One of the key components of the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLPA that was signed in 2011 was the ability for teams to roll over unused salary cap money from year to year. This was a win-win for both sides — teams that were well under the cap one year get to use that cap space the following season, while the players get to see that money eventually allocated to player salaries rather than simply going unused.
The Green Bay Packers have typically rolled over a few million in cap space each year, and will do so again in 2021. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the rollover amounts have been finalized for this offseason, and the Packers’ number is $3,674,018. This means that that value will be added to whatever the final NFL cap number is to get the team’s adjusted cap number for the upcoming season.
In other words, if the cap ends up at $180 million, the Packers’ cap value will be $183,674,018.
Green Bay is towards the bottom of the pack in terms of rollover space. Only six teams will get to roll over less space than the Packers, a group of teams that consists of Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans, the New York Giants, Seattle, and Tampa Bay.
Former Packers executive and cap manager Andrew Brandt discussed the cap rollover in an article for Sports Illustrated early this week. Brandt worked in the Packers’ front office before the rollover was explicitly allowed by the CBA, forcing teams to find creative loopholes to get cap credits from one year to the next. One way of doing that was as follows:
I had to negotiate dummy incentives—such as a clause giving our third-string quarterback $20 million if he threw seven touchdowns in our last game—to carry over cap room. (When he didn’t earn the incentive, we would get it as a credit toward the next year.)
Brandt would later clarify that the player who received such an incentive was backup quarterback Doug Pederson, and that the incentive amount was actually $10 million. Regardless, with teams taking absurd steps like that to find cap credits for their unused cap space, it is a good thing for everyone — particularly the Brandts and Russ Balls of the world — that the league and union agreed to the rollover.