Around this time of year, NFL teams need to do all they can to prepare their roster to head into the new league year. For a number of teams, that means massaging money to figure out a way to get under the salary cap so that they can actually participate in the offseason.
One of those teams is the Green Bay Packers, who on Saturday made two procedural moves to get themselves in position to be cap-compliant. According to a report from NFL Media, the Packers restructured the contracts of cornerback Jaire Alexander and edge rusher Preston Smith, saving approximately $9.5 million and $6.7 million against their books, respectively.
Alexander was set to carry a cap hit of just over $20 million, but will now cost closer to $10.8 million against the Packers’ books in 2023, while Smith’s cap number dipped from around $13 million to just over $6.3 million.
More procedural moves may still be coming so the Packers can create enough room to sign free agents and/or their draft class. A contract extension for edge rusher Rashan Gary, who is set to draw a base salary just south of $10.9 million on his fifth-year option, would make a lot of sense, as Gary has been a highly productive edge rusher when healthy. Figuring out a way to drop David Bakhtiari’s $28.9 million cap hit to a more reasonable number seems like a fit as well, whether that comes via a restructure, a pay cut, or a post-June 1 release due to his persistent injury issues.
Either way, the Packers will likely first need to figure out what, exactly, is going to happen with Aaron Rodgers — recently emerged from his four-day darkness retreat — before they execute the rest of their offseason plan. Nobody but Rodgers can give them the necessary information on that front, though, and it’s anybody’s guess as to when that information will be forthcoming.