With the Packers roster and practice squad now set – for the time being anyway – and Week 1 on the horizon, here is Green Bay’s current salary cap situation heading into the 2023 season.
Over the Cap has the Packers with $6.03 million in available cap space following roster cutdowns in which cap space was needed to construct the practice squad, along with now having to account for the 52nd and 53rd players in the salary cap equation, something that is not done during the offseason where only the top 51 cap hits count.
According to Ken Ingalls, who independently tracks the Packers salary cap situation, the construction of the practice squad cost $3.82 million in cap space. Assuming the 52nd and 53rd players on the roster are making the league minimum of $750,000, then they would account for $1.5 million in cap space as well.
The remaining $6.03 million in available space that the Packers have will mostly go towards normal in-season operating expenses, such as gameday elevations from the practice squad. Ingalls projects that this could take up an additional $1.008 million in cap space.
Some of the remaining cap space will go toward per-game bonus potential that some players have built into their contracts, along with any potential in-season additions that are made. Now, of course, there isn’t going to be some major addition at this point–for one, the free agent market is quite thin, and two, the Packers don’t have the cap space.
However, injuries happen, or Brian Gutekunst will be on the lookout for an upgrade and could bring in a street-free agent or make an addition off another team’s practice squad. In recent years, we’ve seen the Packers sign Rasul Douglas away from Arizona, add Tavon Austin or Whitney Mercilus, and claim Justin Hollins off waivers.
Although I wouldn’t expect this to happen, the Packers could free up $4.3 million in cap space by trading Yosh Nijman. With that said, something that will happen at some point is an extension for Rashan Gary, which will create between $3 million and $4 million in available cap space for this season. With Gary playing on a fifth-year option – which is essentially a one-year deal – his entire $10.89 million salary counts towards the 2023 salary cap. An extension will add on more years for those cap charges to be spread to.
Ingalls also estimates that the Packers will gain $1.58 million in cap space from injury settlements with those players who were placed on IR when 53-man rosters were being finalized. Tyler Goodson, Broughton Hatcher, Tarvarius Moore, and Lew Nichols are the group of players who were placed on IR and won’t be returning in some capacity–or at least not initially.
The Packers enter the regular season with their top five largest cap hits belonging to David Bakhtiari at $21.3 million. Followed by Kenny Clark at $12.9 million, Gary at the aforementioned $10.89 million, Jaire Alexander at $10.75 million, and Aaron Jones at $8.19 million.
Green Bay’s adjusted team salary cap is $226.78 million – the max amount they have to use this season – and $58.8 million of that is going to dead money and settlements, per Ingalls. Dead money is salary cap charges for a player that still hits the current year’s books, even if that player is no longer on the team. Aaron Rodgers accounts for nearly $41 million of those dead cap charges.
Next offseason, Rodgers’ contract will be completely off the books, and the Packers will gain a bit more financial flexibility. Looking ahead, Over the Cap has Green Bay with $26.68 million in available cap space currently, although that still ranks 20th in the NFL.