Breaking down the details of Josh Jacobs' Packers contract

Green Bay Packers, Josh Jacobs
Green Bay Packers, Josh Jacobs / Ian Maule/GettyImages

The Green Bay Packers' decision to splash the cash in free agency and sign former Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs came as a bit of a surprise.

There was even more shock when it was announced that Jacobs had inked a four-year, $48 million deal with Green Bay. After all, handing out big-money deals to running backs comes with plenty of risk.

As is always the case with contracts, though, there is more to this than meets the eye.

Let's break down the details of the Jacobs deal.

Full breakdown of Josh Jacobs contract with Packers

The headline figures

The four-year, $48 million deal for Jacobs makes him the sixth-highest-paid running back in the league in terms of average per year (APY), narrowly behind Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb.

Of that, $12.5 million is fully guaranteed in the form of a signing bonus. This is money that Jacobs receives upfront, but is prorated across the four years of his contract for cap purposes.

That bonus therefore equates to a cap hit of $3.13 million for each year of his deal. The rest of the money is accounted for in base salary, roster bonuses, and workout bonuses. This is all non-guaranteed money.

The non-guaranteed money is back-loaded, meaning that in the first year of his deal, Jacobs will count just $5.3 million against the cap. This rises in each subsequent year, with each cap hit being:

  • 2024: $5.3 million
  • 2025: $11.3 million
  • 2026: $14.6 million
  • 2027: $16.6 million

A deal designed to be restructured

In handing out this contract, Brian Gutekunst did an excellent job of creating a deal that can be easily restructured throughout the four years.

There is a lot of confusion surrounding restructures, but in their simplest form they involve converting non-guaranteed money (base salary, roster bonuses, and workout bonuses) into a signing bonus.

The benefit of this is that any money involved in the restructure will, for cap purposes, be spread across the remaining term of the deal.

Jacobs, for example, is set to earn a $5.93 million roster bonus next year that will trigger if he is on the roster on the fifth day of the 2025 season. That bonus makes up more than half of his $11.3 million cap hit for 2025.

Should the Packers decide they want to lower that cap hit, they can simply convert that roster bonus into signing bonus and spread it across the rest of the contract. That would see Jacobs' 2025 cap hit drop to $7.3 million. As this is what is called a "simple restructure", they can do this without requiring agreement from the player.

With just $12.5 million of Jacobs' deal guaranteed, the Packers have a huge amount of flexibility to restructure the non-guaranteed money as they see fit over the next four years.

There is obviously a cost associated with doing this - not only does the team have to pay the player this money upfront, but it also bumps up the cap hit for the remainder of the player's deal and increases dead cap hits in the event the team looks to cut the player in future.

What are the options for cutting Josh Jacobs?

It seems a little premature to think about options for cutting a big-money free-agent signing, but with running back production being as volatile as it is, it is certainly important to have avenues out of the deal.

The good news from a Packers perspective is that the Jacobs deal is incredibly flexible in that regard.

The limited guarantees mean that Green Bay could conceivably cut Jacobs as soon as 2025. Whilst this is highly unlikely, doing so would actually save the team $1.95 million against the cap, rising to $8.2 million if they designate him as a post-June 1 cut.

With each year that passes, the dead money reduces and the cap savings associated with a cut increase. Year-by-year, they are as follows:

  • 2025: $1.95 million cap savings ($9.37 million dead money)
  • 2026: $8.37 million cap savings ($6.25 million dead money)
  • 2027: $13.5 million cap savings ($3.12 million dead money)

Everyone involved in the deal is obviously hoping that those aren't scenarios that the team has to explore. The Packers undoubtedly see Jacobs as part of their longer-term offensive plan and a key teammate for Jordan Love, but that flexibility is clearly a huge benefit of the deal.

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