Packers still have salary-cap work to do after restructuring David Bakhtiari's contract
GREEN BAY – Bit by bit, the Green Bay Packers are reducing their salary cap.
After restructuring the contracts of nose tackle Kenny Clark and running back Aaron Jones to lower the cap number to $39 million, the Packers lowered it more by tapping the contract of left tackle David Bakhtiari, a source confirmed Saturday.
By converting all of Bakhtiari’s $10.1 million roster bonus and another $1.5 million of his base salary into a signing bonus, the Packers were able to reduce their cap another $9.26 million, putting them about $30 million over the cap 18 days before they must be under the $208.2 million limit.
ESPN was the first to report the news.
Together with Clark ($11 million) and Jones ($2.9 million), the Packers have trimmed roughly $23 million off their cap in less than a week.
Bakhtiari’s restructure was expected.
His contract was an easy target because his salary-cap number was so high ($22.03 million) and his ’22 earnings were enough that the Packers could get some considerable relief with a standard restructure.
The Packers converted the $11.6 million into a signing bonus, which allows them to spread the salary-cap charge for that amount out equally over the length of the contract. They added two voidable years to the deal, so that the $11.6 million could be broken up into fifths ($2.32 million)
Thus, the Packers reduced the cap charge on the $11.6 million to $2.32 million this year. It also means they have pushed off $9.3 million into the future. If Bakhtiari is on the team, the additional charge to his cap number will be $2.32 million, but if he is released or traded, whatever future charges remain will accelerate into that year’s cap.
The Packers are expected to tap into more contracts to gain salary-cap space. Safety Adrian Amos, tackle Billy Turner, defensive lineman Dean Lowry, outside linebacker Preston Smith and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith are options.
However, the player must be willing to add voidable years to the deal and so in the case of Za’Darius Smith, who has the second highest cap number ($27.66 million) and is in the final year of his deal, it might be more beneficial for him to reject the proposal and force the Packers to cut him.
Then he would be able to shop himself on the free-agent market and probably get more than the $15.75 million he is due in salary this year. If the Packers cut him now, they would gain $15.28 million in cap space.
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Other ways of gaining cap space would be extending quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ deal and structuring it so that his $46.14 million cap number would be reduced by around $10 million, and releasing or demanding a pay cut from receiver Randall Cobb ($9.53 million cap), kicker Mason Crosby ($4.735 million) and tight end Marcedes Lewis ($4.525 million).
The Packers can also gain a lot of cap room if they sign cornerback Jaire Alexander to a long-term extension. He counts $13.4 million against the cap. He is not an option for restructuring because it would hurt his leverage in negotiations if he were to agree to that.