Packers Restructure Bakhtiari's Contract

Ian Rapoport has reported that the Packers have converted all of David Bakhtiari's $11.072 million roster bonus to a signing bonus.  The move generates $8.3M in cap savings for the 2021 season.  It adds $2.768M to Bakhtiari's cap numbers in each of the 2022, 2023, and 2024 seasons.  The move does not affect how much cash Bakhtiari receives.  Bakhtiari's cap numbers are now scheduled to be $10.99M, $22.77M, $26.27M, and $30.27M.

The Packers' decision to convert Bakhtiari's roster bonus to a signing bonus was almost universally predicted.  Thus, nothing about the Packers philosophy or strategy for the offseason can be inferred from this move.  It remains to be seen how aggressive the Packers will be about retaining players and/or generating enough cap space to participate in free agency in a significant way.

If the salary cap turns out to be $180 million, then the Packers need to generate about $21 million more in cap savings just to comply with the new salary cap limit under the Rule of 51.  That must be done by March 17.  The Packers will also need to generate roughly $10 million more in cap savings to eventually sign its draft picks, pay for practice squad players, account for the 52nd and 53rd players, and to have enough cap room to operate during the 2021 season.  In addition, the team will need several millions more to sign at least some of its restricted free agents.  Freeing up even more space would be nice as it might allow the Packers to take advantage of any bargains in this year's class of unrestricted free agents or even make a bit of a splash in free agency.    

General Manager Gutekunst and Director of Football Operations Russ Ball have a lot to consider and a lot of work to accomplish over the next 32 days.

 

 

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Comments (50)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Horrible4's picture

February 14, 2021 at 06:35 am

Can we just pretend the cap stops existing for a season and go all-in like the Saints? The Chiefs gave Mahomes the largest contract a quarterback has ever gotten and resigned Travis Kelce for 57 million being 20+ million in the red last season and the Saints gave Alvin Kamara 75 million dollars being over 100 million in the red. For crying out loud, can we PLEASE try to win like these other teams? It's abhorrent to me how conservative this team is every offseason.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 14, 2021 at 07:08 am

No. Sort of.

Mahommes had a cap number of just $5.34M in 2020. It only increases to $24.8M in 2021, and that includes a $21M roster bonus which you can bet KC is going to convert to a signing bonus.

Kelce's cap number increased by $500K due to his extension in 2020. It increases by $2M in 2021 but he has a $7M roster bonus just waiting to be converted if necessary. Kelce didn't get any signing bonus. All guaranteed money is in 2020 and 2021.

NO is a different case. They gave the money knowing they would have to dismantle the team in 2021 or 2022. Kamara's cap numbers were $4M and $5M in 2020 and 2021. Kamara's real deal was 2 years for $18M. All the rest of the figures are an illusion.

Brees was getting really old. Still good but the decline was evident. AR appears to have several years left - the number is unknown. So going drastically all-in is wrong for GB since the window is probably still 3 years, maybe more.

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Horrible4's picture

February 14, 2021 at 07:23 pm

The point is: do you wanna be just good enough to get to the playoffs or do you want to be great? I don't know about other people, but I'm tired of getting embarrassed in the NFC Championship game every year to teams that actually made moves to win. Do you want to wait to be great and go all-in when it's evident Rodgers is in the decline like NO? If you stay conservative and don't go all-in, you will not win a super bowl.

The Packers have been doing that for 15 years now and it hasn't worked once. And 2010 was a complete fluke where even in the super bowl the team nearly imploded and allowed a comeback from the Steelers when it should have been a blowout. Ever since then it's been evident we're never good enough to get back to the super bowl.

I don't know why this is even a talking point.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 15, 2021 at 12:29 am

I think we agree actually. I have been for adding another player in 2019 and 2020, and am for it in 2021.

Probably I am hung up on the definition of "all-in" because you might be surprised at what can be wrung out of the cap if truly drastic measures are brought to bear. Mind the team would have to shed players a year or two later. I also don't mind shipping a 4th round pick for a rental. Gutey trades them away anyway.

