clark, Lowry, Keke, Rush and Previllion signed for 2021.  He is good depth and is worth $1M to $1.3M on a one-year deal.  Budget is $1M minus $660K or $340K.

Greene/Nickerson:  The Packers were better with Greene on the field, but he cannot stay healthy.  No tenders for either player.  The Packers might sign them for their respective minimums.  Budget is $850K minus $660K or $190K each.

 UFAs:

M. Lewis can return since the Packers need a blocking tight end for this offense and he continues to do that well.  I suspect he could be signed (if he doesn't retire) for $1.75M.  He would displace a player who is scheduled to make $780K so the budget is $970K.

Ervin probably gets another veterans qualified contract at the minimum plus a $137K maximum bonus.  His cap number would be $987K.  He displaces someone making $780K.  The net is $207K under the rule of 51.

I see no cap space to sign Linsley, Jones, J. Williams, King.  Taylor, Redmond, M. Adams, Harrison, Winn and Burgess might get some interest.  M. Adams might return in addition to or in lieu of Lancaster since he should not be expensive.  Redmond is a competent backup safety when he is allowed to play deep.  At $920K, he easily might be signed.  Most of the others would only command the veterans minimum and might come back on qualified contracts, which are for $850K second-year minimum plus up to a maximum of $137K in other compensation.

Table 3:

Player/Expense Expense Hold Nose: Carry -$2.99M Win Now: Carryover +$2.120M
Draft -$1.7M -$4.69M +$0.420M
PS -$1.877M -$6.567M -$1.457M
52nd and 53rd -$1.32M -$7.887M -$2.777M
       
Tonyan Tender -$2.724M -$10.611M -$5.501M
Boyle -$640K -$11.251M -$6.141M
Lancaster -$340K -$11.591M -$6.481M
Greene -$190K -$11.781M -$6.671M
Sullivan Tender -2.724M -$14.505M -9.395M
       
UFDAs -$550K -$15.055M -9.945M
       
M. Lewis $970K -$16.025M -$10.915M
Ervin $207K -$16.232M -$11.122M
       
'21 Operations -$4.0M -$20.232M -$15.122M

Paying the Tab: Releases and Pay Cuts

Preston Smith: release him with a June 1 designation (prior to his 3-20-21 roster bonus due date) to save $12M on the salary cap.  To use the June designation, the player has to be on the roster at least for the first moments of the 2021 league year.  I even checked with Ken Ingalls on this point.  So it is crucial to be under the salary cap prior to the start of the league year so one can release players with a June designation.  If the Packers release Preston Smith on March 16th or earlier, they cannot use the June designation and can only generate $8M in cap savings.

Dean Lowry:  He is scheduled to earn $4.8M in cash for 2021.  OTC thinks his play in 2020 was worth $4.45M, but the market for mid to lower mid-tier players might be down in 2021.  The Packers might ask him to take a pay cut of perhaps $2M.  He might say no.  The Packers run defense was much better starting in week 15 through the conference championship game.  Lowry knows the Packers have Clark, Keke, and little else (Previlion, Rush, and Delanae Scott) under contract, and that they might re-sign Lancaster, M. Adams or Snacks Harrison.  Lowry played 601 snaps.  The Packers could release him to generate $3.3M in cap savings ($4.8M using the second of the maximum number of two June designations).  Personally, I think they release Lowry with a June designation figuring they can find a run stuffer for $1.5M or so.

Adrian Amos: he played much too well to release and he is scheduled to earn $7.3M in cash in 2021 ($10.3M cap number).  He is 28 and is under contract for two more years.  He is worth that money, but the Packers could convert cash to a signing bonus to gain a maximum of $3.1M.  That would make his 2022 cap number $14M.  That's too rich for me.  Perhaps the Packers convert $3M to a signing bonus to gain $1.5M, making his 2022 cap number $12.4M. 

