Now that Kenny Clark has signed his extension, who is next on the Packers’ priority list?
One of the Green Bay Packers‘ biggest priorities of this offseason was to get one of their young ascending players, Kenny Clark, locked into a new long-term deal. Clark is entering the fifth-year option of his rookie deal and has become a key cog in the middle of the Packers defense.
Brian Gutekunst took care of that just last week, agreeing to a four-year contract extension worth up to $70 million including a $25 million signing bonus.
And with that, Gutekunst can now look at who he can get done next.
Things won’t be that easy though. The salary cap is based on revenue earned from the previous year and with the pandemic, there is expected to be a hit in cap numbers.
The steady increase we have seen in the salary cap lately will surely come to a halt and at best, teams are hoping for a flat cap with the same numbers as this year ($198.2 million).
The NFL and NFLPA have at least helped themselves a little bit by agreeing to a salary cap floor at $175 million should the revenue loss be larger than expected. It is still possible, though not likely, the cap could rise. Early projections had the 2021 cap number around $210 million.
As you can see, there is a lot of uncertainty for general managers heading into this season and beyond. In Gutekunst’s case, and in many other teams should the worst happen and the floor becomes the cap, the Packers would need to free up a lot of space just to get under the cap and be able to sign their draft class without even considering free agents.
According to Over The Cap, the Packers have roughly $181.8 million in salary cap commitments for 2021. So Brian Gutekunst has his work cut out for him. Not only will he need to be a shrewd financial negotiator, but he will also need to be a fortune teller and peek into the future to make his deals.
The Packers aren’t alone in this as most of the NFL will be in the same boat.
The team does have a laundry list of key players heading into free agency after this year so it’s not likely all will be back. So here is my list of priorities for the Packers and Brian Gutekunst.