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flackcatcher's picture

February 15, 2021 at 02:45 pm

I rather Gute keeps doing Gute stuff. My fear is the front the office goes 'all in', then the Packers get hit by a massive injury wave. And the Team ends up in a hole in all sorts of different ways. Maybe the Packers can do a series of one year and options for their FA to see how the Cap plays out in 2022 and beyond. I keep asking what does Gutekunst know that we don't. (Oh, and Bill Huber of SI reports JJ Watt agent has reached out to the Packers. Talking about going all in...)

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Lphill's picture

February 14, 2021 at 07:49 am

You are correct nobody cries more about the cap then the Packers and their fans .

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janchj's picture

February 14, 2021 at 09:02 pm

Horrible4 - You are incapable of understanding any kind of math. Crawl back into your kindergarten education and give us all a break. You are obviously to simple to be able to add and subtract

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mrtundra's picture

February 15, 2021 at 08:44 am

I'd hate to play for the Saints this coming season. All those holes to fill and little money to do it.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 15, 2021 at 06:05 pm

True. It doesn't really matter though if Brees retires. They would be a bad team instead of a terrible one.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 14, 2021 at 06:53 am

No, this does not mean the Packers can sign JJ Watt. It is an expected down payment on the large amount they need just to avoid breaking the minimum cap rules.

I read comments by Guam and IIRC Flak about how upbeat Gute sounded about the cap limit. So perhaps it will be the $180M OTC projects of even the $185M Spotrac projects.

I also ran across some articles on team revenue. Statista estimated that the Packers received $77M from ticket sales in 2019. We know they earned $210M in local revenue. From this one can deduce that the Packers non-ticket local revenue was $133M, derived from game-day revenue like parking (3,000 spaces @ $40/ea = $120K time 10 = $1.2M) and concessions, programs, maybe some walk up sales in the atrium and pro shop. The rest apparently comes from Sponsorships, Hall of Fame, local broadcasting, stadium tours, pro shop including on-line, 1919 Kitchen & Tap. In July, Paul Baniol (VP of Finance) said on-line sales were as budgeted but was silent about other sales figures. Teams do not keep the ticket sales for playoff games: that goes to the NFL, which in turn pays the players and sends a stipend to the home team. But the home team does get to keep concessions, parking, and other sales that bolster local revenue. One article said some teams barely break even, most make some money, and that high priced teams can make $2M plus per home playoff game.

IDK. Seems likely the Packers local revenue decreased by $90M to $100M. Not all local revenue counts towards the cap, IIRC. I guess if $80M to $90M counts and the players share (that's the cap amount) is 48%, then the cap would decrease by $38.4M to $43M from what it would have been absent Covid. If the national revenue increased as usual then I could see a $215M to $220M cap minus $43M, so something around $180M isn't as much as a stretch as I imagined. But my numbers suck in terms of reliability, so take these calculations with huge grains of salt, I mean lumps of salt.

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Guam's picture

February 14, 2021 at 08:12 am

Thanks TGR! Great work on the numbers. Yours is the most rational analysis I have seen to date for the $180 million number. Since there have been zero reports about a deal between the NFL and NFLPA to average the cap across several years or provide some other vehicle to help reduce the cap shock of COVID, it would appear they are going to just let the cap number fall to its calculated level. The good news is that means the cap should jump back up in 2022 assuming we can put COVID behind us by Fall (i.e. fans will be back in the stands).

BTW, a number of doctor friends in the Madison area are unanimous that the vaccine will handle all of the current variants and that by late summer enough people will be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity and we should expect a return to full normal. That would certainly help the Packers if they choose to shift cap dollars to years beyond 2021 (like Bahk's signing bonus).

If Gute is optimistic, that may be the reason why.

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Since'61's picture

February 14, 2021 at 08:57 am

TGR, I must admit that I remain surprised that the NFLPA is accepting this potentially significant reduction in the salary cap. I don’t dispute that league revenue is down due to the pandemic but the reality is that the owners can easily suck up $20-25 million each to keep the cap around $200 million.

I would not expect them to close the entire gap but at the same time I would expect the NFLPA to at least try to support their members income opportunities.

