Packers salary cap: 5 biggest contracts entering 2022

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers have a busy month ahead.

In around four weeks, they must clear approximately $50 million in salary cap room. There are a number of ways for them to do that with restructured deals, contract extensions, or by releasing players.

Here’s a look at the Packers’ biggest cap hits entering 2022, per Over The Cap.

1. Aaron Rodgers (2022 cap hit: $46.66 million)

Something has to change here. Whether Aaron Rodgers returns or not, the Packers need to lower this cap number.

If he stays, a good way to do it would be via a contract extension to help spread money across the duration of the deal. If he leaves, trading him would lower his cap number.

2. Za’Darius Smith (2022 cap hit: $27.67 million)

Did Za’Darius Smith hint that his time in Green Bay is coming to an end? Smith cleared all references to the Packers on his social media. And after a season that Smith was limited to just two games, the Packers could save over $15 million by moving on.

If Green Bay does re-sign him, a new deal might be needed.

3. David Bakhtiari (2022 cap hit: $22.2 million)

Hopefully David Bakhtiari gets back to full strength for the 2022 season. The Packers will need their All-Pro left tackle regardless of who the starting quarterback is. He also has a big salary cap hit for 2022.

Green Bay may decide to leave Bakhtiari’s contract as it is, but a restructure could be a way of creating space for 2022, although it would push money into future years.

4. Kenny Clark (2022 cap hit: $20.87 million)

The Packers structured Kenny Clark’s deal to have a lower cap hit in the first two years before jumping up in 2022. His cap number rises from $6.98 million in 2021 to $20.87 million in 2022. Again, a restructure could help in the short term but push money into future years.

5. Preston Smith (2022 cap hit: $19.72 million)

Expect the Packers to do something about Preston Smith’s deal. After a bounce-back season, Green Bay could opt to offer Smith a new contract. This would help lower his 2022 cap hit.