Packers Convert Portion of Aaron Rodgers' 2020 Roster Bonus to Signing Bonus, Free Cap Space

Move gives Packers more space to extend key players, go after free agents in 2020.

Breaking news from ESPN's Field Yates:

$11.4 million in new cap space is a significant chunk of change, and it gives the Packers even more flexibility to extend some key players and continue making moves in 2020 and beyond.

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Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

17 points

Comments (57)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Lare's picture

December 27, 2019 at 01:18 pm

Good move. They need to re-sign Clark as soon as they can.

Hopefully TGR will do an update on the Packers overall salary cap situation for 2020.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 28, 2019 at 07:43 am

Not just Clark either: I don't expect Martinez, Fackrell, Bulaga back... Graham and Taylor cut. We're going to have some room to find a veteran WR2.

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Packers0808's picture

December 27, 2019 at 02:16 pm

Who is available better than Martinez. he will be back unless someone really offers him crazy money!

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Bearmeat's picture

December 27, 2019 at 03:04 pm

Someone will offer him really crazy money.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 27, 2019 at 07:28 pm

Viking tears are sweet.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 27, 2019 at 07:27 pm

On the subject of Martinez.......

The highest paid ILB in the league this year is Wagner, making nearly 17 million. Ogltree makes 11. Kuechly about 10.

Martinez is the center of a good defense. He calls the signals. He leads the league in tackles. He never misses games.

If we could lock him up for four years at 40 million, he’d be a bargain.

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packerbackerjim's picture

December 27, 2019 at 09:53 pm

Joe Schobert is a likely target of Gute as the Brown appear to letting him leave as an unrestricted free agent.

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PeteK's picture

December 28, 2019 at 10:01 am

Why, unless he' s much cheaper, they're very similar.

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stockholder's picture

December 27, 2019 at 02:35 pm

I expect Clark (tag). Martinez and Bulaga back. The packers will be picking late this year. No Rookie in this draft will be the next Martinez or Bulaga. Most lack,; Iron, speed, and the smarts as Rookies. How can Gute draft Both, and still fill other needs? His best bet is to sign them if their reasonable. Then draft the Love of his heart again. He could end up with 3 Wrs again. (This class is Deep Deep in them. ) The ILbs are not going to go rd.1. And you better take an Ot before the end of rd. 2. If Gute is to get what he needs again. Free Agency is the only way. He must attack it like last year. Then draft speed and, athleticism.

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Bure9620's picture

December 27, 2019 at 05:41 pm

I do not see how they afford those 3, Martinez does not offer enough in coverage for a huge contract. They will draft a LB in the first 2 days or grab a reasonable FA that can tackle. Clark will be extended, 50/50 on Bulaga, he would have to accept a reasonably team friendly deal, which he will likely not.

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Big_Mel_75's picture

December 28, 2019 at 08:08 am

We HAVE to sign Bulaga. Who can replace him? He proved it again that when he is healthy he is one of the best in the league. See if we can sign him to a 2-3 year deal and draft his replacement. The odds of us striking Gold two years in a row with a stud OL like Jenkins.

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PeteK's picture

December 28, 2019 at 10:10 am

Low guarantee money or let him walk. He played through injuries this year bc it was a contract year, but he's injury prone.

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Minniman's picture

December 28, 2019 at 03:09 pm

Bulaga has undoubtedly played through injuries this season, but he and Kenny Clark are priority 2 and 1 re-signings (respectively). As stated previously, they open up the draft for the Packers to go BPA all the way.

To your point Pete, Previously Bulaga has been resolute in his contract management so it’s impossible to read how he will react - hopefully he can sense something good happening with the packers in these remaining years of Rodgers and he wants to be part of it.

Another good draft untainted by need and the packers will be scary good.

I wonder if that happens and Bulaga is a big part of another championship or 2 if he warrants Forrest Gregg status?