If in fact the cap is reduced as expected, only the players take the hit, which means the quality of play will suffer, which ultimately means that the fans suffer. But of course who cares about the fans.

This is just another example of the owners and the league getting away cheap and screwing their players and their fans.
As usual another stupid and unnecessary money grab by the league. Thanks, Since ‘61

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PatrickGB's picture

February 14, 2021 at 11:42 am

I am confused about how the quality of play would decrease if the cap is lower. It’s the same players playing the same game, so why would their quality of play decrease? Unless, of course, they decide to play under their ability. If anything, it might even increase if their goal is a bigger contract down the line when the cap goes up again.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

February 14, 2021 at 12:47 pm

The way that I imagine the quality of play would decreas is that some of the teams with top talent and salary cap issues would have to let go some of their best players. Assuming those best players go to teams with the highest salary cap, those teams are often the worst teams in the league. Therefore you have made good teams worse and bad teams a little bit better. Overall the product is less quality at the top and more middle of the ground teams.

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Since'61's picture

February 14, 2021 at 01:23 pm

Bingo! Thanks, Since ‘61

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PeteK's picture

February 14, 2021 at 02:30 pm

Which increases fan interest.

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Coldworld's picture

February 14, 2021 at 02:48 pm

Well put.

I would add the following: it’s the mid roster vets who aren’t as cheap as rookies or first contract players or stars that get attention that are likely to suffer. A number of those won’t have as long careers as a result, despite certain cap credits for veterans. That likely does reduce the quality of the overall rosters of the league as a whole this year, and perhaps lingering on for the next two or three.

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flackcatcher's picture

February 14, 2021 at 07:13 pm

Thanks TGR. I did factor Covid-19 in, but decided not to comment on it right away. I think your numbers are in the ballpark. With the way the NFL distorts their revue numbers from team to team it's hard to get good information. '61 take maybe closer to the truth than we all know. While the season was played last year, there was a fairly large minority of owners that wanted to sink the season for purely financial reasons. Without the players, especially stars like Aaron Rodgers pushing for playing last season, there would have been no football. If Gutekunst and others hoping for a Covid-19 free season, they should take a step back. Current projections do not see the population reaching herd immunity till mid-winter of 2022 at best. The main problem is internal Democratic politics is slowing and in many cases halting wide scale vaccine shots. Pressure will force the current administration to override their backers nationwide, but that may add another 6-9 months before enough people get the vaccine. If the current plans to use the Military in vaccine distribution are used, then it is possible for herd immunity by summer/early fall of this year. But the current administration seems frozen in acting to speed up vaccination at the moment.

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porupack's picture

February 14, 2021 at 06:49 am

Spend now and pay later? Sometimes it is a good idea a) if the salary cap will surely increase significantly in 2022, b) they really expect to field an equal or superior roster in 2021 that has a high super bowl probability at or greater than this year, or c) this is the only way to keep from gutting key foundational players and keep a competitive team for next 2-3 years.

a) is rolling the dice with 5-7% odds. b) is a business assessment considering an unusual volatile 2020 year. c) is prudent, and believing that the core team assets must be maintained, and hoping you DRAFFT well to get those exceptional rookies and breakout players that makes the difference on any superbowl contending team. WIshed I had a bit more faith in Gutekunst drafting. Not there yet.

Its pretty clear GB cannot bring in FA this year, and have to rely on signing a few priority current FAs, and draft players that can play in 2021 and 22 to replace or improve from departing FAs.

Lindsley better be one of those. Draft and Develop, right? Save Bahk's salary and take care of fellow OL, best in the league center, Lindsley. Foundational, core unit that makes all else in the offense clique.

