Preston Smith was one of four players signed in the first week of free agency two years ago. In his first season with the Packers, Smith showed why it was a good move as he made 12 sacks and 23 quarterback hits. However, his numbers dropped to just four sacks and 11 quarterback hits in year two.
Like with Lowry, the Packers restructured Smith’s contract this offseason, a move that reduced his cap hit for 2021 significantly. His cap number is now at $8.7 million, which is more manageable, and will look a bargain if he returns to his 2019 form.
However, if the Packers choose to do nothing to his contract, his cap number will skyrocket to $19.75 million in 2022. That’s far too high and the team will need to make a decision. Releasing him would save $12.5 million but leave the Packers with a cap hit of $7.25 million for a player no longer on the roster.
The other option would be to work on a contract extension which, again, would allow the team to spread out the money over multiple years and reduce his cap hit.
But what if Smith has another disappointing season? The Packers might have no choice but to move on and take the dead cap hit.