There’s still a chance that the Green Bay Packers could pick up an extra $4.2 million in salary cap space this offseason.
An independent arbitrator ruled against the Packers in their initial grievance with the NFL regarding signing bonus money given to tight end Martellus Bennett when he inked a contract with the team last spring in free agency. The Packers case, essentially, was that Bennett committed a breach of contract leading to the team releasing him with a “failure to disclose injury” designation.
Under the Packers’ argument, Bennett would have been forced to repay 2⁄3 of the signing bonus money he was given last offseason due to being released one year into the three-year deal.
However, not all hope is lost for the team’s recovery of that money (and, probably more importantly, the cap space that comes along with it). Team president Mark Murphy said in his monthly Q&A on Packers.com that the team has appealed the arbitrator’s decision and feels strongly that the team will win the case on appeal:
I was also disappointed to see the arbitrator’s decision, Bill (and probably even more disappointed than you!). I really can’t get into the details, but we think the decision was flawed and plan to appeal. The appeals go to a panel of three arbitrators.
The Packers are currently estimated to have about $16.5 million in salary cap space (by Overthecap.com), a number that will be finalized when the NFL and NFLPA finally settle on a salary cap for 2018. However, should the team win on appeal, that $4.2 million would come off the books and would be added to the cap space value.
Stay tuned, as this legal fight is not over yet.