That has to get done, before spending on any cake decorations. Take care of the cake first.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 14, 2021 at 07:29 am

a) Only the smallest natl. broadcast fee (Thursday Night Football) will be negotiated in time for the 2022 cap. The others get done for 2023. So teams would probably have to think Covid has been contained and fans will be in the seats. I'd put those odds much higher than you did, but the efficacy of the vaccine remains to be seen, especially as to these variants. I have good feelings about vaccines even though I know nothing about them. OTOH, I have faith that the science will change multiple times again this year. We should open schools, no we shouldn't, etc.

b) Probably will be more parity. Only Indy of the good teams has much in the way of cap space and they are short a QB at present. The other good teams, like the Packers, figure to lose some big-name players. Should be interesting and hard to evaluate right now. I figure GB will be worse, but I suspect TB will be considerably worse than their 2020 version.

c) Bingo. AR looks to have multiple good years left. Window isn't 1 or 2 years, as far as I can tell. Still have to be careful who gets signed and who gets released. Preston good, then bad, what will he be in 2021 under Barry? Doesn't matter probably because $8M to $12M in cap savings is likely necessary.

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PeteK's picture

February 14, 2021 at 07:29 am

Unfortunately, I believe that Tampa is also in a good cap situation.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 14, 2021 at 07:48 am

Looks like it, but while not terrible it isn't great. We'll see what they do. Only 42 players signed, so the +$20.7 goes down $6M to +$14M.7. UFA list is brutal.
Chris Godwin
Shaquil Barrett - out of cap space?
Lavonte David = definitely out of cap space.

Gronkowski Got Brate and OJ Howard so.....
Suh
McLendon
Antonio Brown
Nunez-Roches - started with Vea out. Don't need him.

Couple of more not so great players like Fournette, LeSean McCoy, CB Ross Cockrell and Kicker Ryan Succop.

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Leatherhead's picture

February 14, 2021 at 02:04 pm

Tampa has their own problems. They aren’t in our division. Maybe they’ll be like SF the year before and not even make the playoffs. Worry about winning the division.

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stockholder's picture

February 14, 2021 at 07:36 am

Very Nice of Bahk. Plan on the Cap being 180 million. Generate the remaining 21 million. And move on. The numbers game shouldn't be Tricky. Obviously we can't sign linsley. And we have the depth; to make other cuts to the OL. So who's next. Guys on the Fence! Wagner, Kirksey, Funchess, and Lowrey. There's another 10 mil. Thank them, and move on. Their just not whats needed to "win now". After that. Hang ons. We have a TE that should retire. He's not the future. The kids need to play. Ok the Devil is now in the details. So their ready to either say goodbye to P. Smith or convert other contracts.

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PeteK's picture

February 14, 2021 at 07:39 am

I don't see how we can sign any of our own or other free agents. That's fine as we have all vital positions filled. This will be an especially crucial draft than most, but we have ten picks. Those two 4th and 5th rounders could be valuable, Smith, Bak, Williams were all 4th rounders and Linsley, Jones, MVS 5th rounders.

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DenePhillips's picture

February 14, 2021 at 09:00 am

Super Bowl had its lowest ratings in over 15 years. People are gonna be pissed off at these sports players who think they are some type of gods aka the Colin Ks of the world that decide what America should or shouldn't do by their actions. I'm still pissed and so is half the country who has a normal brain. I know I used to be a die hard Packers fan the whole mystique, Lambeau, Vince Lombardi, fans, history, owned by the fans. Now, its just all gone to sh$$. Green Bay might as well move and be called the San Francisco Packers.

This organization has no spine and the fans no different then the other 31 teams.

So there you have it. Thumbs down, but I'm not the only one that feels this way and it shows in the revenue$$$$

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DenePhillips's picture

February 14, 2021 at 09:02 am

I'll still support the Packers but not a die hard fan anymore.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

February 14, 2021 at 02:56 pm

Revenue was at an all time high right before covid. So the topics I expect your referring too didn't impact the NFL, COVID did.

Oh yeah and Nikes revenues blew through the roof after signing Kap.

Those are just facts, whether your "normal brain" uses facts or not.

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Since'61's picture

February 14, 2021 at 09:32 am

I believe that we should keep the offense as intact as possible. To me that means re-signing Linsley unless he receives an outrageous offer from other teams.

I doubt that we can retain Jones but the Packers should try and maybe even use the franchise tag. If we can’t keep him then we should retain Williams at least.

