In recent years, the NFL has occasionally waited until the new league year has nearly arrived before announcing the salary cap number for the coming season. Thankfully for the 32 front offices around the country, the league decided to reveal its final number for the 2023 league year on Monday, setting the base salary cap number at $224.8 million.
This number is a substantial increase of $16.6 million from the 2022 value, which was $208.2 million. That number, in turn, jumped more than $25 million from the 2021 season, which saw a drop in the cap due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The value is closely in line with most projections from various sources. Overthecap.com, for example, was using $225 million as its estimated value over the last few months. That site has now updated to the official value, and projects the Packers to be approximately $16.8 million over the cap when the new league year begins on March 15th. Ken Ingalls on Twitter projects the Packers to be over by a greater amount, $22.5 million, with the difference perhaps coming as a result of contract incentives from 2022 counting as likely to be earned in 2023.
In either case, the Packers will need to trim cap money off the books to become financially compliant by March 15th. A few possible moves include restructuring or extending certain players with large cap hits; we at Acme Packing Company analyzed the possible effects of doing so for David Bakhtiari, Aaron Jones, and Kenny Clark, while other players like Jaire Alexander or Rashan Gary could be in line to see changes to their 2023 deals as well.
By using the maximum amount of restructuring for Bakhtiari, Jones, and Clark, the Packers could clear as much as $34 million off the 2023 cap and push it off into future years. Although they may not be that aggressive in pushing back the maximum amount possible, this illustrates the level of potential flexibility that the Packers do have. Of course, every dollar of these contracts that is moved out of 2023 will come due in future years, but the cap should continue to rise significantly, meaning that any future dead money will take up a lower percentage of the cap in future years than this season.
Stay tuned to see what moves the Packers make to get cap-solvent before the March 15th deadline.