The NFL’s 2023 league year has nearly arrived, and with it comes the start of free agency. The Green Bay Packers’ plans for the annual frenzy are still to be determined, but there are several key members of the 2022 squad who are set to hit the open market on Wednesday.
However, Monday is also the start of an important phase of the free agency process, with negotiations getting underway. And of course, there is the ongoing question of Aaron Rodgers’ impending decision. With those factors in mind, let’s take a quick look at where the Packers sit as free agency is set to begin.
Free Agency Deadlines
The official start of the 2023 league year, and therefore free agency as a whole, is 4:00 PM ET on Wednesday, March 15th. However, Noon ET on Monday, March 13th is the first major time point for free agency: the start of the negotiation window, known colloquially around NFL circles as the “legal tampering” period.
During this time, teams may contact agents for players who will be unrestricted free agents to begin negotiating contracts. Many deals will be reported during this period as the sides will agree to terms in principle, but contracts may not be signed and players may not have direct contact with teams until after the official start of the league year.
Wednesday at 4 PM is also the deadline for teams to issue tenders to their restricted or unrestricted free agents. If players in those categories do not receive a tender by that time, they will become unrestricted free agents and will be able to sign with any team.
Salary Cap Space
The NFL’s base salary cap number for the 2023 season is $224,800,000. Each team’s cap space is adjusted by the amount of cap space the team had remaining in 2022, and in the offseason only the 51 highest-value contracts count towards the salary cap.
According to Overthecap.com, the Packers currently have a shade over $24 million in cap space with Aaron Rodgers still on the roster. The team has restructured several veteran players’ contracts to create a large amount of cap space, including the following:
- RB Aaron Jones (~$11.8 million)
- CB Jaire Alexander (~$9.5 million)
- EDGE Preston Smith (~$6.7 million)
- DT Kenny Clark (~$11.1 million)
- LT David Bakhtiari (~$7.5 million)
Although the Packers now sit about $24 million clear of the cap, they will need to reserve some of that money for their rookie draft class, in-season transactions, and practice squad players. The team’s 2023 cap space will also decrease if Rodgers accepts a trade to the New York Jets, as that would increase his cap number from about $31.6 million to $40.3 million. This would end up as an increase of $8.69 million, which would reduce Green Bay’s cap space by the same number.
Pending Free Agents
The Green Bay Packers have 14 players whose contracts expire on Wednesday. Three of them are defined as restricted free agents, with the remainder being unrestricted. Here is the list of free agent players, which APC will keep updated with major news regarding each player’s status.
Unrestricted Free Agents
- S Adrian Amos (contract voided)
- CB Corey Ballentine
- WR Randall Cobb (contract voided)
- K Mason Crosby (contract voided)
- S Rudy Ford
- EDGE Justin Hollins
- S Dallin Leavitt
- DL Dean Lowry (contract voided)
- WR Allen Lazard — AGREED TO 4-YEAR, $44M DEAL WITH NEW YORK JETS
- TE Marcedes Lewis (contract voided)
- CB/KR Keisean Nixon — RE-SIGNED WITH PACKERS ON 1-YEAR DEAL
- DL Jarran Reed (contract voided) — AGREED TO 1-YEAR DEAL WITH SEAHAWKS
- TE Robert Tonyan (contract voided)
- LB Eric Wilson
Restricted Free Agents
These players have three years or fewer of NFL experience. The Packers can issue a tender to any of these players for a one-year contract at a set salary; if the player is not tendered, he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
- LB Krys Barnes
- TE Tyler Davis
- OT Yosh Nijman
RFA tender values are as follows:
First-round tender: $6,005,000
Second-round tender: $4,304,000
Right of First Refusal: $2,627,000
The Packers are generally expected to tender Nijman but neither of the other two players. Stay tuned for updates on whether that expected move takes place.