2. Preston Smith
I know it’s hard to break up the Smith Bros, but when you look at Preston Smith, he just hasn’t produced this season. Last year, he had 12.0 sacks and was part of one of the best pass-rushing duos in the league. Now, in nine games played, he has just 1.5 sacks. That doesn’t exactly scream production. And certainly not production worth the $13.5 million he is making this season.
In the next two seasons, Smith’s cap hit is $16 million each year.
The reason Smith is a candidate to get cut is that there is a potential out after this season. The Packers would have to eat $8 million in dead cap, but that would save them another $8 million in cap space for the next year.
That money could be used to keep another, more productive player around or allow the Packers to sign someone else in free agency who could put up more production than Smith and at a cheaper price. With the cap situation what it is, there are bound to be plenty of veterans in free agency who are in the same boat as Smith. Cap casualties who will likely end up signing for cheaper deals elsewhere when free agency rolls around.
Letting Smith walk would also allow for Rashan Gary to earn some more snaps. He looked good to start the season but his production has since dropped as well. He does, however, have one more sack in about half the amount of snaps Smith has. This move may allow Gary to become more of a difference-maker on the defense.