Green Bay Packers Don’t Have Same Spending Power in 2020

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

With the NFL free agency period getting closer, keep in mind that the Green Bay Packers just don’t have the same spending power that they did a year ago.

After years of the Green Bay Packers being fairly quiet during the NFL free agency period under former GM Ted Thompson, the 2019 offseason was quite a rush for us fans. With holes to fill at edge-rusher, safety, and along the interior offensive line, GM Brian Gutekunst made not just one or two, but four splash free agent signings.

Of course, that group included Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Billy Turner, and Adrian Amos. When all was said and done, the Green Bay Packers had spent a grand total of $182 million on the contracts for those four players. And after how last season went, I don’t think that anyone has any issues with that.

Now as we look ahead to this offseason, once again, the Green Bay Packers have some fairly major holes that need to be filled. The biggest three include tackle, receiver, and inside linebacker. But they could also find Kenny Clark some help on the interior defensive line and add some depth to both the tight end and cornerback positions.

Unfortunately, this offseason we won’t see four big signings and in fact, there’s the possibility that we might not even see one high-profile player brought in. Players like Robby Anderson and Corey Littleton could very likely be out of Green Bay’s price range.

This is something that Gutekunst is obviously aware of and in a recent press conference, he did his best to temper expectations when it comes to free agency this year:

"“I think when you look at free agency overall, with salary-cap casualties and different kinds of things, I think we’ll be able to add some players to our roster that can help us. But we’re certainly not in the position we were in last year with the resources. We’re going to have to do some different things this year.”"

As it currently stands after re-signing Mason Crosby, the Green Bay Packers have roughly $18.5 million in available cap space according to Spotrac. Now, there are ways that they can create more room, most notably moving on from Jimmy Graham and Lane Taylor which will create about $11 million in additional cap space.

However, there are other costs that haven’t been factored in yet either. Some of these include money for the rookie draft class, putting together the practice squad, the 52nd and 53rd players on the roster, along with money to spend during the 2020 season.

After all is said and done, even with the cap savings from Graham and Taylor, the Packers are likely somewhere in the ballpark of the low-$20 million range in terms of actual cap space this year.

On top of that, with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) unsigned, NFL teams are unable to backload contracts – which is something the Packers often do – and are beholden to the “30 percent rule.”

What this means is that a player’s salary can’t increase by more than 30 percent from year to year. Meaning, any new signings or contract extensions are going to come with a larger cap hits in the 2020 season than they likely otherwise would.

However, if a new CBA is in place before free agency begins, the Packers – and every other team – will gain more financial flexibility with that “30 percent rule” no longer in place. Now, keep in mind that Green Bay’s spending power will still be limited compared to last offseason, but this will certainly help.

Having said all of that, this doesn’t mean that Green Bay can’t sign anyone, but when you consider they’ll likely offer Kenny Clark a contract extension and if re-signing Bryan Bulaga is on their radar, well that already takes up a good chunk of their limited cap space.

So any additions that they do make at receiver or inside linebacker, for example, will likely be ascending players with modest contracts, such as Breshad Perriman or Nick Kwiatkoski. Or if they are able to splurge on a player like Austin Hooper, then that might be all they are able to do in free agency.

Next. Gutekunst Aggressive in Solving Positional Needs. dark

So as we move forward this offseason and the free agency period arrives, this is all something to keep in mind. Because while signing Robby Anderson or Corey Littleton would be great, given the Packers cap situation in 2020, I’m not sure how likely it is.