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Green Bay's Salary Cap Situation After the Roster Cuts

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Green Bay's Salary Cap Situation After the Roster Cuts

Fans now have their first glimpse of General Manager Gutekunst's roster construction philosophy.  We have published the roster breakdown by position already.  I must say it seems odd to me.  There are rumors about possible additional moves GM Gutekunst might make such as waiver claims and trades.  Perhaps the rumors that the Packers are shopping Trevor Davis are still applicable, and that is why the Packers kept eight wide receivers.

The other part of roster construction is the effect of these decisions on the salary cap.  The 53 players currently on the roster have a total cap hit of $162.603 million.  We placed 5 players on Injured Reserve, and they account for $4.812M.  I have a comment on the IR in a moment.

Some of the players Green Bay cut caused dead money hits.  The total was $764 thousand.  Cutting Biegel alone accelerated $520 thousand, while Looney and Donnerson combined accounted for about $160 thousand.  The others were Hundley, Ripkowski, and Hawkins.

Green Bay also incurred dead money of $8.026 million from the 2017 season.  The total of these liabilities (53 current contracts, dead money caused by cuts and dead money from 2017) equals $176.205 million.

Since the 2018 salary cap is $177.2 million, and Green Bay rolled over $3,934,518, our effective cap limit is $181,134,518.  Deducting from that $176.205 million in liabilities, I conclude that Green Bay has $4,929,074 in salary cap space when Green Bay completed cutting down its roster. Note that the minimum salary for ten players on the practice squad is $1.29 million, which would reduce Green Bay's cap space to about $3,639,074 million. 

I am not persuaded that Green Bay intends to keep Rollins, Mays and CJ Johnson on the injured reserve all season.  Teams are allowed to designate players as having a short-term injury.  In that case, the team is required to cut the player as soon as they are able to pass a physical.  Those three players account for $2.129 million against the cap. The team does have to pay them per the terms of their respective contracts until they pass a physical, but I would expect to get a good chunk of that $2.129 million back, which would then be added to our salary cap space.  There is no way to determine whether Green Bay used the short-term IR designation on those three players. I am assuming that Ryan's injury will last the entire season and that Green Bay wishes to retain the rights to Kyle Murphy, so those amounts will count against the cap. 

As I previously noted, some of the websites such as Overthecap and the NFLPA are segregating the signing bonus of Martellus Bennett until Green Bay's appeal of the grievance it filed is finalized.  Bennett had $6.3 million in signing bonuses that Green Bay disputed.  Under the CBA, only 40% of amounts subject to a grievance count against a team’s cap, meaning that 60% of the amount in question does not (roughly $3.78 million).  Overthecap (if you click on their salary cap calculator tab) shows Green Bay with an effective cap limit of $184,862,588, which is $3,728 million more than I used above, and I believe that is because OTC is giving Green Bay credit for 60% of Bennett's $6.3M signing bonus.  They also do not include the money necessary to sign players to the practice squad.

My best estimate is that Green Bay will have about $3.639 million in salary cap space when the Rule of 51 expires, which occurs when the first game is played, and after signing ten players to the practice squad.  It might be a bit less since I used the minimum salary for the ten practice squad spots, but teams are free to pay whatever they like or can afford to players on the PS, and some of the players Green Bay wants on its practice squad might command more than the minimum.  Naturally, I expect General Manager Gutekunst to make additional moves, and I will attempt to update those salary cap ramifications as they occur.  

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4thand1's picture

My head hurts.

GBPDAN1's picture

So does mine.

And I can see why it would have been hard to sign Mack

Duke Divine's picture

Not if they cut .Mathews and traded Cobb

PatrickGB's picture

So, it looks like we could NOT have been able to pay Mack without cutting someone?
It doesn’t sound like there is much wiggle room under the cap after all.
3,639,074 MILLION? ;-)
Damn you Bennett!

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

My last article suggested that GB would have to clear $6M to $10M in cap space to sign Mack. IIRC, I suggested in my last article GB would have $4.5M when the season began since I assumed that Mack's first-year cap hit would be $10M to at most $14M. There aren't that many ways to cut $6M and very few to clear $10M - pretty much cutting Cobb or CM3.

As it happened, I did not expect Murphy to land on IR (-$661K). I did not expect us to cut Biegel (-$208K). I thought GB would keep Bell, so that is basically the difference. Cutting Bell saves about $700K. Kept trying to cut Kendricks ($1.162 savings roughly) but I think GB is going to use a lot of TEs this season. I don't think Tonyan can block like Kendricks.