On defense is where we can can make some moves to create cap space. We can chuck P. Smith, Lowry, Lancaster and Kirksey, plus not re-sign King. There are probably a number of marginal players like Burks that we can chuck as well. Draft 2 CBS, 2 DLs, and 2 ILBs. We’ll sign our usual number of UDFAs as well to fill the bottom 3rd of our roster.

As much as I would like to sign Watts, save the money in an attempt to retain Linsley and Jones via cuts and restructured deals. Focus on winning in 2021. If we keep focusing 2-3 years down the road we’ll still be doing the same another 10 seasons from now. Thanks, Since ‘61

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DenePhillips's picture

February 14, 2021 at 09:45 am

I am still iffy on the Preston Smith You can't be great one year and then not so good the next especially after you fire your defensive coordinator.

I just don't think he was used properly.

I would take a hard look at this before they act to rashly.

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PhantomII's picture

February 14, 2021 at 03:19 pm

I think he came in out of shape and could still stand to lose 20 lbs off the gut for more energy and burst. I Also believe he was misused by Pettine.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 14, 2021 at 03:31 pm

He will likely be a post-June first cut. If Collins hangs to the end of rd one, he's a guy to replace Smith.

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Guam's picture

February 14, 2021 at 10:15 am

Have to disagree on Linsley. Great player, but third contract O-lineman are a crap shoot health wise. Of all of the third contract O-lineman that the Packers have let go over the past 15 years, only one has completed his third contract with the team that signed him. All the rest have retired early due to injury or been cut due to performance issues or injury.

Even Bahktiari may miss a chunk of next season due to injury.

I would rather not have big money tied up in a player that statistically will likely lose time to injury. Use that money for younger players.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 14, 2021 at 03:32 pm

Another Ohio State guy is getting good press in the draftworld.

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PeteK's picture

February 14, 2021 at 10:48 am

Jenkins, Dillon ,Gary are the new Linsley, Jones, and Preston- trade would be unlikely as no one will want to pickup his 12 mill cap hit. Let's face the cap facts and appreciate that we have very good players in their place. Lancaster stays as he is a cheap rotational player. I would add Ts prominently and a crafty RB to that list.

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Demon's picture

February 14, 2021 at 12:39 pm

Idk 61, i agree with everyything you said with the exception of Watt. I think the Pack needs to do whatever is necessary to land him. Im not saying get in a bidding war, but i think they owe it to themselves and the fans to see what it would take to sign him.

When Gute took over GM, he promised to be in every conversation with whatever player came available. Nows the time to prove it.

Guys like JJ Watt dont come walking down the street every day. Someone who could come in and immediatly be the 2nd best player on D, behind only Jaire.

One of the biggest problems GB has had in the last 10+ seasons was too many players that were just guys. Heres a chance to get a blue chip guy. You need to get blue chip guys when you can.

I dont want to hear about the Packers signing more mid tier players to fill in holes in the roster. God forbid we sign Watt and wouldnt be able to sign more guys like Kirksey, Lowery, Lancaster, M Adams.

We have sat back and watched several teams manipulate the cap over and over while we have taken the slow boat to china on roster building. For their afforts they have zero SB appearances since 2010.

I personally would rather have a player like Watt and a bunch of UDFA then a bunch of garbage you have to chuck in a year anyway.

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Since'61's picture

February 14, 2021 at 11:01 pm

Demon I would also like to sign Watt, I just don’t see how the Packers can afford him unless he is willing to play for much less $$$ on the hope of winning an SB with Aaron Rodgers.

Anything can happen but I’m keeping very low expectations on the Packers bringing in Watt due to their cap situation.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 15, 2021 at 12:50 am

My laptop has been acting up lately. I could try to sign Bill Gates as my tech support, but I think he's out of my price range.

So I am waiting for my elder son (who is in IT) to wander over when he gets around to it and fix it since I don't know how. I've been waiting for 2 months now. My younger son who lives with me said he doesn't know how to fix it. he could otherwise be guilted into it, but I wonder if he actually can fix it and just is claiming ignorance? IDK. Eventually it will get done and for free.