Wagner and Turner:   Bakhtiari might return in September but it could be December, if at all.  He probably starts out on PUP and/or IR.  That leaves Wagner and Turner as the OTs.  That is not ideal but the alternatives seem to be few.  There is no indication that Nijman is ready.  Wagner is scheduled to earn $4.25M but he is not under contract for 2022.  His cap savings would be $4.25M.  I do not think he can be replaced for that amount, so a pay cut is difficult to get.  Veldheer is 33 and played 35 snaps in 2019 and 67 in 2020; he might demand that much anyway.  I think Wagner is better than Veldheer.  Yes, Wagner had a bad game against the Bucs, but Bulaga had an awful game against Seattle years ago and the team did not chuck him away.  Wagner has to stay.  The Packers could extend him, but he would be 33 in 2022. 

Turner is scheduled to earn $6.175M (cap savings of $3.9M).  He has to stay for the same reasons as Wagner plus he has versatility.  He has cap numbers of $8.4M and $8.1M.  Converting $3M to bump those numbers to $9.9M and $9.5M seems doable, and generates $1.5M in cap savings.

Crosby will earn $3M in cash and has a cap savings of $2.5M.  I suppose the Packers could elect to convert $2M to generate $1M in cap savings if they were desperate.

Misc.:  Jaire Alexander has a $3.834M cap number.  He is subject to a fifth year option for 2022.  It would be difficult to lower his cap number.  If Devin Funchess does not make the team, the Packers would pick up $1.265M in space.  Lucas Patrick has $1.95M in cap savings if released, but he looks like the starting RG or OC.  He could be extended, but it would be difficult to lower his current $2.06M cap number.  I am running out of players: releasing Josh Jackson generates almost $700K and Burks generates $285K or so. 

TABLE 4:

Player Paying the tab Hold Nose Carryover -20.232M Win Now - Carryover -$15.122M
Preston Smith +$12M -$8.232M -$3.122M
Lowry +$2M to +$4.8M -$6.232M to -$3.432M -$1.122M to +$1.678M
Amos? $1.5M -$4.732M to -$1.932M +$378K to +3.178M
Turner $1.5M -$3.332M to -$432K +$1.878M to +$4.67M

CONCLUSION:

Having run out of players to consider, one could go back and reconsider how to treat some of these players' contracts.  More of Rodgers' cash could be converted to a signing bonus.  I changed Zadarius Smith's contract moderately, but he has $12M more in base, workout and game active bonuses, $11M of which could be converted to a signing bonus.  One could do more with Turner's contract.  One could add void years to some contracts and extend more players to get cap savings.  The Packers could use easily attainable incentives that the NFL would consider not likely to be earned - the Eagles know how to be creative.  Teams can exceed the cap limit without penalty if NLTBE incentives push them over it: the excess just gets dumped into the next seasons cap like dead money. 

If the cap limit is set at $180M or some other higher amount, obviously the Packers could elect to squeeze the current contracts less.  They could try to sign some of their UFAs or go shopping in what might be a depressed market.  Elite players still seem to be getting paid, so if the rest of the NFL views Aaron Jones and Linsley as elite, then they perhaps might not be bargains, but Jamaal Williams might be subject to a depressed market.  I would expect the Packers to look at UFAs coming from other teams as well, particularly run-stuffing defensive linemen.

I have the Packers losing a starting CB, a starting center and running back, another running back who is a big contributor, and then a few other depth types.  The 2019 draftees played 2,241 snaps in 2019, whereas the 2020 draftees played just 607 snaps.  The 2019 UDFAs played over 500 snaps and the 2020 UDFAs played just over 600 snaps.     

I fear that this article will not age well.  If the reports are correct, the Packers offered top 5 running back money to Aaron Jones, but without sufficient guaranteed money.  I do not know how to offer Jones $12M+ AAV on a pay-as-you-go basis with a $175M cap limit.  It might be possible with a $180M or $185M limit.   

 

 

 

        

   

 

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Comments (21)

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 04, 2021 at 06:16 am

I expect to feel like the Earth during the Late Heavy Bombardment period - there is just so much to take issue with in this article.

I wrote this article on January 29th. And on Feb. 1, and now on Feb 4. This is the one I dislike the least.