I do expect to get $1M to $1.6M, maybe more, back from the fringe guys on the IR. Mays should heal in a couple of weeks, right? He saves $517K minus a week or two of game checks. CJ Johnson should be released the moment he is healthy. He's $364K minus a few weeks pay. Rollins saves $945K minus a few game checks.

DraftHobbyist's picture

I think people are really underestimating the odds the Packers re-sign Matthews. He's giving us a lot of production but he's getting older, so we can get a solid rotational EDGE rusher for what I assume will be a pretty good price. And Matthews has the opportunity to play like a starter.

Cobb, on the other hand, has been severely under-performing. I think we can let him walk, because he's probably going to demand more than we want to pay him. Maybe keeping 8 WR's + Graham is some foreshadowing of that. Adams actually jumps $6M in cap space from 2019 to 2020, so letting Cobb walk would help us prepare for that.

On Mack, I'm sure they could make the numbers work, but I just don't think it would be in a way that makes sense for us. And then you lose your rookie contracts for two 1st Round picks on top of that. That's much easier when you aren't paying a QB more than anybody has ever been paid.

Community Guy's picture

i see it similarly although i think OAK is on the hook for a large chunk of Mack's 2018 cap hit.. my guess is that they would have included a player in the deal and/or traded/cut Cobb to give the Packers more flexibility. the cap money is somewhat fungible.. another accounting trick is to restructure current players' salaries and move money into another year.

and, right, Bennett really cost the Packers.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Mack is on his 5th-year option. All of his pay is base salary. Oakland hasn't paid any of that yet and therefore isn't responsible for it. Teams can trade away future guaranteed money and it doesn't count against that team's cap unless they have actually paid money to the player, like a signing bonus or perhaps a workout bonus.

I don't think Oakland owes Mack a nickel. I assume Mack's fines are forgiven.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Or sending salary to the Raiders in the trade in the form of CM3 or Perry.

Duke Divine's picture

Bennett could've been Tinkering Ted's nail in the coffin

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I should note that the rule of 51 applies until the first NFL game is played. So, technically, we have more cap space than the article suggests, but that is what it should be soon. Since GB filed the grievance in 2017, if an award is made in 2018 (either returning Bennett's Signing Bonus to GB or determining that Bennett is entitled to all of his signing bonus, then it counts against GB's 2018 cap, either as an increase or as a decrease. I have assumed we are going to lose in the article, so there would be no decrease. I assumed we're going to lose since we lost the initial grievance and are appealing that loss.

Still, this affects whether GB signs a John Simon or Eric Reid, since our cap space will be low, about $3.6M, when the regular season starts.

PatrickGB's picture

Don’t the guys on IR get an injury settlement? Or are they scheduled to return players?
And who is CJ Johnson?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

CJ Johnson is a guy that we never even tendered like an ERFA or UDFA on a futures contract, so he didn't get a regular contract. The minimum for such players is $363K. [I wrote a similar article on this for Waters which explained why he only cost $348K on IR when he was out for the season in 2017 instead of the usual minimum of $465K for the 2017 season).

Anyway, Johnson badly pulled a hamstring in camp on August 6 and was placed on IR. He is an ILB. Probably was never expected to make the 53 and probably not the PS, so just pure burning of cap space. I am sure he is a fine young man, though.

Duke Divine's picture

So it's not CJ2k?

wertvert's picture

@Duke: What do you mean by the 2K?

BradHTX's picture

It was the nickname of the running back Chris Johnson back in the ‘00s.

Grandfathered's picture

Thanks for the info - sounds well researched. Any idea what waiver wire pickups will do to the cap, say in a week from now?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Most likely little. Most waiver wire pick-ups will be for the minimum or not much more than that, and we will cut a guy at the minimum or making not too much more. But sure, there could be some noticeable changes, particularly if we sign a vested veteran who got released.

kevgk's picture

Its interesting to see the difference in payment between the total offense and defense. Seems like thats what happens when the majority of the defense is high round picks on rookie contracts.

ScaryGary's picture

people can talk shit about ted thompson, but he was the best gm in the league over a ten year period. he put us in position to win big one every other year

Skip greenBayless's picture

I agree. I for one am old enough to remember the 70's and 80's when we had a damn judge and some committee business leaders calling the shots. It was a joke and we were the laughing stock of the league for a long long time. I have nothing but admiration and respect for Ted Thompson. He should get a street named after him too. You listening Green Bay? Don't forget about Ted!! He's earned it!!

KenEllis's picture

Maybe, but that 10 year period expired 3 years ago.

Not getting to >1 Super Bowl with Hall of Famers at QB every season is just not that impressive.

