The Packers Needed Daniels' Cap Savings

The Packers needed to free up some cap space if the team wants to retain the services of multiple players on a long-term basis.  The first player the Packers decided to retain was Dean Lowry.  Rob Demovsky provided the full details of Dean Lowry's new $6.77M AAV deal in this tweet.  I have put the information into the following table:

Yr Base SB RB Active W/O Cap Cash
19 2.05M 1.5M       3.646M 8.05M
20 1.0M 1.5M 2.0M .4M .3M 5.2M 3.7M
21 4.1M 1.5M   .4M .3M 6.3M 4.8M
22 4.9M 1.5M   .4M .5M 7.3M 5.8M
Tot 10M 6.0M 2.0M 1.2M 1.1M - - - - 20.3M

Under the end of the CBA rules, one needs to focus on the 2020 year and on the first three years of the contract.  The 2020 "salary" excluding the traditional signing bonus totals $3.7M (base, roster bonus, game active bonus and the workout bonus).  30% of $3.7M equals $1.11M, so the 2021 "salary" can be a maximum of $1.11M plus $3.7M, or $4.81M.  Lowry's 2021 salary equals $4.1M plus $.4M game active plus $.3M workout bonus for a total of $4.8M.   So, Lowry's deal complies with the 30% rule (by about $10K).  It does not matter if Lowry fails to earn the full game active bonus in 2020 (which is necessary to make the deal comply with the 30% Rule: the deal only has to comply when it is submitted to the league). 

To comply with the Deion Rule, the "salary" over the first three years of the contract must equal or exceed the signing bonus prorations.  Here, the prorations total $4.5M and the "salary" easily exceeds that amount.  Note that Lowry's 2019 cap number is more than the $3.55M the numbers above would suggest because he had a $95,000 signing bonus proration from his rookie deal that has to be accounted for. 

Current Cap Situation:

Overthecap is showing the Packers with $14.32M in 2019 cap space under the Rule of 51 and projects the Packers to have $9.07M in cap space in 2020 after the Lowry signing and the release of Mike Daniels.  Fans can anticipate that the 2019 cap space will decrease by a minimum $2.4M or so when the regular season starts.  The minimum for the practice squad players is $136,000 times ten players, and the cap numbers for the 52nd and 53rd players on the roster will begin to count.

One might project the Packers to have roughly $12M in cap space when the regular season starts, reduced by any misfortune, such as players landing on the Injured Reserve List or PUP list.  Sportrac suggests that the Packers have about $800,000 more in cap space.  Note that cap space usually decreases over the course of the season as players get hurt or the team acquires players, but the amount varies.

Did The Packers Need Daniels' Cap Savings?

There have been plenty of articles on whether releasing Daniels hurts the Packers' chances of contending in 2019, and if so, by how much.  That is not my purview, so let me confine this to cap considerations, in so far as that is possible.

The general consensus is that the Packers want to keep Martinez and Clark, at a minimum.  General Manager Gutekunst has publicly expressed his desire to keep Clark around, but has been more circumspect about Martinez.

Let's look at extending Martinez.  In a previous article, "End of CBA Rules Are Just A Speed Bump," I laid out the details of a possible extension  for Martinez.  Given that Lowry just signed for $6.77M AAV, extending Martinez at $8.77M AAV does not seem outlandish.

The Packers have about $12M in 2019 cap space and a projected $9.07M for 2020.  Looking at Martinez' proposed extension, signing him to the proposed deal would reduce 2019 space by $300,000 to $11.7M, but the proposed $6.5M cap charge in 2020 would reduce GB's projected 2020 cap space from $9.07M to $2.52M.

Please recall that I proposed using an option bonus in 2020 to keep Martinez' cap number down in 2020.  Of course, Gutekunst and Russ Ball could go wild by using log escalators in 2021, but that would push a large cap number into the 2021 cap year.  At this point, I am still using a three to five year window for the Packers to get back to and win a Super Bowl, so having a sustainable cap situation through the 2023 season seems imperative to me.

