Mark Tauscher

Tauscher will probably be a salary cap casualty if he doesn't retire.

Once the new collective bargaining agreement is finished, the salary cap will return to the NFL and 2011’s cap will be lower than 2009’s.

The cap is projected to be as high as $121 million, but could be as low as $117 million. The 2009 cap was $122 million.

If the 2011 cap is $120 million, the Green Bay Packers would be one of seven teams that exceed that number right now. How do they get under it?

The solution is fairly simple and involves cutting ties with veterans no one expects to be around this year, anyway.

The Packers really don’t have a cap problem, particularly if they move linebacker Nick Barnett. Cutting or trading him saves the team about $4.4 million. They can save close to $4.5 million if right tackle Mark Tauscher doesn’t come back. The Packers are $62,000 under the cap.

As we’ve discussed numerous times, the Packers are set at inside linebacker, where the starters are [intlink id=”80″ type=”category”]A.J. Hawk[/intlink] and [intlink id=”492″ type=”category”]Desmond Bishop[/intlink], making Barnett too expensive to be a backup.

They’re also set at right tackle, where [intlink id=”925″ type=”category”]Bryan Bulaga[/intlink] took over for Tauscher when the veteran went on injured reserve last season. Tauscher’s body seems to finally have broken down and with several young linemen waiting for playing time, there isn’t any reason for the Packers to pay him $4.5 million.

That isn’t the end of the story though.

The Packers still have to sign their draft picks and need to make additional room if they plan on re-signing any of their own free agents, which include [intlink id=”251″ type=”category”]John Kuhn[/intlink] and [intlink id=”152″ type=”category”]Mason Crosby[/intlink].

That leaves the front office with some tough decisions to make in a very short period of time.