Oppy's picture

Or, fans don't appreciate how truly difficult it is to win a superbowl in a true team sport that requires 63 men to work together in a grueling season of attrition in the free agency era of great competition and parity.

Skip greenBayless's picture

We don't agree on Boyle but this we can agree on Oppy. When you think of that 2010 playoff run and how lucky we were in the first Phili game. If Desmond Bishop doesn't trip up that receiver, Aaron Rodgers is looked at like Dan Marino. Even before that just to get in the playoffs was a miracle that year with that Phili/NY game where Phil had a miracle punt return allowing GB in the playoffs. It is extremely difficult to win a super bowl and you need tons of luck and good health. I am happy with one in ten years. The ball never bounces perfectly. Just ask Brandon Bostick.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Dash: the coin doesn't always flip all the way. Just ask Aaron Rodgers.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

There are a couple names one just never utters on a Packer website forum. One is TJ Rubley and the other is Brandon Bostick.

Sure wish reporters would do quality follow-up stories with guys like Bostick and Rubley. What happened in their career after their football snafu? What kind of treatment did they receive from fans? How did they handle it once it was over? What is/was their 2nd career, and how are they doing in general? Reporters are lazy and do the easy stories. These types of stories would be amazing to hear more about and what readers would want to know about.

Minniman's picture

Dang Oppy, that hashtag nearly had more characters than twitter allows!

Spock's picture

KenEllis, Not getting to the SB in 2014 had NOTHING to do with TT.

BradHTX's picture

You’re correct, it didn’t. Neither did 2011, when the team was good enough to make it, but the death of Philbin’s son derailed them before the game against the Giants. They legitimately had three chances at the Super Bowl in a five year period. That’s not unimpressive.

That said, Ken’s not wrong: since 2015, Thompson’s record as a drafter and roster manager fell off a cliff. Witness the fact that the 2015 class is almost entirely gone after yesterday (though admittedly, it was a weak draft class across the board). That the Packers made it to the NFCCG against Atlanta is purely a testament to Rodgers’ greatness but the game itself showed they had no business being there with the roster they had.

Thompson did great things for the Packers — from 2005-2015. He got us a fourth Lombardi, and for that he and McCarthy do deserve respect and admiration just as much as Wolf and Holmgren. But let’s not kid ourselves either: he outstayed his welcome by a couple of years and should have retired sooner than he did.

dobber's picture

When you forsake FA, as strongly as TT did, even a better than average drafter is eventually going to fall behind. I'm not going to argue whether TT was better than average in the draft, but he was probably better than average in finding stopgap talent as UDFAs (which every team tries to do).

Some beat on 'draft and develop' as if it's a fad and only one or two teams do (or did) it. EVERY team does it and relies on it. This is what makes FAs available in the spring. The hard cap means you need to find cheap, serviceable talent from any source available...UDFAs, the draft are the prime sources of that talent.

Demon's picture

Wow! I hope your employer doesnt have random drug testing.

GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

He’s a dufus.

Duke Divine's picture

Tinkering Ted did a nice overall but Randall, Rollins, and Bennett and his overall garbage group at safety since his diamond pick of Nick Collins did him in. That and the unwavering rigidity.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Ted was not a "tinkerer". He was a solid straight forward hard working scout who did his homework and relied almost exclusively on draft and develop and nobody was better at it than him. You mentioned Randall, Rollins, Bennett and Nick Collins. A defensive back, a tight end and a safety. Ted actually struck gold at all positions with Nick Collins, Jermichael Finley and Sam Shields. Those are all pro bowl picks and Shields wasn't even drafted. Those three all suffered neck/head injuries and were forced to retire. Is that Ted's fault? The past couple drafts were in response to losing those major playmakers. It's tough to get similar talent back.

Signing Bennett was a total disaster and something Ted normally would not have done. I don't blame him for that but many others are piling on forgetting just how great he was at his job. I'll never forget. He'll be first ballot hall of fame in Green Bay and will also have a good shot in the NFL hall of fame. Ron Wolf got in and Ted is every bit as good if not better than he was. He deserves our respect for the great job he did putting us in a position to win every single year.

Archie's picture

Thompson, McFatty, Dom Capers, Winston Moss and several other braintrust persons shall live in infamy as the reasons GBP failed to achieve greatness under #12.

Since '61's picture

Dash - I saw TT as a good GM overall but while he did put us in a position to win he often did not do enough to get us over the top. We had weaknesses at Safety, RB, TE, and ILB for years before he acted. We're still weak at ILB.