The way the Packers front office spoke over the last few weeks, it sounds like they are living in a different dimension from the rest of us. And maybe they are, since they have a better idea of what the cap will be than I do. If it is $190M, what I read (like we'd like to have some space to be a buyer in the free agency market and offering Jones $12M+ AAV) makes sense.

I was going to keep track of how much cap was being pushed into 2022 but without knowing what the cap for 2022 might be, it seemed unnecessary. Off the top of my head, $5.33M for AR, $2M for Bakh, $9M for Adams, $3.5M for Z Smith, $1.5M for Amos and $1.5M for Turner. Something like $13.8M. The total dead money would be more, starting with $11.333M for AR and $8.03M for Bakh.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

February 04, 2021 at 07:59 am

This was a tremendous and very helpful breakdown. Unfortunately, unless the revenue loss from 2020 is backloaded there are a lot of teams that are going to be facing many difficult decisions for 2021. If the cap is in fact set at 175MM or close to it, we could see a lot of relatively young veterans on the street this year who will either need to take contracts far below market value to play, and the surplus of available players could also just force some of them out of the NFL for a year (which could effectively end their careers). This would have a huge negative impact on the quality of the on field product and would also taint future CBAs (I would even see the NFLPA using this as a reason to strike for an early renegotiation of the CBA for fully guaranteed contracts).

Hopefully the NFL and NFLPA were able to reach an agreement on the cap number that doesn't cause drastic gutting/reconfiguration of teams league-wide, because otherwise I don't think a lockout is entirely out of the question.

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flackcatcher's picture

February 04, 2021 at 05:13 pm

"I expect to feel like the Earth during the Late Heavy Bombardment period "... Been there, done that. Have NO wish to see that again. (Don't ask) All this comes down to Cap number. More and more I believe the organization have made a series of decisions that will put the team on the front end of some massive Cap hits come 2022-2023. While the Gute and Ball must think the revenue stream will rebound, and the Cap will bounce back up in 2022-2023. Given what we know, I don't see it. What makes this curious, is as GM Gutekunst has never lied in his end of the season presser. He has always laid out the road map for the Packers in coming seasons. And his course clashes with what revue the organization has on hand. Interesting...

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Bearmeat's picture

February 04, 2021 at 07:42 am

Man, TGR. I am not a numbers guy, admittedly. But all I can say is that I'm glad I'm note Gute or Ball.

Drafting Love last year makes everything murky for the next 2-4 years cap-wise and roster wise. It makes an exercise like this almost impossible to generate cleanly. Kudos for your attempt, even though you're probably right that it won't age well. Who knows (other than Gute/MLF and Ball and maybe Murphy) what 1265's Front Office plans are from now through 2024.

I agree that it's safe to say we are not going to be adding pieces and will lose every remaining UFA we have. I also don't personally happen to think this will be a big loss, with the possible exception of Jones, we have replacements on the roster already, or the starter wasn't good (ahem King). But how do you navigate the cap crunch at a bad time for GB? You can't go all in. You can't blow it up with ARod at 38. You can't trade him after an MVP year.

This is outside the scope of the article, but after losing last week, I finally started to accept that we will probably finish the 92-25 window with 2 top 10 HOF QBs with only 2 titles. We had our chances and choked more times than I'd care to admit. :(

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Matt Gonzales's picture

February 04, 2021 at 08:16 am

I expect the average roster age of the Packers, and many other teams, will go down pretty significantly this year if the cap is under $180MM. The silver lining is that the Packers have done a pretty decent job putting jars on the shelf in several positions. Deguara could replace Lewis and the two TEs that played more at the end of the year look like they could carve out spots on the roster if needed (and that would support more of a focus on the run game), and I'm still not really sure what we have in Sternberger. Dillon and running backs TBD on the backfield. Patrick, Runyan, and Jenkins will all be producing on the OL on cheap contracts. Gary looks ready to be the feature OLB/EDGE guy if one of the Smith's become cap casualties. MVS continues to make strides as a receiver who can do more than catch balls 20+ yards down the field.

