The Green Bay Packers had two big priorities this offseason in re-signing their two big stars, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews. Both players were not free agents, but the Packers wanted to take no chances of their star players testing free agency. The Matthews deal was done first and after the Rodgers deal made him the highest-paid player in the league, it left many to wonder how it would affect the team’s salary cap.
Rodgers’s original cap number for the 2013 season was $9.75 million, but after this re-structured deal, his cap number will be $12 million. This is a much smaller increase than anticipated, giving the Packers plenty of room to deal with the rest of their roster. Before the deal was made, Green Bay was $15.48 million under the cap and are now $13.23 million under. The Packers are estimated to give up around $5 million in cap space to their 11 draft picks, giving the team $8 million left to spare.
This cap space gives the Packers two options; either work on deals for players like B.J. Raji, Sam Shields and James Jones, or sit on the money and use it to their advantage in the future when both Rodgers and Matthews will be taking up more cap space. Rodgers’s cap number alone will go up $5 million in 2014 and will eventually go up to $21 million in his final year of his contract.
As of now, the Packers are in a prime position to win a Super Bowl and will most likely try to sign players like Raji and Shields to try and win now and deal with the cap space later. If Green Bay does use their cap space up, they will most likely have to make key cuts around the 2016 season. If the Packers choose to sit on the money, players like Raji and Shields would have to take smaller salaries to stay on the team and the Packers would have space in their cap to continue building through the draft. It will be interesting to see which direction General Manager Ted Thompson will go, but either way he has a difficult decision to make.
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