Extending Martinez using the details I suggested would leave $2.52M plus perhaps $11M in rollover (for a total of $13.52M) to sign Clark.  That would be an ample amount of cap space.  I previously proposed an extension for Clark at $13.77M AAV in new money that reduced the Packers' cap space by just $352,000 over the 2019 and 2020 seasons, but obviously that was before Grady Jarrett's $17M AAV deal.  Jarrett is arguably in Clark's class, but Jarrett was set to earn $15.2M in 2019 since the Falcons had applied the franchise tag.  The Packers have Clark under contract for two more full seasons. 

Will the two years of control over Clark result in a lower AAV for him?  I suspect not.  I would expect his agent to insist on tacking on three or four years using Jarrett's $17M AAV as a baseline, and increasing it by expected cap inflation to boot.  The cap has increased by 6% the last two seasons.  $17M times 1.06 percent for 2020 equals $18.02M, times anothe six percent for 2021 equals $19.1M AAV in new money beginning in 2021.

The Packers could, of course, extend Clark while leaving his Clark's current cap charges for 2019 and 2020 largely unchanged, but that would be difficult and I suspect the team will want to smooth out his cap charges like they did in the Aaron Rodgers extension.  I suspect that an extension for Clark would mean that his cap hit for 2019 and 2020 increases by perhaps $4M.

Since the Packers have $13.52M in combined cap space for 2019 and 2020 under this scenario, a $4M increase in Clark's cap charges for 2019 and 2020 would leave $9.52M in cap space, of which $7.91M is derived from releasing Mike Daniels. The Packers would have had just $1.61M in available cap space if the team had not released Daniels.

What about retaining the services of Allison, Crosby, Fackrell, Spriggs, Lewis (or a replacement #2 tight end), and even Bulaga?  If any of them blossom, the Packers would need all of the aforementioned $9.52M to sign even a couple of them.  Remember, due to the 30% Rule for 2020, the Packers cannot give a player a large signing bonus and a minimum salary in 2020, but they could use some of the other loopholes.  Patrick, McCray, Pankey and Tyson also would all be RFAs if they make the team this year, leading to decsions about giving some or all of them tenders.

I personally need to see Allison, Fackrell, and Spriggs play in 2019 before deciding whether to re-sign them, and to see how the other internal replacements on the team perform.  It would not surprise me if Gutekunst also wants to see how these players and their possible replacements play before offering new money to the team's UFAs. 

Is cutting Graham to gain $8M in cap savings for 2020 a foregone conclusion?  Publicly Gutekunst has suggested that he expects Graham to rebound this year, and no one  truly knows how Sternberger and Tonyan will look.  The Packers needed to decide about Daniels now (or at least prior to the start of the regular season) to secure his cap savings.  Were the Packers willing to enter the 2020 season with Sternberger and Tonyan as the #1 and #2 tight ends without seeing how they performed in 2019?

As a note, I believe that Bakhtiari could be extended without increasing his cap hits for 2019 and 2020 because he has sufficient "salary" already scheduled for 2020 ($10M in base pay and another $1M in workout and active game bonuses).

Of course, there are other ways of gaining cap space.  The Packers could tinker with Rodgers' contract or extend Bakhtiari and reduce his cap number for 2020, but not by too much.  On the whole though, including retaining some flexibility in 2020, I submit that the Packers needed to free up some cap space, and Daniels fit their need.

7 points

Comments (26)

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

July 26, 2019 at 01:12 pm

Another great article that makes the complex simple. Cheers.

+ REPLY
7 points
7
0
GBPDAN1's picture

July 26, 2019 at 04:18 pm

I was hoping he'd sign with a AFC team. Unfortunately, he landed in the division with the Lions. At least it wasn't the Viqueens or Bearlys

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Bearmeat's picture

July 26, 2019 at 01:15 pm

Still sucks. Daniels was the only defender on our team even worth watching from 2013-2016. Pretty much everyone else was average to (mostly) worse.

+ REPLY
-5 points
3
8
pooch's picture

July 26, 2019 at 02:40 pm

Disappeared in too many games

+ REPLY
1 points
3
2
ricky's picture

July 26, 2019 at 02:42 pm

Seriously? Martinez has been really solid. Clark has improved every year. Last year Alexander looked like he could be really special. Fackrell racks up double digit sacks, but only Daniels has been worthy? Unless you're going to propose that Daniels was the only really good player on the defens for three consecutive seasons. But he has shown himself to be more susceptible to injury, and he's not getting any younger. Getting rid of one aging, more injury prone player who has been good in the past to sign some players who could help the team for years to come? Sounds like a solid tradeoff.

