Green Bay Packers 2022 Free Agency & Salary Cap News Tracker

Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

NFL free agency opens on March 16th and the legal tampering period, where players and teams can begin negotiating deals, starts on March 14th. For the Green Bay Packers, they still have a lot of work to do on the salary front before free agency officially opens, and they have a number of their own free agents to address.

Without a doubt, there will be a lot of activity from the Green Bay Packers in the coming days, mainly when it comes to the salary cap, but it will be interesting to see what kind of spending power they have on the open market.

But let’s start with how the Packers got to this point. According to Over the Cap, they began the offseason nearly $52 million over the 2022 salary cap. To help clear some needed cap space, Green Bay restructured the contracts of Aaron Jones, David Bakhtiari, and Kenny Clark, which lowered their cap deficit to $26.4 million at one point.

However, that figure has since increased with the team franchise tagging Davante Adams. Since franchise tags are only one-year deals, the Packers have to absorb the entire $20.1 million cap hit on the 2022 books. This now puts them at $43.8 million over the cap after receiving some salary cap credits from last season.

The big reason that the Packers haven’t made many cap moves even with the deadline near is that they are waiting on the big domino to fall, which is coming to an extension agreement with Aaron Rodgers. Once official, that should clear a fair amount of cap space.

As we’ve discussed before, step one is to get out of their salary cap deficit, but other space will have to be created as well. What that $43.8 million figure doesn’t include is cap space for the final two roster spots, the incoming draft class, the practice squad, space for in-season spending, along with cap space for free agency.

Now, it’s not all doom and gloom; the Green Bay Packers do have enough cap-saving moves at their disposal to bring back a large portion of the 2021 roster if they wish. In doing so, there are tradeoffs, such as sacrificing future financial flexibility, but there are a number of ways to create the required cap space to run things back once again.

Some of those cap-saving moves to keep your eyes on include extensions for Jaire Alexander, Preston Smith, and Adrian Amos. Contract restructures for Dean Lowry and Billy Turner, and possible veteran cuts, including Za’Darius Smith, Randall Cobb, and even Mason Crosby. There are other salary cap saving moves out there, but these are a few possibilities.

As far as their own free agents go, the Packers now have 22 of them—eight ERFAs, one RFA, and 13 UFAs. You can click here to learn more about those different free agent designations and which players fall into each category.

Chances are the Green Bay Packers won’t have much spending power when it comes to adding free agents from outside of the organization, but I’m sure at some point there will be a low-level addition or two—even with their salary cap challenges.

So there you have it. That’s where the Green Bay Packers stand and how we got here.

The remainder of the article will be updated as news and rumors on the salary cap, and free agency fronts come in.

Packers “expected” to re-sign Rasul Douglas

According to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, the Green Bay Packers are “expected” to re-sign Rasul Douglas.

Douglas provided some much-needed playmaking and stability to the secondary last season. According to PFF ($$), he allowed a completion rate of just 51% on 66 targets while coming away with five interceptions, two pick sixes, and seven pass breakups.

Even with Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes, cornerback was still a major need for the Packers this offseason, given the lack of experienced depth on the current roster.


According to Dianna Russini, Douglas has received multiple offers, but conversations between him and Green Bay are on going. “Both sides want to get it done,” said Russini.

Packers sign Preston Smith to an extension

We first caught wind of extension talks at the NFL combine. Now, Smith has signed a four-year extension with $52.5 million in new money. Over the entire five year contract, Smith will earn $65 million with the opportunity to earn up to $71 million with incentives, according to Ian Rapoport. This move saves $8 million in 2022 cap space.

Smith is coming off a highly productive season in which he finished 10th in pressures generated among all edge rushers. He was also very stout against the run. Although the Green Bay Packers still have Smith and Rashan Gary, bolstering the edge rusher depth is still a must.

Davante Adams will not play on franchise tag

According to Ian Rapoport, Davante Adams has informed the Green Bay Packers that he will not play the 2022 season on the franchise tag and that negotiations are not in a good place.

In terms of Adams not playing on the tag, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. He will either sign a long-term deal — which is what I think will happen — or sign an extension. Playing on the tag was never an option.

When it comes to negotiations, you can read more here, but in short, Adams is likely looking to exceed DeAndre Hopkins $27 million per year contract value, while the Packers are likely looking at Julio Jones $22 million per year extension that he signed with Atlanta.

Packers cut Za’Darius Smith

This move felt like it was only a matter of time. With a $27.6M cap hit, Smith was never going to play 2022 on his current deal. Green Bay can save $15.2 million in needed cap space and the Packers were able to absorb his absence with the play of Rashan Gary and Preston Smith—not to mention that Z. Smith is almost 30 and coming off a back injury.

