3 players Packers could cut in 2022 to create cap room

Green Bay Packers, Matt LaFleur (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Matt LaFleur (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers, Preston Smith
Green Bay Packers, Preston Smith (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Preston Smith

Potential cap savings: $12.5 million

Many believed Green Bay could’ve moved on from Preston Smith this past offseason after he struggled in 2020. To his credit, he’s bounced back nicely with five sacks and 10 QB hits so far this season. He already has more sacks than all of last year.

Losing both of the Smith Bros. would be tough for this Green Bay defense. But like Za’Darius Smith, it could be a matter of either extending Preston Smith’s contract or releasing him in the offseason. His 2022 cap hit is $19.75 million. When the Packers are at full strength with Za’Darius Smith and Rashan Gary, would Preston Smith start every game? For that reason, his 2022 cap hit is too high.

Gary’s performances this season show the Packers that they have a young pass rusher to build around for many years to come. Gary has been one of the team’s best defensive players and is still only 24 years old.

So maybe the team decides to move on from one of the Smith Bros. and then turn back to the draft to find some pass-rushing help.

If Aaron Rodgers is traded it will help Green Bay’s cap situation but, even then, it’s possible the team would need to release an important player to create cap room. The Smith Bros. both have huge cap hits entering 2022.