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Guam's picture

December 28, 2019 at 08:12 am

I expect Bulaga back and about 50/50 that Martinez is back. Fackrell, Graham, Taylor, Lewis and Williams I suspect are gone. Fackrell goes based playing time available next year (Gary) and cost. Williams goes just based on age. Bulaga stays just because I don't think they want to trust Roger's well being to a rookie right tackle next year. They may well draft a rookie right tackle next year, but wait a year or two to actually replace Bulaga.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 27, 2019 at 03:40 pm

Maybe they give Fackerell a deal for fair value, but more than likely Bulaga gets some of this dough.

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sonomaca's picture

December 27, 2019 at 03:55 pm

Bulaga and Clark. Martinez, Fackrell probably gone. I’m thinking Aaron Jones and King are going to want deals before next year. Jones will get one. King will wait.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 27, 2019 at 04:02 pm

A deep OT class, no doubt. They can get a big body into round two, but I think they keep Bulaga on a two year deal stretched with 3rd year options. The One pick should go to WR or a RB like Taylor. They need to restock the offense.
To me the Bulaga decision will be more critical than Martinez. ILBs have to have a probowl track record to secure the cash being dished out. Solid LBs in this draft and free agent values after the first wave of insanity. Reagor the WR from TCU would be a dynamic selection.

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PeteK's picture

December 28, 2019 at 10:17 am

I also like Reagor( might drop to second round) . If someone gives Bulaga a large guarantee , say good riddance. We can't base a future contract on one year for an aging injury prone lineman.

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Timeout's picture

December 28, 2019 at 05:24 am

Can't see that happening with Gary coming on. Gary should be playing more next season at the expense of Fackerell.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 27, 2019 at 05:10 pm

But but but, according to the Viking and Bears fans, the Packers salary cap situation was in shambles...

Let Bulaga, Fackrell, and Martinez walk. Cut Graham and Taylor. We've got looooots of room to sign Clark and possibly a cheapie for Tramon if he's willing. That said, I really want another veteran WR for ARod for 2020 so we're not just left hoping Lazard/MVS/EQ makes that jump.

7 points
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flackcatcher's picture

December 27, 2019 at 02:53 pm

nice...

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 27, 2019 at 03:45 pm

They more than likely move on free agent WR and another veteran TE. Cornerback wouldn't hurt, unless Tramon can defy the aging process? The extension to Clark is in the works, but they still have leverage on the 5th year. CAP moving up , but not seeing an offer to Martinez over 5M/annum.

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PeteK's picture

December 28, 2019 at 10:23 am

Hooper would be a nice fit, if he tests free agency.

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SterlingSharpe's picture

December 27, 2019 at 01:26 pm

Keep our own guys.
No need to add 4 starters in free agency like 2019, but I'll take one: AJ Green. Will take less or similar $ as Jim Graham has been making.

Adams
Green
Lazard
Kumerow

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CAG123's picture

December 27, 2019 at 02:32 pm

Green apparently doesn’t want to leave and the Bengals might tag him

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 27, 2019 at 04:05 pm

Injury red flag. Go younger and add speed.

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Leatherhead's picture

December 27, 2019 at 07:15 pm

I agree we should keep our guys , especially on this defense. It’s a good young defense. Add to it, don’t subtract. Only Tramon is old enough to have that as a factor.

Offensively, I’d bring the same group back but just add to it. Release Graham and Lewis and add a TE to compete with Sternbeger and Tonyan. Bring Bulaga back AND add to the line.

Green would be a nice addition. I think we could use another horse in the backfield because they do get hurt.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 27, 2019 at 02:06 pm

Nothing wrong with Martinez. But, we need a Nose Tackle, another LB and Raven Greene to return on defense.

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stockholder's picture

December 27, 2019 at 02:58 pm

They do have a shot at Wilson .NT But Chaisson Edge would be my choice, ( if Frackwell leaves). My draft crush is Higgins WR,( 1 and 3 to get him)

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Qoojo's picture

December 27, 2019 at 02:11 pm

Which means dead money in the future, if Rodgers doesn't play 5 more years for the packers.

When a player retires, gets cut, etc..., I think dead money comes due the following year or two, right?

