GREEN BAY, Wis, (WFRV) – “You’re welcome.” It was a subtle tweet but one that gave hope to Packers fans wanting to either keep their own free agents, or bring in someone from the outside. And they have David Bakhtiari to thank for it, at least partially for now.
According to Spotrac.com, Green Bay is now just a little more than $20 million over the salary cap, and $13.5 million for the top 51 on the roster. The cap was originally projected to drop to $176 million due to the coronavirus, but the most recent reports have put that number at around $185 million, which would allow for a little more wiggle room financially.
The restructuring of All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari’s contract created $8.3 million of cap space by converting his roster bonus into a signing bonus. Bakhtiari doesn’t lose any money in the process, it just spreads out $11 million over the contract and reduces his 2021 cap number from $19.322 million to $11.01 million. It will raise Bakhtiari’s number the following three years by just over 2.75 million each season.
The salary cap was just over $198 million this past season and the Packers still have to make more moves to get under the impending cap and there simply might not be enough cash to keep everyone next year. Especially when you consider the megacontracts Green Bay gave to Bakhtiari and Kenny Clark.
Russ Ball and company will have to consider all options and can make several positive financial moves by releasing a variety of veteran players with large contracts where they have depth. That could mean the departure of veterans Preston Smith, Dean Lowry, Christian Kirksey, and Rick Wagner.
Which brings us to J.J. Watt. A “source” close to the situation tells the TexansDaily.com that Green Bay is the “most likely” scenario for the recently released former Texans All-Pro and despite several teams needing premier pass rusher, there is one other obvious landing spot for the three-time NFL defensive player of the year. Pittsburgh. The Wisconsin native grew up a Packers fan and watched training camp practices through the fence on Oneida street. But both of his brothers T.J. and Derek play for the Steelers. The 31 year old has made roughly $100 million in his career and is a endorsement asset in the same stature as franchise quarterbacks, so money shouldn’t be an issue. They say that blood is thicker than water, and we will likely soon find out how Watt looks in the Black or Green with some extra Gold in his wallet.