In late January, we at Acme Packing Company began analyzing how the Green Bay Packers might restructure their high-value contracts to ensure that they meet the 2023 salary cap at the start of the league year. One no-brainer move involved adjusting defensive tackle Kenny Clark’s deal, though we speculated that the team could elect to work on an extension rather than a simple restructure.
In that analysis, we found that the maximum amount of salary cap money that the team could free up for 2023 by a simple restructure is $11.068 million. And on Wednesday morning, ESPN’s Field Yates reported that the Packers did just that:
The Packers have converted $13.835M of NT Kenny Clark’s 2023 compensation into a signing bonus, creating $11.068M in cap space, per source.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 1, 2023
Clark’s deal now has a salary cap charge of $12.905 million for 2023, down significantly from the nearly $24 million he was set to cost the team. That’s a huge drop, and combined with the other restructures the Packers have made so far this offseason, it brings the team down to at least $15 million below the salary cap. The breakdown from January explains how the Packers got to the maximum amount of restructured money — they added another void year onto Clark’s deal and converted the maximum possible amount of base salary and roster bonus into a signing bonus.
Previously, the team shifted about $16 million of cap dollars into the future with restructures for Jaire Alexander and Preston Smith. And those deals came after Aaron Jones agreed to a restructured deal involving a pay cut, which opened up another $11.8 million. In total, that comes to about $39 million in cap space from just four restructured contracts.
The rest of the real contract for Kenny Clark runs through the 2024 season, with three void years now in place. However, the Packers can avoid having all of the prorated signing bonus money that would hit the cap in 2025 — now up to about $13.75 million — if they sign him to a contract extension either before next season or in the 2025 offseason prior to the void deadline.
The Packers now have one more big contract ripe for a restructure, that belonging to left tackle David Bakhtiari. His cap hit is scheduled to be nearly $29 million this season, and another straight restructure could shift as much as $12 million more out of 2023. Stay tuned for news on that front, as GM Brian Gutekunst said at the 2023 NFL combine on Tuesday that the team is currently working on that restructure.