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Bearmeat's picture

December 27, 2019 at 03:04 pm

If he retires, there's no dead money.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 27, 2019 at 03:48 pm

Sort of/not really. If AR retires of his own volition, all remaining signing bonus prorations would accelerate onto the cap as dead money. The team can then file for forfeiture to get some or all of the money back from the player and to get a credit on the cap. Often the player and team agree on the amount. Sometimes the signing bonus really was part of the player's salary and teams don't ask for the money back.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 27, 2019 at 05:09 pm

thx for the correction.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 27, 2019 at 04:15 pm

Rodgers will be around for the annuity.

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edp1959's picture

December 27, 2019 at 02:11 pm

Well Well wonder what the #12 trashers will have to say about this? He is proving them wrong in many ways. Good move.

8 points
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Bearmeat's picture

December 27, 2019 at 03:05 pm

I think it's pretty clear that ARod was not interested in helping TT out after 2015 because he didn't trust him to make moves to help the team. Whole different ball game under Gute and Co.

5 points
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jlc1's picture

December 27, 2019 at 04:30 pm

Looks like they've gone into hiding, at least in this comment section. But they haven't left entirely. Expect to see something like Rodgers is missing passes on purpose because he did not want to do this. It's as predictable as the sun rising in the east.

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showmefan's picture

December 27, 2019 at 05:12 pm

Proving who wrong? He needed the money for his half of the 28 mil that he and Danika spent on their home in Malibu.Pretty simple.

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edp1959's picture

December 27, 2019 at 06:08 pm

Ahhh look one showed up....

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wildbill's picture

December 27, 2019 at 02:12 pm

I think Gute is showing everyone that signing rising young players over older players who are descending is the best long term plan. Green, coming off an injury has that deadly combo of age/injury/ cost which would tell us to stay away. Healthy, would he be a great addition?, you bet but at what cost and does he play 16 games?

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CAG123's picture

December 27, 2019 at 02:38 pm

Packers do need a vet WR just for the Rodgers trust factor alone no point in adding a first round talent at WR just for Rodgers not to trust him for 2 years. I think it’s rather silly personally I mean he trusts Gmo and that guy has had butterfingers all season if he’s open and where he’s supposed to be throw him the damn ball.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 27, 2019 at 04:08 pm

Your speculation matches mine. I think (hope?) Gute knows the offense needs another receiver pronto. That means buying a FA wide receiver, preferably one known for his route running. GB still should draft a WR high, round 2 or so, in the WR-rich 2020 draft.

Gute's mind could be focused elsewhere. There aren't that many free agent WRs I like, and only one other FA ILB. There are some fat guys, both guys without a lot of juice who are stout and some stout guys who have juice. There is a range of CBs from not too expensive to very expensive who could help GB. Sportrac projects Hunter Henry's value at $8.8M and Austin Hooper's at $9.9M at TE and there are some blocking types if Lewis retires.

BTW: it increases GB's cap space by $8.588M, not $11.4M. That is, GB will have $8.588M more to spend in 2020 on FAs and extensions. [$11.4M opened up in 2020 but $2.82M increase in the 2019 cap = a net of $8.58M.]

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stockholder's picture

December 27, 2019 at 03:54 pm

FA WR? Bargain shop here. Shop cuts-! injuries/ Age, have a way wrecking WRS.(Look @ Jennings,,etc) This draft is too deep at WR. Even though The top 5 Wrs will be taken before the packers pick. IMO Trade a # 1 and # 3 coming first.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 27, 2019 at 04:13 pm

He trusts high draft picks as WRs because they have the talent to get the ball. Not a deep FA pool to work from in 2020 unless some CAP casualties hit the market. In any event the WR position needs a guy with quicks and speed.

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CAG123's picture

December 28, 2019 at 10:29 am

Nelson, Cobb, and Adams didn't make much of an impact in their first years Jordy didnt see much production until his 3rd, Cobb had a good 2nd year, and Adams didnt make a jump until his 3rd year. So yeah not much production from young WR regardless of their skill.

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Cheesey51's picture

December 27, 2019 at 02:46 pm

Good to know. It'll help us with signing players in 2020
Right now, let's win in Detroit. Nothing like winning.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 27, 2019 at 02:47 pm

This is a great move.

