Packers create cap room by releasing Christian Kirksey, Rick Wagner

Green Bay Packers, Christian Kirksey (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Christian Kirksey (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

Two of the Green Bay Packers‘ free agent signings from last offseason are no longer on the team less than a year later.

The Packers announced on Friday that they have released inside linebacker Christian Kirksey and tackle Rick Wagner.

More roster moves were to be expected as the team has to get under the salary cap before the deadline, which is next month.

After a disappointing first season in Green Bay, it’s not too surprising the team has released Kirksey. Kirksey missed five games through injury and was outplayed by undrafted rookie Krys Barnes for much of the season. It seems the Packers are ready to move forward with Barnes and Kamal Martin.

Moving on from Wagner is somewhat more surprising. Wagner was a solid backup tackle and played an important role once David Bakhtiari suffered a season-ending injury. Wagner did struggle in the NFC Championship Game but as an experienced, backup tackle who had a decent season, it’s a surprise he won’t be back.

Packers continue to create cap room

Getting under the cap is the priority in the coming weeks. The Packers have already restructured Bakhtiari’s contract, and now these two moves help free up more cap space. According to Over The Cap, the Packers will create around $9.8 million by releasing both players.

It’s a significant cap saving for two players who would likely be backups in 2021, so it makes sense.

But the Packers will still be more than $11 million over the projected cap, so more roster or contract moves will need to be made in the coming weeks. The team may decide to wait until we know the exact salary cap number for 2021 before making more decisions, but we’ll see.

It’s fair to say inside linebacker and tackle become bigger needs this offseason after releasing Kirksey and Wagner.