There were seasons when players were available that he could have signed that may have helped the Packers win another game or two during the regular season that would have improved the Packers playoff seed. That would have allowed the Packers to play at home during the playoffs versus playing on the road. Also, the Packers needed to rely on either young/inexperienced players or second and third tier players to make plays while our playoff opponents brought seasoned veterans against us (Randall against Larry Fitzgerald in OT in 2015 is just one example, there are many others but it will take too much space).

Finally I do not believe that TT was as good as Ron Wolf. Wolf was a legend in the NFL before he even came to Green Bay. Beyond that his Packers team would slaughter TTs Packer teams. Wolf's teams were better balanced offensively and defensively and had better players at OL, RB, WR, DL, and CBs. QB is the only position where TT had a better player (Rodgers) but TT also had Favre for a few seasons. Wolf went out and got Keith Jackson when we needed a TE and then signed Andre Rison in 1996 when the Packers WR corps was devastated by injuries. Those 2 moves were significant in reaching and winning the SB in '96

From 1995 - 1998 Wolf's team went 48 -16 (.750 winning %) and 6-3 in the playoffs with an SB win and 2 SB appearances. They were the dominant team in the league during '96 and '97. Of course much of that was due to Head coach Mike Holmgren who was a better coach than MM and I am an MM supporter but he's not Holmgren.

TTs teams have been good but never dominant except maybe for the 15-1 season in 2011 but that team had a weak defense and their excellent regular season record was washed out with a bad loss to the NYG in the divisional playoff game.

Ron Wolf was a sure HOFer, TT (at least to me) is a definite maybe. Thanks, Since '61

BradHTX's picture

Perfect summary, Since ‘61. His one failing was his inability to adjust when his Draft and Develop philosophy didn’t work well enough.

Since '61's picture

Thanks Brad, I'm just trying to provide a little perspective. Since '61

Demon's picture

Perfect summary 61 my thoughts exactly!!

croatpackfan's picture

That "Tinkering Ted" did not run away from the team when hard times came, like one Hall of Fame GM very appreciated in Packers Nation. He stayed and tried to help the team through troubled waters...

I remember how many of you here was salivate over interception made by Alexander on the deep ball. Randall did that kind of interceptions regularly (last time against Seattle in Green Bay at the end of the half!). Despite that you are still willing to spit on Randall and Ted Thompson!

I also remember how many of you (including me) were salivate when Ted Thompson signed Martellus Bennett. Well, it did not pan out well.

And, talking about drafts under Ted Thompson, I will add more players on succesful list after winning SB. Like: Cobb, Hayward, Hyde, Bakhtiari, Linsley, Perry, Clark, Martinez, Ha-Ha, Davante Adams, Mike Daniels, Dean Lowry, M. Adams, Kevin King, Josh Jones, Brian Bulaga, Eddie Lacy etc...

So, all of you spitting on Ted Thompson is nothing than whining with no sense.

Since '61's picture

Croat - I agree with most of your points about TT but I would not include Lacy as a successful NFL player. Lacy had 2 good seasons and then literally ate his way out of the league and into oblivion. I'm not even sure if he is still on an NFL roster. 2 seasons is not a successful NFL career. Perry has been more of a disappointment than a success but he still has a chance to turn that around. Thanks, Since '61

croatpackfan's picture

Well, I understand your point of view, but still I would keep Eddie Lacy as good pick for his, I will say 3 years in Packers uniform. Do not forget that he was the most important "play off hope keeper" when Aaron broke his collarbone (for the first time) and he was also ROY...

Regarding Perry, I think he is capable pass rusher and I hope he spare all bad luck with injuries this season...

Have TT some flows? Of course, who has not? But I think we can agree that TT was more very good than bad GM for Packers!


Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Tom Silverstein reported (9-1-18 at 9:56 PM) that Rollins, Mays and Murphy were Waived-Injured, which means they will receive injury settlements. The 3 players have a combined cap savings of $2.1M minus the number of weeks of pay each negotiates, but there is no way to know how many weeks of pay each player will get, and that information often goes unreported. GB should get significant cap relief as soon the the injury settlements are signed. I would hope it adds up to $1.5M or so.

Injury settlements often have the effect of parting the team from the players permanently. Since GB is going to give them an injury settlement, GB can't sign that player for the number of weeks negotiated as payment plus 3 more weeks. Other teams can sign the player as soon as the player can pass a physical.

croatpackfan's picture

TGR, thank you for your article. It is very informative.

I just want to point out that Murphy, Mays & Rollins are placed under reserve/injured - as steted on Packers com.

As Oppy (I think) already stated, Tom Silverstein is the only one who reported that Packers shop around Travor Davis and that there is no other confirmation on that. Also, if we can relied on official Packers web page, those 3 are not waived/injured!

