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Packers restructure David Bakhtiari’s bonus, freeing up $8.3 million in salary cap space

Green Bay still has work to do, but this is a big (and logical) first step.

Philadelphia Eagles v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Although NFL teams do not yet know the exact number for the league’s 2021 salary cap, they have a pretty good idea — and it’s sure to be less than the number was in 2020. With current expectations sitting around $180.5 million, the Green Bay Packers sit about $28 million over with around a month to go until the start of the league year, the deadline to be under the cap.

However, the Packers have made their first cap adjustment for the upcoming season. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Green Bay has reclassified offensive tackle David Bakhtiari’s scheduled roster bonus into a signing bonus, allowing the team to prorate the bonus money across the rest of his contract — the next four years.

Now only one quarter of the $11,072,000 bonus — $2.768 million — will apply to the Packers’ cap in 2021, with the remaining $8.304 million spreading out into future years. By doing so, the Packers took a big chunk out of their cap deficit, though they still sit about $20 million over the estimated cap number.

General manager Brian Gutekunst and cap guru Russ Ball clearly still have their work cut out for them if they hope to get far enough under the 2021 cap to make any notable additions. Any possibility of re-signing a player like Corey Linley or Aaron Jones will require at least a few million dollars of cap space even for a back-loaded deal, and the team still has draft picks to sign and decisions to make about restricted free agents.

However, the Packers have now at least taken the first logical step to approach a point where they can make some of those calls. Bakhtiari, meanwhile, gets the same amount of money as he would have otherwise and helps the team out a bit in the process. It's a win-win for all parties.