5 potential cap casualties for Packers with reduced 2021 salary cap

Green Bay Packers, Josh Jackson (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Josh Jackson (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers
Christian Kirksey (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) *** Javorius Allen;Christian Kirksey /

Christian Kirksey

This is perhaps the least likely of the five possibilities in this article, but even after one season, the Packers could decide to move on from inside linebacker Christian Kirksey. Kirksey’s cap hit in 2021 will be $8 million, and the team could make a cap saving of $6 million if they decided to move on.

A lot will depend on this season. If Kirksey is healthy, he has the talent to become a key part of this defense and an upgrade on former starter Blake Martinez. But if Kirksey’s bad luck with injuries continues (he’s missed 23 regular season games over the past two years), the Packers could move on.

What’s difficult here is that Kirksey is set to be an important starter for this defense in 2020 and, currently, there’s no obvious choice to replace him beyond this season. That would change if Oren Burks has a breakout season or Curtis Bolton impresses this year.

If not, moving on from Kirksey would make inside linebacker a major need next offseason. And if the team moves on from Kirksey to free up cap room, it wouldn’t make much sense to then sign another inside linebacker in free agency. The Packers would need a rookie to come in and play an important role right away.