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Cheese Curds, 11/17: Packers plan for free agency activity; LaFleur praises pass rush

Green Bay’s pass rush showed up at just the right time on Sunday, while the team’s GM says that it will be important to maintain some financial flexibility for the weird upcoming offseason.

NFL: FEB 25 Scouting Combine Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A $175 million salary cap for 2021 will be a shock to most NFL teams. There will be cap casualties galore, and even if the Green Bay Packers get David Bakhtiari’s cap hit down to its lowest possible number — around $11.2 million — the team will still be around $10 million over the cap based on the players who are already under contract for next season.

So while the Packers will have to trim some dead weight off the roster to get under the cap, they also see a pathway to being players in a strange free agency period, one where there will be less money to go around (at least for the first year of any multi-year contracts). That could lead to quality players hanging around in the free agent pool for longer than usual, and it could also result in some players taking one-year deals with the intent of cashing in bigger in 2022 when things are hopefully more back to normal.

Whatever the offseason looks like, though, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst is committed to making sure his team will be a player in that process. Today’s curds break look closely at his comments and how Bakhtiari’s deal could affect the Packers’ other impending free agents, plus some comments from head coach Matt LaFleur about the performance of his team’s defense on Sunday.

Packers’ secondary gets mixed results without top two corners |
Matt LaFleur was happy with his young cornerbacks in how they held up in coverage, but said that they need to get better in run support.

Maligned defense delivers with game on the line |
What LaFleur was particularly pleased about is how the defense stepped up on the Jaguars' final drive. The pass rush got home to sack Jake Luton twice and almost had another sack on the failed fourth down attempt, finally coming up with big plays to bail out the offense instead of relying on Aaron Rodgers and company to score 30.

GM Brian Gutekunst: Packers want cap flexibility come March | Packers Wire
David Bakhtiari's contract structure certainly seems to count on a big salary cap bump in 2022, as it allows the Packers to keep his cost relatively under control next season. That will be critical as the Packers hope to be a player in what should be a bizarre free agent market in 2021.

Next or never? What David Bakhtiari's deal with Packers means for Aaron Jones - Green Bay Packers Blog- ESPN
With Bakhtiari and Clark signed, however, and Gutey wanting to stay flexible in the spring, that will mean tough decisions on players like Jones, Kevin King, and Corey Linsley. But with only a few million dollars left in cap space for 2020, it seems unlikely that any of those players would get a new contract before the end of this season.

Ponzi scheme suspect used underwater ‘sea scooter’ in Lake Shasta to evade FBI | KTLA
The man ran a $35 million Ponzi scheme and presumably used some of his ill-gotten gains on this apparatus, which he used presumably in the hopes that the agents chasing him would get bored and leave. Alas, a half hour later, he emerged and was arrested immediately.