How David Bakhtiari’s new deal could impact the Packers in free agency.
Bakhtiari landed a huge four-year extension last week and it’s well-deserved. As expected, it does make it that much more difficult for the Packers to re-sign their other upcoming free agents including Aaron Jones, Corey Linsley, and Kevin King.
Details of Bakhtiari’s new contract are now available. According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, his cap number in 2021 will be $19.45 million, then increase to $20 million in 2022 and as high as $27.5 million in 2024.
There’s a lot to consider here. First of all, there’s the possibility of a reduced salary cap in 2021. Even if that is the case, there’s every chance it’ll jump back up once stadiums return to full capacity in the future. So the big cap hits in future years should be manageable.
What does Bakhtiari’s deal mean for the Packers in free agency?
In the short-term, Brian Gutekunst and Russ Ball will need to be smart with how they manage the cap. Bakhtiari’s new deal limits their resources in free agency next year both re-signing players and bringing in others from elsewhere.
According to Over The Cap, if the salary cap is reduced to $176 million, the current projections would have the Packers around $17 million over the cap. That’s #notideal considering some of the names mentioned above who also have expiring deals.
It means it might be difficult to re-sign any of Jones, Linsley, or King. And even if the team saves money by letting those three players walk, it will still be a challenge to sign free agents from other teams.
In all likelihood, the Packers will need to be willing to make some tough decisions in order to create more cap room. That could include cutting starters such as Preston Smith ($8 million saving) or Christian Kirksey ($6 million). Hardly an ideal scenario but one almost every team will be faced with in the coming months.
There’s one potential positive to take away from this. Although it will be hard on the Packers, it’s the same for every team. Only a few will enter free agency with a big amount of cap space available. It will impact the free agency market and could lead to talented players having to accept smaller deals.
Getting Bakhtiari back on a new deal is great news for the Packers but with a potentially reduced salary cap to come, it will have an impact on the upcoming offseason.