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flackcatcher's picture

February 15, 2021 at 03:10 pm

Do the basics first. Update and run your anti malware programs. Clear your browser. You be surprised how much junk you can collect. If you have a program like CCleaner or Privazer think about running that too. Cleaning left over fragments system wide can solve a whole lot of problems. Beyond that, pester your older Son to guilt him to fix your PC. He owes you. (heh heh heh heh)

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

February 14, 2021 at 12:54 pm

With Jenkins clearly ready to step in and take over at center, I don’t see the need to pay top dollar for a 30 year old center. They did it with Bakhtiari but LT is a premium position on an NFL squad.

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andrewsimmons's picture

February 14, 2021 at 11:25 pm

loool

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Handsback's picture

February 14, 2021 at 12:57 pm

To get to the cap, there will be more money cut by salaries. The players that the Packers decide not to pay and release will hurt.
Now, you think they can pay JJ? OK, just for grins lets say you can arrange to sign one FA. Would you want JJ Watt or Patrick Peterson? Both are beyond their prime and have some bloated salaries, but the Packers can sign one of them. Who do you pick?
My pick would be Peterson.

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Demon's picture

February 14, 2021 at 02:03 pm

Nope. Jj watt. The Best way to disrupt a passing game is to dump a QB on his backside early and often.

Jaire will make his man invisible. Ill take a rookie on the other side and a ferocious pass rush any day.

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PeteK's picture

February 14, 2021 at 02:39 pm

Good question, but I'll take Peterson because we saw what can happen with a poor CB on the other side.

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Lphill's picture

February 14, 2021 at 02:28 pm

The Packers can make Watt happen they just dont have the balls to do it .

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Coldworld's picture

February 14, 2021 at 02:51 pm

They have more sense than to listen to their balls and so won’t.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 15, 2021 at 01:02 am

LOL.

There is a Bill Burr comedy skit that is about listening to certain male anatomical parts rather than using reason.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KX32ZHjDpsM

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Eric Zenk's picture

February 14, 2021 at 05:14 pm

Lphill, JJ Watt will cost them, (at a minimum) $4-5M with the hometown discount and he would only be a part time pass rusher b/c of his age and injury history. Sure, see if he will take a serious hometown discount, but be prepared to move on and see what other 'rental players' become cap casualties who are younger and less injury prone. A move like this reminds me of when Sherman, (as the Coach and GM) signed Joe Johnson to $33M, 6- year contract with a $6M signing bonus. In 2002, Johnson played five games before he tore his left triceps, and in 2003, his season ended again b/c he ruptured his right quadriceps tendon. The Packers cut him after the 2003 season, and what they got in return from Johnson was two sacks and 25 tackles in 11 games he played for the Packers. I am not saying the same will occur with Watt, but he is old and injury prone so the Packers will be rolling the dice if they signed him. And I also think the $4-5M could be put to better use to resign Cory Lindsey or pay that money towards covering the tag cost for Aaron Jones. Gutekunst can go out and get some underperforming rookie coming of his first contract who does not have an injury history and pay him an incentive laden 'prove it' contract and get better results than what Watt can provide. There will be many rookies coming off their first contracts and maybe some expensive veterans who will be salary cap casualties they can sign to help them in 2021 just as Tampa did in 2020. Packers fans tend to get tied up emotionally about players without thinking through the reality and logic of what could be best described as a ‘desperation’ move. These moves or lack thereof have nothing to do with the Packers not having the balls to do or not do something. It is about money and it always has been, and especially this year where some of their star players and others will have to go or agree to have their contracts renegotiated or adjusted just to get UNDER the 2021 cap. Do they want to roll the dice on Lindsey or Jones who also has an injury history? The answer should be yes b/c they are in the primes of their careers and not at the end as Watt is. If Watt will not accept the reality that he has to be a cheap rental player to be in a Packers uniform in 2021 then the Packers should move on.

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janchj's picture

February 14, 2021 at 09:14 pm

Lp - let me put this into terms you MIGHT understand. You have a fridge full of Pabst. You have no money in you pocket. You want to purchase a premium beer so you think you can trade your crap beer for some money or a better beer. Only your illiterate friends , (means they can't read, or are the Bears) would be interested in that. Really dude, either get grip or shut up

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