According to Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber, the Green Bay Packers have signed inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell to a five-year, $50 million contract about three-and-a-half hours into free agency. Campbell tested the market and returned to the team, marking their first signing of free agency.
The $10 million per year number is good for 15th in the NFL among off-ball linebackers, according to OverTheCap. For reference, that is less than what former Packers linebacker Blake Martinez signed for with the New York Giants in 2020.
Earlier today, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Foye Oluokun to a three-year deal worth between $45 million and $46.5 million ($15-15.5 million per year.) On the surface, this seems like a great deal for the Packers, as long as Campbell can continue to perform into his 30s.
The former Minnesota Golden Gopher was signed by Green Bay in June and was quickly added into the starting lineup, eventually registering 16 starts. In his one year with the Packers, Campbell hit career-high numbers in total tackles (132) and solo tackles (88), good enough to earn him the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Month honors in October and First-Team All-Pro honors in January, despite a Pro Bowl snub.
To get their green dot on the roster by the start of the new league year, though, the Packers are going to have to create some more cap space. On Monday, Green Bay gave an extension to outside linebacker Preston Smith and released tackle Billy Turner and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith, clearing about $27 million on the cap in 2022. With quarterback Aaron Rodgers still yet to sign a new contract, the Packers are currently over the salary cap while receiver Davante Adams also seems to be unhappy with how his contract negotiation has gone with general manager Brian Gutekunst.
Another option, aside from Rodgers and Adams, that the Packers have to manipulate the salary cap is touching the contracts of cornerback Jaire Alexander, receiver Randall Cobb, safety Adrian Amos and defensive lineman Dean Lowry. In the cases of Alexander, Amos and Lowry, their salaries, and therefore cap hits, can be drastically dropped with an extension. In the case of Cobb, his release would save Green Bay nearly $7 million in cap space.