I think this could be a rough year for the Packers personnel-wise... but outside of the youngest teams in the NFL where most of their production is coming from folks on their rookie contracts, it is going to be that way for everyone.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 04, 2021 at 09:11 am

I agree about the jars on the shelf part. It looks like Dillon can be a starting RB but there is no backup. Look for a veteran cheap and a day three pick (GB has 7 picks on day 3). It will be different though.

Gary can replace Preston, but that leaves no #3 OLB. GB liked Ramsey, Garvin and Tipa. They need refinement and some of them need strength and weight. OLBs are hard to come by.

Deguara will get a lot of snaps but he isn't an inline blocker. OTOH, I budgeted $1.75M for Lewis. GB should be able to find a blocking only TE and/or draft one on day three.

Hard to picture the def. backfield being Jaire and Hollman at corner, rounded out by Amos, Savage and Sullivan. I am not sure what to make of Vernon Scott or even Henry Black. I like Stanfield Samuels a lot and Ento has a chance as a nickel or dime back. Probably looking a using a premium pick at CB. Not sure what Vernon Scott and Henry Black bring to the discussion.

If Lowry accepts a pay cut, fine, though I am leaning towards just releasing him. If not, GB can find a run stuffer for $1.5M and should be able to for the $2.8M I assigned to him. Keke is a decent jar on the shelf.

GB needs IOL depth but it has been adept at finding it in the 3rd through 5th rounds. Runyan was up and down, but probably wouldn't be a disaster. I thought Stepaniak was a savvy pick.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

February 04, 2021 at 11:11 am

Depth at OLB is definitely an issue, and not a new one. Who they bring in at DC will dictate it a bit but it would bring some more flexibility if they went with a couple tweener/elephant guys that could play on more of that 5 man front, but that's also asking a lot for a rookie.

I hate to see the Packers having to dump more high draft picks into the defensive backfield considering how few have planned out over the last 5-6 years, but I agree it is probably necessary. Missing on Jackson, Randall, and Rollins is really hurting this team.

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stockholder's picture

February 04, 2021 at 07:48 am

I think you out did yourself. Table 3 is my favorite. I don't see Gute in a Win Now. It's already been 3 years since he took over. I don't see him making cuts. I see him letting players go. This draft has everything he needs for the future. And Aaron Rodgers will get him the bargains he needs. Just in case Rodgers over Achieves again. So honor the contracts. Don't extend anybody. And put it on Rodgers again.

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murf7777's picture

February 04, 2021 at 08:07 am

Wow, that’s a lot to take in! Good analysis thou. What it tells us is that we might have gotten too aggressive in 2019 bringing in 4 high priced FA’s in the same year. I brought that up two years ago when they were signed and my comment was frowned upon.

From what I’m reading, even with cutting some vets and URFAs, it doesn’t leave much room to improve the roster. We have a pretty darn good roster with a MVP QB so if we get 3 or 4 draft picks who can become starters or quality back ups we should be fine making another run at the SB. Another way to improve the roster is via trade, which I suspect will happen this year.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 04, 2021 at 09:17 am

Maybe so about the 2019 free agents, but they hit pretty well. Z has outplayed his deal. Preston outplayed it in 2019 but not in 2020. Not terrible though. Amos has been solid and worth every penny. Turner was okay in 2019, roughly worth it but no more. He saved the day in 2020 so even though he isn't dominant or even a really good LT or RT, he's enough to get by on until Bakh returns (fingers crossed - doctors have gotten good at repairing ACLs but there are a small percentage of players who don't come back the same).

It is possible/probable that Russ Ball has better ideas. I don't know what these players will accept. Extending Z and Amos by two years would be okay with me and would ease the congestion.

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Guam's picture

February 04, 2021 at 08:19 am

TGR: Any reason Kirksey wasn't on the potential cut list? He might be a more likely casualty than Lowery. As you noted, Lowery played near his contract even if that wasn't all that well during the first half of the season. Kirksey was outplayed by Barnes and was relegated to the weak side ILB spot by midseason. I don't think he played anywhere near his contract for most of the season.