+ REPLY
2 points
4
2
Coldworld's picture

July 26, 2019 at 02:46 pm

True, but then the could be said about Jordy for a lot of that period. The past has no bearing in the present and less on the future.

This article makes a cogent case for the necessity if one agrees that Daniels is now really a pure rusher and that Smith and others reduce the need for him at that cost now let alone next year.

As to the signings, Clark is a no brained at this point. I would add Martinez to the “I want to see” category, not because I am not a supporter, I am, but because I want to see whether he thrives or struggles (relatively) in the new D. I also believe that Baluga May be back. People overestimate how much time he has missed and underestimate how good he has been when in the field.

The rest are, I suspect, outside chances. A team, especially one with an elite veteran QB, can only retain so many and must be selective. I think that Allison, Fackrell and co are likely to be ones that can, or need to be able to be replaced by younger players being developed and the draft. Now, could one really step up and change that? Certainly.

This money does give us the flexibility that I agree that we need. I hope that we drag as much hit into this year as well. I suppose I’m a reluctant convert to the release, based on the facts presented

+ REPLY
4 points
4
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 26, 2019 at 02:59 pm

That's nice because I think well in general of your opinions. Just to clarify, though, I didn't base my thoughts about Daniels on the assumption that he is now merely a pure pass rusher, though I did factor in the ability of Z and P Smith along with perhaps Gary to move inside. I expect Daniels to sign and play well elsewhere (the only caveat being IDK what his injury situation is).

I wrote several weeks ago that GB should not extend anyone, mostly because I, too, wanted to see Martinez play (and watch his coverage) in 2019 before giving him decent-sized money. Ditto for Lowry, but to a lesser extent. And of course for the young guys like Allison vs. MVS, ESB, Moore, Kumerow calculation. I am changing my mind because now that I've started to crunch numbers on extending players given the CBA rules, it is easier to extend in 2019 than to re-sign in 2020.

I also have a bee in my bonnet about retaining Bulaga on a pay as you go basis, but that's tough to do even with Daniels' cap savings.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Packers2019's picture

July 26, 2019 at 02:03 pm

Great article, James.

Cap space along with Daniels foot injury, him turning 30, and his drop in production made this a no brainer for the Packers.

+ REPLY
3 points
4
1
Lare's picture

July 26, 2019 at 02:32 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if the Packers really needed more cap space in 2019 it looks like they could release Williams ($6.4 million), Taylor ($5.4 million) and Crosby ($4.9 million) if they feel they have adequate replacements on the roster. By doing so it would free up around $16 million but add around $6 million in dead cap.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 26, 2019 at 02:40 pm

Most players can be released if the team feels they have adequate internal replacements.

Tramon saves $3.75M, but IMO he is the backup FS and starting nickel CB. Tony Brown and Jackson (when he comes off the Non-Football Injured list) might be replacements at CB. MVS beat Hollman deep yesterday by several steps at yesterday's practice, but overall the coverage was deemed by observers to be very good overall. At FS? Well, I am not sold on Greene, Jamerson as being a quality backup Free Safety. GB could move Amos to FS and insert Greene, Jamerson, et al. I am not sold on either of them at SS either.

Taylor saves $1.975M. Perhaps if Jenkins proves to be a starter and the team is comfortable with McCray/Patrick et al as the first guy off the bench.

Crosby saves $3.6M. So far Ficken is 4 of 6 on his field-goal attempts, having missed from 39 and 43 yards with no rush on a warm day yesterday. So far you'd need to be a great salesperson to sell me on that notion, but it is early, and the holder is new to Ficken.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Coldworld's picture

July 26, 2019 at 02:56 pm

I was just looking at an article grading Taylor. In a down year, he is still streets ahead of McCray or Patrick. For that money that’s simply a daft proposal.

I’m open to cutting Crosby if Ficken really outplays him but that’s far from a given at this point. Williams is clearly going nowhere at this point as far as the team is concerned and provides experienced depth in a sea of youth at DB.

The team believes that Daniels is now a pure rusher on passing downs and that that is a luxury as others can fill that role. Furthermore, the team clearly feels that the Lisfranc will impact him at least initially so he will be below par for at least part of the season. I don’t know about the latter but I expected Daniels to thrive through less use. That said, if the team is correct l, letting him go is more logical than the alternative package of three proposed as an alternative.

