2. Preston Smith, EDGE (cap casualty)
De'Vondre Campbell isn't the only veteran who could see his tenure with Green Bay cut short. In fact, Freddie Boston of Lombardi Ave listed several who could be let go as they look to get their salary cap in order. One player he mentions is Preston Smith a pass-rusher who had eight sacks last year and 41.5 in the past five seasons for the Packers.
As good as Smith has been, he's now getting older and that could weigh into the decision. As Boston says, the front office has to think long-term and Smith's contract only becomes more of a burden beyond this season.
"While Green Bay will only create around $2.5 million by releasing Smith this spring, the future impact on the salary cap is more significant. Smith has cap hits above $17.5 million in 2025 and 2026. Moving on this offseason would result in short-term pain—the Packers would pay $14 million in dead cap—but his contract would come off the books in 2025." — Freddie Boston, Lombardi Ave
One positive for Green Bay is they already have a replacement in-house, so they wouldn't be creating a hole they needed to go outside to fill. Lukas Van Ness, their first-round pick in 2023, came on strong at the end of the season. He finished with 32 tackles and had four sacks — all of which came after December. He's also a beast against the run.
Pairing him with Rashan Gary would keep the pass rush strong while also creating some much-needed relief for the next few years. That won't make it any easier for fans to say goodbye, but for the front office, it feels like the right move.