Earlier this month, Over the Cap, a website focusing on the NFL’s salary cap, released a list of 100 potential cap casualties for the upcoming offseason. How did they come up with this list of names? Here is their criteria:
- A player must be due at least $4 million in cash next season.
- A negative contract fate, OTC’s historical tracking of how likely players are to be cut based on their year-to-year raises at individual positions.
- Among qualifiers, rank in the top-100 in OTC’s valuation above the median starter.
While the Green Bay Packers have an extremely young roster moving forward, that doesn’t mean that all of their contracts are net positives. In fact, three of Green Bay’s players made this 100-man list.
The first is running back Aaron Jones, who according to OTC was overpaid by about $4.8 million compared to the value of an average starter’s contract. The 29-year-old ball-carrier took a pay cut that saw him receive just $10.6 million last year, about $1.4 million less than what he’s on the books for in 2024. One has to wonder how much Jones would be willing to shave off this offseason, as that will almost certainly be a factor in whether or not he returns to the team. The tough balancing act from his perspective, and his agent’s, is understanding how much he would be able to bring in on the open market.
Jones is in the final year of his four-year extension and is set to have a $17.6 million cap hit in 2024. If the Packers did move on from Jones as a pre-June 1 cut, he would still count $12.3 million against their 2024 cap, as the team converted his salary into a signing bonus — which spreads his cap hits over several years — during the “all in” seasons at the end of the Aaron Rodgers era.
The second Packer on the list is linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, who probably didn’t earn himself any new fans in 2023. Campbell publically stated that he was no longer going to play injured for Green Bay mid-way through last season and began to be phased out as an every-down player following the emergence of Isaiah McDuffie, who often played run downs for Campbell upon Campbell’s return.
Per OTC, the Packers overpaid Campbell by about $2.2 million last year. Despite only finishing his second second into his five-year extension Campbell’s yearly cash jumps up from $5.1 million in 2023 to $10.8 million in 2024. His pre-June 1 dead cap would only be $11.6 million, meaning that the Packers could save north of $2.5 million in 2024 cap space with a potential release.
The third and final player on OTC’s list is tackle David Bakhtiari, the biggest question of the offseason. Depending on the medicals, the Packers might not be able to get out of Bakhtiari’s contract at all — as he could be owed his 2024 money via an injury grievance. At the moment, though, his cap hit is expected to be $40 million in 2024, an astronomical number that would be the highest in NFL history for a non-quarterback.
It’s almost certain that some sort of adjustment will be made to Bakhtiari’s contract, though, it’s unclear if the team will attempt to add void years to his deal — allowing the team to pay his $21.4 million in money owed this season over multiple years — or if they will ask him to take a pay cut. For a release to be on the table, Bakhtiari will likely have to pass a physical before his $9.5 million roster bonus is due in mid-March.
Tough decisions will need to be made this offseason, as the Packers will start the 2024 league year over the cap. All three of these situations are worth paying attention to, at least until Green Bay’s books are balanced.