Packers projected to make most obvious cap-saving move possible

Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers need to make moves to create cap space this offseason.

A surprising $30 million increase to the 2024 salary cap eases the pressure, but the Packers still have work to do. Aaron Jones and Preston Smith have cap hits of $17.02 million and $16.51 million, respectively, and the Packers will want to keep them around for another season.

But that means creating space elsewhere. The increased cap may allow the Packers to avoid restructuring too many deals, which helps build a healthier financial situation moving forward, but parting ways with fan favorites is inevitable.

Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus recently named the top cut candidate for each team entering the offseason. His choice for the Packers isn't surprising.

David Bakhtiari is the most obvious cap casualty on the Packers' books

David Bakhtiari's departure feels inevitable, and he was Spielberger's choice as Green Bay's cut candidate.

Bakhtiari is a fan favorite and has built a Hall-of-Fame resume in Green Bay, but the time is right for the Packers to move on. By doing nothing, they would take on a cap hit of $40.02 million for the final year of Bakhtiari's contract. That's far too high, especially as the team needs to create cap space.

Releasing or trading Bakhtiari will save almost $21 million. It's by far the most significant cap saving available to the Packers, and it will allow them to make moves in free agency.

The timing is right. Bakhtiari has only played 13 games across the past three seasons. In his absence, the Packers have found two quality starters at tackle with 2022 draft picks Rasheed Walker and Zach Tom. The next step is to build depth through the draft.

Bakhtiari is still a phenomenal player when healthy. He proved that in the season opener against the Chicago Bears. Despite not practicing prior to the game, Bakhtiari put in an All-Pro performance. It was like he had never missed any time.

If he can stay healthy in 2024, his next team could get a steal. Bakhtiari can help shut down pass rushers on one side of the offensive line and play a significant role for a contending team.

But given the salary cap situation, it almost certainly won't be in Green Bay.

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