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What concerns would be in play for the Packers in a hypothetical NFL expansion draft?

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The league has not had an expansion draft since 2002, but here is a look at the theoretical factors in play for the Packers if there was another one today.

Green Bay Packers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

The National Football League has not seen an expansion draft since 2002, the year the Houston Texans became the league’s 32nd franchise. And while there is not another expansion draft expected anytime in the near future, it is amusing to think of the possibilities that the Green Bay Packers would have to consider in the event of such a selection show.

In 2002, the Packers put a mix of starters and young players on the block. Santana Dotson and Bernardo Harris headlined the group, while defensive end John Thierry, long snapper Rob Davis, and linebacker K.D. Williams also joined the mandatory five-player list. Any potential list in 2020 would once again be formed through intense analysis and strategy under only a few specific guidelines.

The list can be whittled down quickly by a few criteria that was established in the 2002 expansion. With this year’s draft already having taken place, unlike in 2002, the list will also abstain from rookies and first-year players newly entering the league or fresh off the team’s practice squad.

No kickers and punters

JK Scott

Mason Crosby

No player who will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season

David Bakhtiari
Corey Linsley
Lane Taylor
Devin Funchess
Kenny Clark
Marcedes Lewis
Kevin King
Tyler Ervin
Tim Williams
Montravius Adams
Jamaal Williams
Aaron Jones

No player that will become a restricted free agent after the 2020 season

Chandon Sullivan
Will Redmond
Jake Kumerow
Tyler Lancaster
Tim Boyle
Raven Greene
Alex Light
Robert Tonyan

Only one player with more than 10 years of NFL experience

Possibilities include: Only Aaron Rodgers - and to be short, the answer is no. Lewis and Crosby would be eligible, but are already scratched off the list through other qualifications above.

After all of these adjustments, the 90-man roster gets much thinner. As one can see, a decision would become difficult based on the amount of young players and established veterans the group is composed of. It is hard to imagine the Packers giving up on the ceilings of some of their recent draft picks prior to training camp, but some of their former undrafted free agent signings in year two could be in jeopardy. And besides talent alone, the salary cap could play a role for Green Bay in creating a finalized list.

Rashan Gary || Elgton Jenkins || Kingsley Keke || Ka’dar Hollman

Allen Lazard II Darnell Savage || Jace Sternberger || Jaire Alexander

Hunter Bradley || Adrian Amos || Lucas Patrick || Aaron Rodgers

Preston Smith || Za’Darius Smith || Davante Adams || Christian Kirksey

Rick Wagner || Marquez Valdes-Scantling || Equanimeous St. Brown || Josh Jackson

Oren Burks || Ty Summers || Cole Madison || Dexter Williams

Treyvon Hester || Curtis Bolton || James Looney || Greg Roberts

Dean Lowry || Darrius Shepherd || Billy Turner

Salary Cap Considerations

Billy Turner || Dean Lowry

This is where things get interesting. Back in 2002, the Packers placed one of their more expensive players on the expansion list in Santana Dotson. To move money around for the future, they could do the same again.

Players such as Turner and Lowry, while more than serviceable as starters, carry significant salary cap implications. With Lane Taylor on the roster, Lucas Patrick re-signed, and two new draft picks at guard, there are capable replacements for Turner. While Turner does have an out in his contract after next season and almost certainly would start at right guard, he does carry an $8.1 million cap hit in 2020.

While the defensive line may not be stable enough to justify letting Lowry walk, he did have a disappointing 2019 campaign after signing an extension. Green Bay is on the hook for at least another two years and $11.5 million of a cap hit. Perhaps the Packers could find similar production elsewhere while freeing up a large, freshly-signed deal.