Key Packers takeaways from historic NFL salary cap increase

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Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst can breathe a sigh of relief.

Gutekunst and Russ Ball have navigated a challenging salary cap situation in recent offseasons, but good news has arrived.

On Friday, the NFL announced a significant increase to the 2024 salary cap. The number jumps to $255.4 million, a historic increase of $30 million from the previous year. The Packers already had more flexibility this offseason than in recent years, but the additional cap space comes at a great time.

According to Over The Cap, the Packers have $8.2 million in cap space before any releases, restructures, or contract extensions. Previous projections had the Packers slightly over the salary cap, so this news has made a massive difference.

How will this impact the Packers entering the offseason?

3 takeaways for Packers after massive NFL salary cap increase

Packers can retain Aaron Jones and Preston Smith

The Packers have additional flexibility to retain key starters Aaron Jones and Preston Smith, and they could potentially do so without reworking their contracts.

In recent offseasons, limited cap space forced Green Bay to restructure several deals. Doing so created a short-term fix but pushed more financial issues into future years. The significant rise in cap space allows the Packers to restructure fewer deals, helping create a healthier financial situation in upcoming seasons.

In the short term, they can keep Jones and Smith, two important leaders on this team.

Packers have more flexibility in free agency

"I do feel whatever opportunities are out there to improve our team in free agency, we'll be able to do that," Brian Gutekunst said earlier this month.

That was before the salary cap increase. The Packers have additional flexibility to make moves in free agency. They are unlikely to sign multiple players on massive contracts. That's not their style. But Gutekunst will be able to strengthen at positions of need and make a few moves.

Green Bay has a little over $8 million to work with, but Gutekunst can increase that number with expected roster cuts. Releasing David Bakhtiari, De'Vondre Campbell, and Royce Newman would create almost $25 million.

That would put the Packers at around $33 million without restructuring any deals.

Packers still likely to move on from David Bakhtiari

The additional cap space can help the Packers retain Jones and Smith, but it likely won't change the plan for tackle David Bakhtiari. He has a cap hit of $40 million, and the Packers will more than halve that number by moving on from the five-time All-Pro.

Bakhtiari's recent injury history is a concern, and the Packers have found two quality starting tackles in Rasheed Walker and Zach Tom.

Releasing Bakhtiari will create a significant amount of cap space to use in free agency, potentially preventing the team from having to push the can down the road with more restructures.

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