Packers: Everyone’s a winner with Preston Smith’s restructure

Green Bay Packers, Preston Smith (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Preston Smith (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

After a quiet season by his high standards, something had to give when it came to Preston Smith’s contract. The Green Bay Packers didn’t want to lose a player who had double-digit sacks only a year earlier, but also didn’t want to pay the huge $16 million cap hit.

In the end, both sides found a compromise and it should be considered a win-win for everyone.

Many wondered whether Smith would be released to create $8 million in cap room. As it turns out, the Packers were able to create almost as much cap room while also getting to keep Smith on the roster.

According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, the adjusted contract will save the Packers $7.25 million in cap room, with Smith’s cap hit falling to $8.75 million. In terms of salary, Smith can still make about what he was scheduled to earn if he reaches some incentives which have been added.

Teams are having to adjust after an unpredictable year has led to a reduced salary cap. It means many teams are having to release talented players to create cap space. So far, the Packers should be applauded for their work. They’ve been able to save money without losing starters on either side of the ball.

Along with adjusting Smith’s deal, the Packers have also restructured Adrian Amos and Billy Turner’s contracts. They could still decide to make similar moves with Aaron Rodgers or Za’Darius Smith.

The Preston Smith restructure makes sense for both sides.

For the Packers, they get to keep a talented edge rusher who is only a year removed from making 12 sacks. He also gets to play for Joe Barry, who coached him in Washington. For Smith, he gets a chance to stick in Green Bay and, if he reaches the incentives, will make about the same money he was set to make. There’s no guarantee he’d receive a similar deal had he been released and hit free agency.

The Packers continue to trim their 2021 cap hits, while Smith remains a key part of the team’s plans.