With limited cap space to begin with, the additions of Kirksey and Wagner already leaves the Green Bay Packers low on spendable cap space.
We all knew that coming into this year’s free agency period that the Green Bay Packers just didn’t have the same spending power that they did a year ago. Even GM Brian Gutekunst made sure to point out in a press conference that this year wasn’t going to be like last.
However, just because the Packers may not be able to make four splash free-agent signings, it doesn’t mean that Gutekunst was going to be any less aggressive. And with big holes to fill at linebacker, tackle, and wide receiver, before the NFL’s legal tampering period even began, it was reported that Green Bay would be signing Christian Kirksey and Ricky Wagner once free agency officially begins.
According to Ken Ingalls who is a CPA, Packers’ salary cap guru, and has contributed over at Packer Report, he lists Kirksey with a salary cap hit of $4.125 million in 2020 and Wagner with a cap hit of $4.812 million. If both or even one of these players can bounce back and be productive this upcoming season, these will certainly be great value signings for the Packers.
But after making these two signings, in terms of spendable cap space, the Packers just don’t have a lot left at the moment. And after crunching the numbers, Ken gives his current salary cap calculations below:
So let’s break this down. After taking into account the Packers’ top-51 contracts along with dead cap money, the incoming draft class, the signing of their Exclusive Rights Free Agents, and other liabilities, Ken has Green Bay with $12,181,978 in available cap space at the moment. However, not all of that is spendable.
Ken also sets aside $7.5 million for in-season spending, so if Green Bay chooses to sign a free agent mid-season just as they did this past year with Jared Veldheer there are funds available. They also have to have money set aside for the practice squad and for the 52nd and 53rd players on the roster.
Put all of that together and we have a grand total, according to Ken, of $10,686,000 that should be set aside and left available. Meaning, the Green Bay Packers’ estimated spendable salary cap sits at just $1,495,978.
Now, it’s not all doom and gloom as there are ways that the Packers can create more cap space. The most notable move would be trading or cutting Lane Taylor, which would free up roughly $4.5 million.
Green Bay could also look to extend Kenny Clark, Davante Adams, David Bakhtiari, or Corey Linsley which would lessen their cap hits in 2020 and essentially kick the can down the road a bit. Another option is to restructure Za’Darius Smith’s deal.
So while there are moves that can be made to free up additional cap space, at this point I don’t know that the Packers are going to make that big signing that many have been hoping for. More likely it’ll be another middle-tier free agent, like Kirksey and Wagner, or an inexpensive contract to Marcedes Lewis or Tajae Sharpe, for example.
Gutey told us that this offseason wasn’t going to be the same as it was in 2019 and it hasn’t been. But even with their current limitations, there are ways to make more room to add another player if needed. It just likely won’t be a high-profile signing.