Packers: Robert Tonyan’s contract creates much-needed cap room

Green Bay Packers, Robert Tonyan (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Robert Tonyan (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

A reduced salary cap is forcing teams to get creative when it comes to creating room. The Green Bay Packers have made a number of roster moves this offseason to free up cap room, and the way they’ve structured Robert Tonyan’s contract is another example.

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the team has “executed a rare maneuver” in the way it structured the contract. A part of his $3.38 million restricted free agent tender is in bonuses, and the Packers have added four voidable years.

It sounds complicated, but the most important takeaway here is that the Packers have saved $1.9 million on this year’s salary cap as a result. And that’s exactly the point of creating such an unusual structure on this contract.

As one of the best teams in the league, it’s no surprise the Packers have many star players on big contracts. That’s why they have been hit hard with the reduced salary cap and have been forced into making cuts and restructures to maintain a healthy cap.

This move helps both Green Bay and Tonyan. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, while the Packers get a cap saving, Tonyan gets the bonus money guaranteed.

Of course, one way to create a chunk of cap room would be to trade Aaron Rodgers. They’d make a significant saving on this year’s cap if they were to trade Rodgers now that we’ve passed June 1. But that’s an entirely different conversation for another day and it seems unlikely the Packers will do that. At least at the moment.

Overall, no matter how the team has structured it, it’s a bargain to get Tonyan back on this contract. He was a restricted free agent. The Packers’ top tight end caught 11 touchdowns in a breakout 2020 season and will again be a key piece in Matt LaFleur’s offense this year.