Recent reports about the increase in the overall salary cap will give all 32 NFL teams even more money to play with in structuring their rosters this season – including the Green Bay Packers a team that was originally projected to be about $29 million under the cap a couple of weeks ago.
Now with the reports out there saying that the league’s cap is expected to rise about 5 percent from the $124 million to a cool $130 million, it looks like the Packers will now be at about $31 million under the cap as the free agency period draws near.
So what exactly does this mean for the Packers and does it entice GM Ted Thompson to move even further ahead with possible plans to either sign his own free agents or those from outside the organization?
Nobody has the answer to those questions nor will we know exactly which direction the Packers will go until the bell rings on the cattle call that has become known as free agency.
There has been much speculation about how the Packers will proceed. There have been those who have said the franchise may sign up to five free agents this off-season – the most in a single offseason since Thompson has held the purse strings.
The real question in my mind is whether Thompson will go after the likes of Jermichael Finley and Sam Shields. I feel that Finley already has his plane tickets to other cities in hand, while the Packers will pursue Shields with enough on the table to keep him around. Probably also on the outs are B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, and Johnny Jolly.
But there are also other important spokes in the Packers wheels that need to be addressed – guys like Evan Dietrich-Smith, James Jones and John Kuhn, among others.
How Thompson goes about the decision on who to let walk and how to fill those holes will be the story of the offseason. We know how he loves to draft and develop. The real question this offseason is how he balances the draft with the addition of players through free agency.
Stay tuned on this as things begin to heat up in the next couple to three weeks.