Lost in the hysteria surrounding the impending release of Packers' ILB Desmond Bishop are the salary cap ramifications on the team in 2013 and 2014.
Bishop was entering the third season of a four-year, $19.05 million deal he signed following the 2010 season. The deal included a $3.2 million signing bonus spread equally over the length of the contract, a year one roster bonus of $1 million, performance incentives totaling $648,750 for meeting prerequisites, and annual workout bonuses of $200,000.
Bishop earned $7.789 million over the first two years of the contract, and $500,000 for both his workout bonus and attendance based incentives. By releasing Bishop now, the Packers must immediately absorb the remainder of the bonuses he has been paid, which means $1.8 million in dead money will count against the team's 2013 cap figure ($1.6 million for the prorated signing bonus and $200k for this year's workout bonus). The Packers will be able to afford Bishop's dead money, as they already have over $13 million in available cap space according to Over The Cap with his full contract on the books.
Releasing Bishop will actually result in a non-negligible amount of cap savings. The ILB is set to cost $4.764 million this year and $4.822 million the following season. Subtracting for dead money, the Packers save $2.164 million in 2013 and the entirety of what Bishop would have earned in 2014. Again, using the estimates from OTC, Green Bay should have approximately $15.43 million in cap space once Bishop is cut.
The savings in 2014 are more meaningful to the Packers as that's when bigger cap hits from Aaron Rodgers' and Clay Matthews' new contracts arrive. 2014 is also when a bevy of important Packers become free agents. The money recovered from Bishop's release won't cover all those expenses, but it could mean keeping one more impending free agent. That, along with the cavalcade of young and talented ILBs, could be enough to justify Bishop's departure.
Still, it'll be hard to see Bishop leave. It's always difficult when a vital member of a championship team and fan favorite departs no matter the reason.
Jason Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Co. He has previously written for Lombardi Ave, College Hoops Net, LiveBall Sports, and the List Universe. He is also currently a senior writer for Beats Per Minute, an indie-music webzine. Follow him on Twitter: @JBHirschhorn