Historic salary cap increase could screw Packers out of dream free agent target

Green Bay Packers
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The NFL's salary cap is increasing by a historic $30 million in 2024, and the impact will be felt across the league. The news is mostly positive for the Green Bay Packers, but it could cost them a top free-agent target.

Safety Xavier McKinney would be a dream addition for the Packers in free agency, especially after hearing new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley break down what he looks for at the position.

"I want a guy who can erase things—we've got to eliminate explosive plays when we play this defense," said Hafley. "I think that position has to be a guy with high ball production, meaning he's got to be able to intercept the ball."

Hafley could've saved some time by saying: "I'm looking for a player like Xavier McKinney."

McKinney can eliminate explosive plays, tackles well, and can intercept the ball—everything Hafley wants at the position. McKinney finished the 2023 season with 116 tackles, 11 pass defenses, and three interceptions.

However, the salary cap news may throw a wrench into the Packers' plans.

Dramatic salary cap rise could cost Packers Xavier McKinney in free agency

The Giants want to keep McKinney, but they are running out of time to work out a long-term deal before free agency begins.

According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, the Giants using the transition tag on McKinney is a "possibility." It would cost the Giants $13.82 million to use the tag but would give them additional time to work out a long-term deal.

In that scenario, the Packers could still negotiate a deal with McKinney, but the Giants would have the opportunity to match it.

The increased salary cap gives the Giants far more flexibility. They have more cap space to afford the transition tag cost, and using the tag would effectively end the Packers' hopes of landing McKinney in free agency.

More cap space means more money for a new deal. New York has additional room to negotiate a long-term extension with its star safety.

The Giants have until March 5 to use the franchise or transition tag. The Packers have to hope it doesn't happen, allowing McKinney to become a free agent at the start of the new league year on March 13.

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