Packers could cut or trade Preston Smith
We could see a similar scenario with Preston Smith. If Green Bay's season doesn't go to plan, moving on from Smith could achieve a couple of things.
One benefits the salary cap. Smith's cap hit this season is a manageable $6.37 million, but it skyrockets to $16.51 million, $17.51 million, and $18.21 million over the next three years.
If the Packers were to release Smith during the season, they would make a small saving of around $2 million this year and would then pay $13.99 million in dead cap in 2024. It's still a high number, but lower than his current 2024 cap hit. Smith's contract would be off the books after that.
The other benefit of moving on is it creates more opportunities for Lukas Van Ness, the Packers' first-round pick. If Green Bay faces a losing season and knows it plans to move on from Smith, why not give Van Ness more snaps? That experience could pay off in the coming seasons as Van Ness improves his game.
Releasing Smith seems more likely than a trade, as a team trading for him would have to take on his contract. Smith turns 31 in November but his cap hits are set to keep rising over the next three seasons.