With the new league year and free agency less than two weeks away, a word of advice to Packers fans from the mind of Samuel L. Jackson.
“Hold on to your butts.”
The Packers are going to have to make several moves to get under the salary cap by the time the 2021 league year starts on March 17. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst confirmed more moves will be coming to get the Packers below the approximate $180 million cap before that date.
This we already knew. Green Bay will have to cut players and/or restructure deals to get below the threshold and they’ve only begun to do so. The big unknown is who will get released and who gets a redone deal.
The bigger surprise in Gutekunst’s remarks Tuesday was him raising the possibility the Packers could use the franchise or transition tag on running back Aaron Jones, a move the team has not made since the 2010 season.
It has been presumed for awhile Jones was all but certain to land with a new team this spring but Gutekunst’s comments indicate the Packers Pro Shop might not be putting those number 33 jerseys on the clearance rack just yet.
Tagging Jones would mean he’d be in Green Bay for another year at a salary that won’t be certain until the cap is finalized but could be anywhere between $8-11 million dollars. Given it was expected Jones would command around $12 million, the wisdom of such a move can’t really be judged until we know the final cap ceiling.
Getting Jones back closer to $8 million and releasing Preston Smith for example would be a move that would make financial sense and also something that would please many fans.
Will it happen? Who knows. It’s going to be one of the most wild and unpredictable free agency periods for the Packers and the rest of the league have ever experienced.
Hold on to your butts.
Jones has indicated in the past he wants to stay in Green Bay and signing the tag would give both him and the team more time to hammer out a longer deal especially with a larger salary cap likely in 2022.
Other things we learned from the Packers GM included the team indeed plans to borrow from future caps to add talent in 2021 and that David Bakhtiari’s recovery from a torn ACL is on track and a Week 1 return can’t be ruled out.
The Packers added Funchess last year with intention of him shoring up a young and shallow wide receiver group, but the veteran opted out of the 2020 season thanks to COVID-19 concerns. The offense did just fine without him, leaving Funchess’ status for 2021 very much up in the air.
New Packers special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton made it clear when he met the media on Tuesday: JK Scott is on the hot seat when it comes to keeping his job.
Pro tip: if you make a dumb decision, admit it and don’t lie about it. Otherwise you’re twice the idiot.