Green Bay Packers Could Be Big Spenders Again in 2020

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images /

With the recent restructuring of Aaron Rodgers’ contract along with a few more offseason moves, the Green Bay Packers could have money to spend once again in 2020.

After the 2018 season one thing was clear, and that was that the Green Bay Packers were void of talent at some key positions. As a result, GM Brian Gutekunst was very active in free agency with four big signings. And up to this point, they have been spectacular additions.

Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith have simply been excellent, while Adrian Amos has helped solidify the back-end of the defense, and Billy Turner has been rock solid at guard. However, bringing in high-caliber players costs money and with those four players taking up $47.75 million in cap space in 2020 according to Spotrac, along with some other contracts already on the books, the Green Bay Packers weren’t left with as much flexibility in 2020. Just $27.7 million in cap space in 2020 to be exact – the 10th lowest in the NFL – plus any rollover money from this season.

But thanks to some recent maneuvering by Gutekunst and Russ Ball – Executive Vice President and Director of Football Operations – the Packers have freed up a good chunk of additional money.

On Friday it was reported by Field Yates of ESPN that Green Bay had converted $14.26 million of Aaron Rodgers’ 2020 roster bonus to a signing bonus. This allowed them to spread that money out over multiple years and it created $11.4 million in additional cap space.

Now if we look ahead, another way that the Green Bay Packers could create more cap space is by moving on from Jimmy Graham and Lane Taylor this offseason. Spotrac has Graham listed as a $11.66 million cap hit in 2020, however, if the Packers move on they suffer a dead cap hit of just $3.66 million. Meanwhile Taylor comes with a cap hit of $5.49 million but if released, his dead cap hit is only $1.38 million.

In total those two moves would save Green Bay over $12 million in cap space. That coupled with the restructuring of Rodgers’ roster bonus, the $27.7 million they already had available, along with the rollover money from this year of roughly $6 million (after adjusting Rodgers’ contract) and the Packers could have over $50 million available this upcoming offseason.

Having more money to spend is never a bad thing but considering the Packers have a number of their own players to take care of internally, along with filling current positional needs, having that additional money will certainly be a welcomed sight.

For one, Green Bay has some key free agents in 2020 including Bryan Bulaga who has allowed just four sacks and four quarterback hits this season against some of the best edge-rushers the NFL has to offer. Then there is Mason Crosby who has been exceptional, and we can’t forget about Tramon Williams who has been very good in the slot and is Pro Football Focus’ 14th rated cover corner.

Not to mention that Blake Martinez will likely make in the $8-$10 million range and even if the Packers don’t bring him back at that price, they’ll need to find his replacement which could very well come from free agency.

Then there are potential contract extension candidates, which most notably includes Kenny Clark who will become a free agent in 2021. But there are other players such as David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley who are very deserving as well.

Lastly, there are pending free agents on other teams that could fill some holes on this Packers team. And while addressing these needs in the draft is always a positive, if the price is right, bringing in a veteran is usually never a bad thing.

Some upcoming free agents at positions of need for the Packers include A.J. Green and Amari Cooper at wide receiver, as well as Joe Schobert at inside linebacker.

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So as you can see, there are plenty of good uses for this extra money that the Green Bay Packers could have available in 2020. And for a team that did some big spending this past offseason and is sitting pretty in 2019 at 12-3 overall, they have set themselves up to continue improving in 2020.