In the NFL, no personnel decisions are made in a vacuum. With limited financial resources for players, teams must determine not only the impact of moves in the current season, but in the years to come.
The Packers are no different, and that explains why Ted Thompson and his front office have held onto an estimated $15,636,891 in cap space. Only six teams possess more room under the cap in 2014. This has created considerable frustration among the Packers' fan base, as some view the extra cash as a missed opportunity to improve the roster for another title run.
However, as ESPN's Rob Demovsky points out, the Packers are already on the hook for over $114 million in 2015, 8th-most in the league. Of that amount, four players -- Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and Sam Shields -- account for approximately half. With Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Bryan Bulaga entering the final year of their deals, at least a few more high-salary contracts are expected to cut into remaining cap space.
That's why the over $15 million of cap space is crucial for the Packers. Whatever isn't used on player extensions and the 2014 rookie crop can roll over into next year's cap figure. With the unadjusted cap expect to take a jump to around $140 million, Green Bay should be well positioned to make more additions next year while also extending the next round of important homegrown talent.
Avoid salary cap pitfalls is difficult even for the best managed teams. It's nearly impossible to compete for titles without an elite quarterback, and other than those on rookie contracts, such players tend to cost $15 million annually or more. The Packers not only possess one of the league's best passers, but they've done so without being pressed against the cap. As long as Thompson remains in Green Bay, that shouldn't change anytime soon.