Packers cut Billy Turner

This was always one of the more difficult moves to predict, but in my Cut or Let Go & Prediction series, my feeling has been that Green Bay was going to move on from Turner.

He has certainly filled in well at right tackle the last two seasons, providing needed stability along the right side. However, the move saves the Packers $3.4 million in cap space and his replacement could already be on the roster in the form of either Elgton Jenkins or Yosh Nijman.

MVS is drawing a lot of interest

Tom Pelissero recently suggested that Marquez Valdes-Scantling could earn $10 million per year or more in free agency. If that’s the case, then he won’t be back in Green Bay. Josina Anderson would add that the Bears, Raiders, 49ers, Colts, and Texans are among the interested teams.

If MVS does end up elsewhere, finding a true deep threat for this Packers offense will be a must. In addition to the big play ability, MVS’ presence helps create for others and creates better spacing as well. This element will have to be replaced.

Jaire Alexander wants to be highest paid CB

The Packers and Alexander’s representative reportedly met at the NFL combine to discuss an extension. Alexander is playing out the fifth year option of his rookie deal in 2022 and comes with a $13.2 million cap hit.

According to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic, Alexander is looking to surpass Jalen Ramsey’s $20 million a year deal—making him the NFL’s highest paid CB. While given Green Bay’s current cap situation this may sound difficult, the Packers can actually make Alexander the highest paid CB and still create needed cap space in 2022. Alexander missed a large chunk of 2021 with a shoulder injury and was a second-team All-Pro in 2020.

Packers re-sign De’Vondre Campbell

Linebacker is a position that the Green Bay Packers haven’t typically valued in the past, but according to Bill Huber, they just re-signed De’Vondre Campbell to a five-year deal worth $50 million—a very reasonable $10 million per year.

Campbell was an All-Pro in 2021 after signing a one-year $2 million contract in June. He finished the season ranked near the top of many key statistical categories among linebackers. Without Campbell, the Green Bay linebacker room was incredibly thin.

Details on Aaron Rodgers’ extension

After a week of waiting and wondering, Rodgers has officially signed the extension and we have the details. According to Tom Pelissero, it is a three-year deal worth $150 million. He will receive $42 million in 2022, $59.5 million in 2023, and $49.3 million in 2024. Rodgers’ cap hit in 2022 will be reduced by about $18 million.

Oren Burks signs with 49ers

According to Jeremy Fowler, Oren Burks has signed a two-year $5 million deal with San Francisco. Burks struggled to carve out a consistent role on defense during his career, which even included Green Bay trying him out as an edge rusher. Burks biggest contributions came on special teams, where he led the team in snaps this  past season.

The current linebackers on the Packers roster include De’Vondre Campbell, Ty Summers, Isaiah McDuffie, and Ray Wilborn. It’s also a fairly safe bet that Krys Barnes will be back as an ERFA.

Green Bay Packers appear to be keeping Mason Crosby

Crosby was considered a potential cut candidate, which would result in $2.39 million in cap savings, but according to Rob Demovsky, he won’t be going anywhere. The Packers have no plan to cut Crosby or alter his contract at this time.

Crosby is coming off his worst season since 2012, although the field goal blocking unit certainly caused some of those issues. But on top of that, he has lost some power as well, regularly failing to get kickoffs to the end zone, which meant a poor Packers coverage unit was relied upon more than what they should have been.

There is some risk moving on from Crosby given the lack of experience on the roster, and who knows, maybe the Packers still add another kicker, but my guess is that there will be a competition this summer, and if Green Bay is comfortable with Molson, Eberle, or whoever else they may bring in, then at that time they may make a switch.

Lucas Patrick signs with the Bears

Patrick has provided versatility and stability to the Green Bay Packers offensive line the last few seasons, but the odds of him returning were always low. The Packers have invested heavily in the draft at the IOL positions the last few years and Patrick was likely to earn more money elsewhere as a starter—whereas in Green Bay, he’d likely be competing for a starting job and paid accordingly.

Patrick will now join former Green Bay QB coach Luke Getsy in Chicago.

Packers won’t be bringing back Corey Bojorquez

According to Bill Huber of SI, the Packers won’t be bringing back free agent Corey Bojorquez. Green Bay acquired Bojorquez from the Rams just before the 2021 season began, but cost is a big reason that he won’t be returning. While Bojorquez found success, he did also struggle once the weather turned and had issues as a holder as well. Overall, in many statistical categories, Bojorquez was around a league-average punter.

This remains a position that the Packers will have to fill and will likely do so with an inexpensive option, perhaps a UDFA, or who knows, maybe they do spend a late round pick on the position.

Za’Darius Smith signs with Ravens

Just days after the Green Bay Packers cut Smith, he will be signing with Baltimore, where he began his career. According to Adam Schefter, this is a four-year deal worth $35 million and the potential to earn up to $50 million with incentives.