One thing that I'm curious about is did Rodgers approach the Packers to doing this or if the Packers approached him. Not that it really makes a big difference because its doing the same thing either way, but it would be a really good look on Rodgers if he approached them about doing it.

Either way this is a great thing. Creating 11 million next year creates a lot of room for them to do a lot of things. Or at least 1 bigger thing.
I also saw that they have until tomorrow at 3 pm to put any money on 2019 salary cap for extending players deals. Perhaps by this time tomorrow they will have agreed on a deal with one of the current players.
If I were to guess it would be between Clark, Crosby and Bulaga.

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Bearmeat's picture

December 27, 2019 at 03:07 pm

It would have to be GB approaching Rodgers. The cap is not Rodgers job - he has a hard enough one to do. If my boss mismanages his employee resources and I catch it, it's not my responsibility to fix it. It's his.

I'm sure Ball/Gute contacted ARod's agent and said: "We want to extend Kenny and find room for another veteran weapon or two for you next year, but we need a bit more space to do it. Would you consider taking your money up front for cap purposes?"

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 27, 2019 at 03:23 pm

The standard language in NFL contracts allows teams to convert base salary and roster bonuses without needing to get the player's permission. AR's contract might have had that language deleted. And AR might be of sufficient stature that the team would not do such a thing without AR's agreement. If nothing else, he'll have to pay taxes next April on the amount moved to a signing bonus instead of in April of 2021.

You're correct about the deadline for having signing bonus prorations count in part 2019. While that can reduce the amount of each proration, doing the extension before the game tomorrow does reduce the total amount GB will have available in cap space next March. I've been against extending anyone prior to tomorrow.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 27, 2019 at 05:11 pm

Interesting. That's one heck of a trade off even with the cap expansion. As everyone says, Gute must be getting ready to sign someone. It makes no sense otherwise. So much work to do after the season...

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Lphill's picture

December 27, 2019 at 03:45 pm

Good move thinking ahead, does anyone else remember we had another inside linebacker that was injured in the pre season ? I think when the Packers played on a bad field somewhere, I think the same game St Brown was injured.

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 28, 2019 at 10:00 am

Curtis Bolton. Cover LB from Oklahoma.

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Adorabelle's picture

December 27, 2019 at 05:00 pm

What sort of veteran receiver do you mean? The Packers showed little to no interest in the Crowder sort of level of player last year so who would you be looking at next year.

I know Martinez has his detractors. Detractors heck he has those that want him in front of a firing squad...but I will just say that if he's not signed it better be because they have a replacement planned cause there sure ain't anyone on this team now who can fill his spot.

6 points
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Bearmeat's picture

December 27, 2019 at 05:23 pm

Frankly, someone that will run the right route all the time who ARod can trust to be in the right spot at the right time and who still preferably has some wheels left. It doesn't have to be AJG or DJax. But someone like that who will open up the field a bit...

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Adorabelle's picture

December 27, 2019 at 05:49 pm

Well this 11 mill plus cut Jimmy Graham and Lane Taylor and they got enough money to make some decisions.

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Turophile's picture

December 28, 2019 at 03:55 am

Cut Graham and Taylor (as Adorabelle said). Allocate money for the 2020 draft.

With the reworked Rodgers contract, they have about $40m space. Have Bulaga and Martinez extended for $10-11m and $8-9m respectively. The Packers will take the 5th year option on Kenny Clark (he was a 1st round pick), so that runs through 2020, but they will want to get a second deal with him during the year to avoid him hitting FA............and that will be a very big deal.

With Kenny Clark extended, there would be enough to keep a modest pot for emergencies. A new Clark deal would free up a handful of extra millions to use from the old deal that was superseded. If the deal with Clark is done quickly, the Packers could empty the coffers for one reasonable veteran FA, but they'd be tight against the cap then.

It is almost frightening to see how fast the cap money gets sucked up......................but the Bears and Vikes have less than the Packers.

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PatrickGB's picture

December 28, 2019 at 12:27 pm

I like that move. I think that Gutie has a plan for who to keep and even an eye on another FA or two.

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