On Monday morning, outside linebacker Preston Smith posted a photo on Instagram of him and his family in the Green Bay Packers facility while Smith appeared to be signing a new contract. Smith is one of the final key veterans that the Packers could have signed an extension with to ease their cap situation, as he was set to make a base salary of $8.35 million that kept his cap hit at $19.72 million in 2022, the final year of his original contract with the Packers.
The news came in shortly after via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that Smith signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract extension with the Packers that gives him the chance to make between $65 million and $71 million over five years. With just a reported $14 million earned in Year 1, his signing bonus is actually very low, as Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson reported that it will come in at $12.2 million. That would mean it will be prorated at $2.44 million per year over five years on the salary cap.
For reference, Smith signed a four-year, $52 million contract in 2019 that saw him make $18 million in Year 1 of the deal, including his signing bonus ($16 million), base salary ($850,000) and per-game roster bonus ($500,000.) The structure of his new deal, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein, will save the Packers $8 million in cap space in 2022.
The big question now is what Green Bay will do with fellow pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith, who carries a $27.66 million cap hit as it stands today with a base salary of $14.5 million in 2022. Releasing, or trading, the other Smith brother would save the Packers a little north of $15 million in cap space, which they will need if they hope to re-sign key free agents like ILB De’Vondre Campbell or CB Rasul Douglas, since talks with receiver Davante Adams seem to have turned south over the last year.