Tom Silverstein does not like Davis, Murphy, Mays and Rollins and he is trying to poison the well!

Oppy's picture

Croat, Tom Silverstein is a very well-respected sports journalist and Packers beat writer.

I do not believe he is trying to "poison the well", and if he is reporting that the Packers are shopping Davis around, I suspect that he is at the very least hearing it from what he considers legitimate sources.

Tom Silverstein does good work.

Archie's picture

I very much agree. He's a good guy who works hard and has an excellent reputation for getting it right. Why a "fan" would want to "poison the well" against such a person is baffling to me.

Since '61's picture

Oppy - I agree on Silverstein. He does good work and is very well respected in his field. Being in NJ I do not have much access to Silverstein but he has been a guest on many NY sports talk radio shows and he always delivers an informative and accurate interview. I look forward to reading and/or hearing him when I have the chance. Thanks, Since '61

croatpackfan's picture

Oppy, after I listened Brian Gutekunst press conference, it looks to me that is not likely Davis was "shopped" around....

Demon's picture

Croat, first Bob McGinn and now Tom Silverstein? I'm a little curious, which Packers reporter do you like?

I prefer writers that call it the way they see it. Give an honest opinion based on what they see and the research they have done.

You mentioned as a source of your information. That makes sense, I haven't been on that awful site in years.

If you want to hear that an UDFA from the university of Podunk Iowa that was just cut from the worse team in football, then signed by the Packers is the next Packers Hall of famer, thats the site for you.

I'm from the old school. I dont believe everything I'm told. To quote Fletcher from The Outlaw Josey Wales, "Dont piss down my back and tell me it's raining".

croatpackfan's picture

My favorite Packers reporter is Aaron Nagler. I think he represents passion for the team, cold head when things are not going in the direction he thinks should be, respect different opinions and, what is most important, he always tries to understand why things happens...

Also, Aaron will criticize when he thinks he has to, but will apologize when his critique is wrong.

All together, very classy reporter and person!

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Croat, in the article I relied on and wrote that the three players had been placed on IR. I noted that there is a short-term IR that acts similarly to waived injured. Silverstein issued his tweet 5 or 6 hours after issued its article, so I have included it, FWIW.

I am surprised that GB would not just keep Murphy on IR all year to retain his rights. OL with some promise and still cheap are hot commodities. I think less highly of Rollins and Mays (and CJ Johnson), so waived injured in their cases make sense to me. I don't think there is a way to tell unless and until under transactions we see released-injury settlement or other notation in the future.

egbertsouse's picture

Some posters should go to bed and get some sleep.. Sounds like the crazy talk is increasing.

PatrickGB's picture

James, good work! Damn good work there. Thanks for explaining the numbers. I hope you slept in this morning.
So I guess we shall see how it sorts out down the road. One thing is still unclear to me is how much $ (generally) do we have for next years team? Would we have been in cap hell with a Mack type signing?

Spock's picture

TGR, Great work as usual on explaining all the (headache inducing) numbers and cap ramifications. As you pointed out the 'final' roster will probably look a lot different (especially in the next few weeks). Thanks again for doing all the hard work on this stuff. Much appreciated.

4thand1's picture

All these teams with young QB's are breaking the bank on FA's. It's obvious we won't be signing any big names unless we free up cap space.

Since '61's picture

TGR - great job on this article. Thanks, Since ‘61

Hawg Hanner's picture

Interesting the cap hit on cutting Biegel was over 500k. I am one who agreed he didn't have what it takes to make an impact at this level. With the hit it means the staff did not see any upside

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

The cap savings on Biegel was a negative $208K. He had $520K in signing bonuses that accelerated. Strictly speaking, since Biegel is a post-June release, GB can take 1/3 of his remaining signing bonus ($173K) as dead money in 2018 and push $347K into 2019, so it would count as dead money next year. Similarly, Looney and Donnerson prorated signing bonuses are about $40K for 2018, so that can count against the 2018 cap with about $140K getting pushed as dead money into 2019. That is likely how it will happen, so $347K plus $140K is almost $490K more cap space. That should push us to about $4.2M available in 2018, plus maybe $1.5M more when the IR players shake out.

spexxx2's picture

good work. thanks aaron.

Oppy's picture


picarobe's picture

Can’t criticize a roster without understanding the cap. Thanks for “the beans behind the beef”.

PatrickGB's picture

We are almost done this year. Ok, does that mean we can still afford and sign a veteran player down the road? Or perhaps we are done and try to roll over to next year when a lot of players will need a new contract?

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