Great information TGR and as fans we can only hope that the cap is higher than $175 million. Pushing that much restructuring into 2022 - 2023 does not bode well for the future. The cap hits for Rodgers and Z. Smith get just nuts down the road.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 04, 2021 at 09:20 am

Kirksey is on the cut list to get down to the salary cap. Because GB has to keep P. Smith and Lowry on the roster into the 2021 league year (if even for just a few minutes) in order to use June designations on them, Kirksey is in Table 2 as a straight release to comply with the March 17th cap.

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MarkinMadison's picture

February 04, 2021 at 08:44 am

Bravo. I'm going to have to re-read this after work to make sure I understand it. I agree with your last point - no way the Packers make the offer to Jones if the cap is $175M. The Bakh deal will hamstring this club for years to come if he is not productive. Hindsight is, of course 20-20. No one was complaining about the Bakh deal before he got injured, and I don't mean to complain now, but the facts are what they are.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 04, 2021 at 09:26 am

Some people thought it was a lot of money. With a $19M cap number, in his absence GB could have signed Linsley, Jones and Jamaal. But then they would need an LT and a starter to boot. Converting his roster bonus lowered his cap number to $10.99M, but that would cover Jamaal and perhaps either Linsley or Jones - maybe a bit of a stretch there.

I think Bakh's absence is why we lost to the Bucs. He'd have handled JPP on his own and help could have been given to Wagner or Turner at RT. It looked like Patrick had a rough day but not everyone agrees with me on that, so it could have been Turner at RG and Wagner at RT, with help sliding right often. Vea showed a good bull rush as well, which clogged up AR's escape areas.

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murf7777's picture

February 05, 2021 at 08:00 am

I think Bakh's absence is why we lost to the Bucs. .....I felt that was the major reason as well. 2 three and outs after our INT’s put the nail in the coffin.

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89Chewy's picture

February 04, 2021 at 09:46 am

Great article and how to run it all down!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 04, 2021 at 09:54 am

Andy Herman just put out this 15-minute podcast on this very subject. Link below.

Two things without giving Andy's stuff away: RFA tenders are not guaranteed. If they don't make the team, they don't get any money. In my article, I was trying to say that I am not sure Tonyan's market is known. It is possible that the Packers and Tonyan and his agent won't agree on it and thus necessitate the RFA tender rather than an extension.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8SsmdNQ5-8

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Since'61's picture

February 04, 2021 at 10:14 am

TGR - a great job on the cap analytics. The numbers will be what they will be and they will be dealt with.

What concerns me the most about this article is that Gute will remain in a 2-3 year window. That means he’s not going all in and that we will always be in a 2-3 year window without making it to or winning the SB.

In effect every season begins another 2-3 year window. This means every season we will be a player or 2 short and there will be the players who are exploited during the playoffs, e.g., King.

With the Packers drafting at #30 we can’t realistically expect much help from the draft. And it sounds like they have no plans to play Love for at least 2-3 seasons, which is fine, but why spend a #1 pick on him.

I like the job Gute has done so far but some of his comments and actions are not very consistent with each other. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Matt Gonzales's picture

February 04, 2021 at 02:21 pm

That's the age old question. Is it better to maximize the number of swings at the pinata, or swing as hard as you can and hope to hell you don't miss? Is it better to build a baseball club on power hitters who will strike out more, or maximize on base percentage?

Green Bay, for as long as I've followed football, has focused on long term stability and hasn't had to endure cut and guts. They've never bought into the "one player away" mentality, and even though there have been heartbreaks you knew every August you could safely bet on the Packers playing for more than just pride in December.

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flackcatcher's picture

February 04, 2021 at 06:44 pm

Every team is in a two-three year cycle. The NFL/PA contract locked that in. Gute was ahead of the curve, given how the Packers did their team building in the Wolf/Thompson eras. Owners and Players have no idea the damage they are doing to the league.

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PeteK's picture

February 04, 2021 at 12:43 pm

Fantastic job, this looks to be similar to dealing with our tax laws. You must be an accountant. On a positive note, we have all the important positions covered with excellent players . So even if we're drafting low, good players can be found. Chiefs found a good CB (Sneed) and RB (Edwards-Helair) and two DL and a LB that contributed. It just puts more pressure on having no misses. Unfortunately, The Bucs have plenty of cap space.

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