Green Bay Packers Could Make Three Tough Cap Cutting Moves

Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this month, Over the Cap, a website specializing in NFL salary cap analysis, unveiled a list of 100 potential salary cap casualties for the upcoming offseason. Despite the Green Bay Packers boasting a youthful roster, not all of their contracts are contributing positively to their financial situation.

In fact, three of the Packers’ players were featured on this list of 100 potential cap casualties.

First on the list is running back Aaron Jones, who Over the Cap suggests was overpaid by approximately $4.8 million in comparison to the average starter’s contract. Last year, the 29-year-old running back accepted a pay cut, reducing his earnings to just $10.6 million, which is around $1.4 million less than what he’s slated to earn in 2024.

The pivotal question now is how much Jones is willing to adjust his contract this offseason, as it will likely play a significant role in determining his future with the team. Both Jones and his agent face the challenge of assessing his potential market value in free agency.

Jones is entering the final year of his four-year extension and carries a hefty $17.6 million cap hit in 2024. If the Packers decide to part ways with Jones as a pre-June 1 cut, he would still count $12.3 million against their 2024 cap due to the conversion of his salary into a signing bonus during the “all in” seasons at the end of the Aaron Rodgers era.

The second Packers player on Over the Cap’s list is linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, who may have strained his relationship with the team in 2023. Campbell publicly declared that he would no longer play while injured for Green Bay midway through the last season. Subsequently, he saw reduced playing time, especially on run downs, following the emergence of Isaiah McDuffie.

Over the Cap suggests that the Packers overpaid Campbell by about $2.2 million last year. Despite entering only the second year of his five-year extension, Campbell’s annual salary jumps from $5.1 million in 2023 to $10.8 million in 2024. Releasing him as a pre-June 1 cut would result in a dead cap hit of $11.6 million, potentially saving the Packers more than $2.5 million in 2024 cap space.

The third player on Over the Cap’s list is tackle David Bakhtiari, who presents the most significant offseason question mark. Depending on his medical condition, the Packers may be unable to part ways with Bakhtiari due to an injury grievance, which could entitle him to his 2024 earnings. Currently, his cap hit is projected to be an astonishing $40 million in 2024, a figure that would be an NFL record for a non-quarterback.

It is highly likely that some form of adjustment will be made to Bakhtiari’s contract, although the specific approach remains uncertain. The team may explore options such as adding void years to his deal, spreading his $21.4 million owed for this season over multiple years, or requesting a pay cut. For a release to be considered, Bakhtiari will likely need to pass a physical before his $9.5 million roster bonus becomes due in mid-March.

Tough decisions loom for the Packers this offseason as they begin the 2024 league year over the salary cap. All three of these situations merit close attention, at least until the Packers can stabilize their financial books.

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