A consequence of going all-in with Aaron Rodgers is that it forced the Green Bay Packers to push money into future years. That's all well and good until those future years become the present day.
The Packers are paying a little over $40 million on their salary cap for the New York Jets' starting quarterback, almost $8 million for a Jets starting safety, and over $3 million for a Minnesota Vikings starting defensive tackle. Oh, the beauty of kicking the financial can down the road.
Green Bay's salary cap picture looks brighter in 2024 when Rodgers' contract comes off the books, but the Packers are still dealing with some challenging cap hits. Here are three of the worst.
3. Preston Smith
Preston Smith's contract perfectly exemplifies the Packers' salary cap mess. The team needed to create cap space. Because of that, they restructured Smith's contract. Doing so brought this year's cap hit down to $6.37 million.
Fantastic. Just don't look at the remaining years of the deal.
Smith enters his age-32 season in 2024, and the Packers will pay $16.51 million on their salary cap. That number rises again in 2025 to $17.51 million, and again in 2026 to $18.21 million.
Green Bay could release Smith before then but would still have a significant dead cap hit to pay. Moving on next offseason would cost the Packers $13.99 million in dead money.
Maybe they will restructure his deal again and keep kicking that can down the road. Not ideal.