Overall, the Green Bay Packers are in pretty good health as far as their cap situation goes. Even with big deals on the books for Aaron Rodgers, Za’Darius and Preston Smith, and a few others, they’re not dramatically over-leveraged or seriously pressed for space in 2020.
But that’s not to say every deal on their cap sheet right now is a winner. The Packers are not getting adequate value from a few of their contracts. Here are the three worst values on the Packers right now.
#3 - Mason Crosby, Christian Kirksey, or Rick Wagner
Okay, this is kind of a cheat right off the bat, but hear me out.
Each of these three players has a cap hit of more than four million dollars and each will be asked to play a fairly substantial role on the 2020 Packers. And while none of their cap hits takes up more than about 2.4% of the cap on their own, together the Packers are devoting 6.34% of their 2020 space to players who have more than their share of questions heading into this season.
Crosby is the most stable of the bunch, but he turns 36 in September and time waits for no man in the NFL. Though he’s been solid since his 2012 nightmare season, it’s not necessarily safe to assume that will continue. Importantly, he has the 8th-highest cap hit among NFL kickers.
Kirksey, meanwhile, has a well-documented injury history, having played just nine games over the past two seasons. Though his cap number won’t hamstring the Packers long term by any means, he might end up looking bad for 2020 if his injuries aren’t fully in the past.
Wagner, too, hasn’t played a full season in some time, though his issues with staying in the lineup are more performance-based of late than injury-related. Should he again falter, he’ll prove to be a significant poor value.
Given this set of circumstances, it’s seems a fairly safe bet that one of these three will turn out to be a poor value this season. That’s not an indictment of Brian Gutekunst, though, as much as a reality of NFL roster construction. Not every deal will be a winner.
#2 - Dean Lowry
Dean Lowry’s 2020 cap hit of $5.2 million is the tenth-largest on the team, putting him pretty high on the list for a guy who registered the same number of sacks last year as virtually every conceivable person who might read this article. Granted, a big reason he didn’t get any sacks this year is because he had fewer opportunities to rush the passer, ceding some snaps to Za’Darius Smith as a down lineman in passing situations. But that seems like something the Packers should have considered before they gave him a three-year, $20.325 million extension just prior to last season.
As it stands, the Packers are paying Lowry like they’re expecting him to make consistent splash plays, something that’s never been a big part of his game. For a guy who’s almost always been mostly a run stopper (and not always a great one), that’s a poor value.
#1 - Billy Turner
Turner’s free agent deal last spring was something of a head-scratcher at the time and his hit-and-miss play in 2019 did little to ease anyone’s doubts. True, he didn’t miss a snap last year, but according to Sports Information Solutions, it might have been better if he had: according to their tracking data, Turner surrendered a whopping ten sacks last year.
Set to count $8.1 million against the 2020 cap, Turner still offers some positional versatility, though he’s not yet been called upon to play tackle in Green Bay. But at that price tag, the Packers would surely like to be getting a little bit more than a guy whose best attribute is being average to slightly below average at two positions.