+ REPLY
2 points
3
1
dobber's picture

July 26, 2019 at 05:28 pm

McCray (or, at least, players LIKE McCray) is a valuable piece, though, in that he backs up multiple positions at a small price. We can argue about the quality of play, but he's the kind of guy you need on the active roster on game days.

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
Lare's picture

July 26, 2019 at 03:26 pm

I'm not advocating for releasing any of these guys, I'm just saying the Packers could free up another $10 million or so if they needed it to sign Clark/Martinez or add a needed player.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
Hawg Hanner's picture

July 26, 2019 at 09:43 pm

With all the talent in the defensive backfield will Tramon Williams be a necessity to keep around?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
IceBowl's picture

July 26, 2019 at 09:52 pm

Hawg Hanner,

He is the next logical choice for $.

If Daniels can go, so can Tramon. They both held value to the Pack, but, as with all teams, so does cap space.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Southside's picture

July 26, 2019 at 03:33 pm

Well I got a lot of down votes when I predicted this....but it is coming true.

Former Packers’ Pro-Bowl DT Mike Daniels is finalizing a deal with the Detroit Lions, source tells ESPN.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
Lphill's picture

July 26, 2019 at 03:58 pm

Good for him , I like who we have now.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Samson's picture

July 26, 2019 at 04:12 pm

I agree.... Daniels would have had to have the best year of his career to earn his 10 mil. + salary this season... I'm think'in the GB brass just made room for younger & cheaper & maybe more effective D Lineman to see more snaps in season 2019. --- However, now I'm a bit concerned about depth..... again.... the best laid plans of GMs & HCs often go awry.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
arthurl's picture

July 26, 2019 at 04:05 pm

Daniels signed with the Lions and he will be motivated. Oh well, good for him. If the Packers are smart we’ll see lot of Gary on the inside. I am interested to see how he develops. I feel he will be too quick for any one lineman and will need to be double teamed just like at Michigan each game. Daniels didn’t fit into new scheme so no reason to keep him around.

+ REPLY
2 points
2
0
sam1's picture

July 26, 2019 at 04:12 pm

Had to get rid of Daniels for cap space and like I said earlier went to contract to fast on Rodgers and now like the Bears are paying the piper and Daniels is now a Lion!

+ REPLY
-4 points
1
5
Samson's picture

July 26, 2019 at 04:29 pm

NFL teams dump contracts all the time to obtain cap space. -- Very rare is it just for cap space. It involves age, injury, performance & replacements already on the roster.

It's an extreme stretch (on your part) to connect Daniels release with AR's contract... In fact, it's kinda asinine.

+ REPLY
4 points
5
1
sam1's picture

July 26, 2019 at 04:37 pm

Talking about asinine yes you are! Your logic obviously is befitting an injured mind! Hit your head hard somewhere?

+ REPLY
-4 points
1
5
Samson's picture

July 26, 2019 at 04:45 pm

No offense, but... you're not making any sense... Take a deep breath & start over.

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
sam1's picture

July 26, 2019 at 05:35 pm

Are you really that stupid?

+ REPLY
-2 points
1
3
flackcatcher's picture

July 26, 2019 at 08:16 pm

Well done James. I knew the 53 was in a state a flux, but did not realize the extent of who was in play due to cap issues. Your comment on McCray is spot on, especially in a team that has to judge on player value on field vs a tight cap space for the foreseeable future. Your comment on Bulaga also made me chuckle, but it shows the box Gute is in. The Packers have no replacement for a talented older and injury prone player. That choice was made for them when Cliften? finally ran out of gas. I wonder if Rodgers will be play next year due to his salary and age. I doubt it, but still....

+ REPLY
-2 points
0
2
Holecrap's picture

July 27, 2019 at 03:16 pm

The Packers needed Rodgers to take a home town discount. Rodgers should have done a Brady, taken less and said go out and get some very good free agents with the savings. lets win some super bowls.
Greed baby greed.
Looking at the Pack schedule Mr Rodgers and Fleur better get on the same page. Bears, Vikings, Denver, Philly, KC and the Lions. Could be an early let down for Pack fans who waited all year for a turnaround season.
Could easily be 1-5 1-6

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.