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Cheese Curds, 12/28: Tough decisions loom for Packers, Thompson as cap keeps increasing

Will the Packers’ GM adjust his approach

Green Bay Packers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers simply can’t keep paying some of their veterans the amounts that remain on their contracts in 2018. It’s as simple as that.

Between Jordy Nelson, Clay Matthews, and Randall Cobb, the Packers have $36.7 million in cap space tied up for next season. That’s three of the team’s four biggest cap hits in 2018 for players who, at a minimum, have underwhelmed over the past few seasons. At worst, there is an argument that a few of them are in significant decline.

In addition, the offseason renews discussions about GM Ted Thompson’s general approach to roster-building. In today’s curds, we look at one examination of Thompson’s strategies, and how they need to change given a specific dynamic going on in the NFL: the steady, substantial increases in the salary cap.

To be fair to Thompson, he has made a handful of notable signings in the past few years. Julius Peppers was a big surprise that mostly worked out; Martellus Bennett was a big surprise that clearly didn’t. Maybe those moves are a sign that Thompson is willing to take a few big swings after all, or maybe they’re just anomalies. Either way, there should be more financial flexibility to sign big-name players given the Packers’ expected $40 million in cap space next year.

Read on as we continue to get ready for sixty minutes of solid player evaluation on Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

Salary-cap growth eases Packers’ free agency risk |
Tom Silverstein argues that Ted Thompson has not adjusted to changes around the NFL over the past 4-5 years — particularly the fact that the salary cap is increasing at a far faster rate than in the early part of this decade. Should Thompson be taking more risks on big-name free agents, knowing that the ever-increasing cap is giving him and the team more financial wiggle room? This writer finds it hard to argue against that.

Return to Green Bay has been special for Davon House |
Although House wasn't a lockdown corner this season, he definitely brought veteran leadership and savvy to the extremely young group of corners on the roster. Apparently he "dropped everything" while on a free agent visit to Pittsburgh when he heard that the Packers were interested in bringing him back.

Packers: For Clay Matthews, uncertain future is 'not something you dwell on' | Wisconsin State Journal
Matthews will be 32 this offseason, and although he had a bit of a bounce-back year this season, he still hasn't put up double-digit sacks since 2014. With an $11.4 million cap hit and no dead money if the team were to release him, a pay cut or restructure seems very likely.

Packers WR Jordy Nelson hoping to play in Green Bay in 2018 | Packers Wire
Meanwhile, Jordy is in a somewhat similar situation, going into the last year of his contract as well. It also sounds like he might be willing to take a pay cut in the right situation.

2017 NFL season alternate universe - What bizarro timeline might have looked like |
Bill Barnwell looks at one big change for each NFL team this season -- I bet you can guess what the situation for the Packers is.

Fired food worker charged in Lambeau Field car rampage |
Last week, a man rammed his car around the Lambeau parking lots and hit five cars, focusing on one former coworker. On Wednesday, he was served with two felony and five misdemeanor charges.