The new league year is fast approaching and the Green Bay Packers are still over the cap ceiling even after they agreed to a new deal with running back Aaron Jones that lowers his cap hit for 2023.
GM Brian Gutekunst will have to make some more moves to get the team under the cap, to re-sign some of their potential free agents, the draft class of 2023 and potentially sign some new players in free agency to improve the team.
Here is a look at six players whose contracts the Packers can restructure to get under the salary cap. These are moves that can be made without losing any players off the current roster. Players are listed in alphabetical order.
CB Jaire Alexander
The Packers made Alexander the highest paid cornerback in the league when they signed him a new deal last offseason. He is presently scheduled to have a cap hit of approximately $20.2 million according to spotrac.com.
His deal includes a roster bonus of $11.45 million that the Packers can convert to a signing bonus and then spread the cap hit over the life of the contract.
The Packers can save more than $9 million by restructuring the bonus.
OT David Bakhtiari
Bakhtiari’s contract is a big one and the Packers have been pushing money down the road on his contract a few times already. As it is currently structured, Bakhtiari has a roster bonus of $9.5 million for the coming season. If Gutekunst and cap expert Russ Ball restructure the roster bonus to a signing bonus, they can create a cap savings of at least $5 million.
They can add even more to the savings if they restructure some of his base salary for this season into a signing bonus.
His present cap hit is expected to be almost $28.8 million according to spotrac.com.
Gutekunst may be reluctant to do too much because once Bakhtiari leaves the team, the dead cap money could be large and damaging to the team especially if you add it to the dead cap hit Aaron Rodgers will cause when he eventually retires or leaves the team.
ILB De’Vondre Campbell
The Packers re-signed Campbell to a lucrative deal last offseason after they traded Davante Adams to the Raiders. His projected cap hit for 2023 is presently $8.15 million according to spotrac.com.
He has a roster bonus of $3 million. If Ball and Gutekunst convert that to a signing bonus, that money can be spread over the life of the contract and that would free up roughly $2.7 million in 2023 cap space.
DL Kenny Clark
Clark is the Packers best defensive lineman. He overcame a slow first half of the season in 2022 to finish strong. The former first round pick out of UCLA will be entering his eighth season with the Packers but he won’t turn 28 until October and is still playing at a high level.
The Packers can reduce Clark’s current cap hit of nearly $24 million. His deal features a roster bonus of a little more than $2.5 million and a workout bonus of $700,000. The Packers can restructure those bonuses and some of his base salary to save nearly $11 million on the cap in 2023.
CB Rasul Douglas
Douglas currently has a 2023 cap hit of nearly $7.8 million. The starting cornerback does have a roster bonus of $2 million that can be converted to a signing bonus along with some of his 2023 base salary of $3.25 million.
The Packers could save at least $2 million by making these moves while keeping Douglas in green and gold for the next two seasons.
Edge Preston Smith
The Packers restructured Preston Smith last year to keep him in Green Bay. The Packers will be counting on the former Mississippi State star to provide pass rush for the team this season especially with Rashan Gary likely to miss the early part of the season as he continues to rehab from his season-ending knee injury suffered in Week 9 last year.
Smith is scheduled to carry a cap hit of a little more than $13 million this season including a roster bonus and workout bonus that total $8.6 million. Converting those to a signing bonus and moving money around could save the Packers more than $6 million.
How many of these moves the Packers will make remains to be seen. There is always a cost to pushing the cap hit down the road. Eventually, the bill does come due and the dead cap money has to be paid. This will be an interesting offseason for the Packers regardless of what happens with Rodgers and Jordan Love.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
Click here for more great Packers coverage