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Kevin King’s contract uses $2 million in cap space for 2021, shifts $3M into 2022

Green Bay used void years in King’s deal to shift more than half of his cap hit to next season.

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Earlier this week, the Green Bay Packers agreed to a new one-year contract with Kevin King, bringing back the embattled and oft-injured cornerback for the 2021 season. The deal was reported to carry $6 million in total compensation, but details are now available to fully evaluate the contract.

Thanks to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, we know the following:

King gets a $3.75 million signing bonus with a $1 million base salary, $200,000 in per-game active roster bonuses, and around $1 million in incentives. However, the Packers managed to make this contract count for just $1,887,500 in salary cap money for the 2021 season.

How? By using the “void year” concept, which artificially spreads out a signing bonus out to multiple years, allowing a team to shift cap money back into the year after the contract truly ends. Wilson notes that this contract is actually a five-year contract, but the final four years of the deal will void automatically in February 2022.

The effect of this structure is that King’s $3.75 million signing bonus gets spread out over those five years for cap purposes, meaning that just $750,000 of the bonus is accounted for each year — including 2021. However, when the contract voids next offseason, all of the remaining $3 million will come due on the 2022 cap.

The cap charges break down as follows for 2021, leading to a total cap number of $1,937,500 for the upcoming season:

  • $1 million (base salary)
  • $750,000 (1/5 of signing bonus)
  • $137,500 (per-game active roster bonuses*)
  • $50,000 (workout bonus)

*Note that the per-game active roster bonuses are subject to the “likely to be earned” language in the CBA. Because King played in 11 games in 2020, only 11/16 of the total per-game bonus amount counts on the 2021 cap. Note also that this has been updated to include a reported $50,000 workout bonus which was not initially included in the reporting.

Again, this contract will void for 2022, giving the Packers a cap charge of $3 million next season as part of securing King’s services for 2021. The Packers have largely avoided using void years in contracts until this season, but over the past few weeks they have implemented them as part of a few contract restructures for veteran players. This becomes the first time (that we are aware of) that the Packers have used the tool to spread out a cap number on a new contract.

Clearly, the Packers are hoping and expecting for a major increase in the salary cap in 2022. Including King’s new deal, the team currently has an estimated $205 million in cap commitments for next season (per despite Davante Adams not being under contract beyond 2021 and the team needing to exercise Jaire Alexander’s fifth-year option.