Packers: Breaking down the 2018 salary cap before free agency

Green Bay Packers, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers have a healthy salary cap entering the offseason, but big decisions await.

According to Over The Cap, the Packers currently have approximately $21.98 million in cap room. That currently ranks No. 19 in the NFL.

But that’s only the beginning of this discussion.

First is Aaron Rodgers‘ upcoming extension.

With just two years remaining on his current deal, the Packers will almost certainly work out a long-term extension this offseason, making him the highest paid player in the league once again.

New general manager Brian Gutekunst might also look to free up some room for potential free agent signings.

Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Clay Matthews have the highest 2018 cap hits for those not named Aaron Rodgers. All three are entering contract years.

Cobb is set for a cap hit of $12.75 million. Nelson is just behind at $12.56 million. Matthews comes in at $11.40 million.

There’s no way the Packers would cut all three. But for those wondering, doing so would free up over $31 million in cap room.

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But it’s far more likely Gutekunst looks to restructure one or two contracts. All three players mentioned still have something to offer.

Nelson might not be the same explosive playmaker he once was, but he’s a savvy route-runner and has chemistry with Rodgers. A bigger role in the slot makes the most sense for him.

Cobb has a positive impact on offense, too. While he hasn’t been able to match his excellent 2014 season — which is still the only year he’s surpassed 1,000 yards receiving — he’s still a threat in the slot.

Matthews led the Packers in sacks this year with 8.5, his highest total since 2014. Like Nelson, Matthews’ best days are behind him, but Green Bay’s defense is still better with him than without.

Another name to watch is Bryan Bulaga.

The veteran right tackle had his season cut short by a torn ACL, the second of his Packers career. His long injury history is particularly concerning, especially considering he’s set for a cap hit of $8.35 million in 2018.

Gutekunst may look to restructure a few contracts this offseason to free up cap space in the short term. Maybe he’ll decide to part ways with one or two big-name players.

Next: Packers: 12 players that need to go this offseason

Time will tell. No matter what Gutekunst decides to do, it will have a direct impact on the salary cap.