The salary cap for 2012 is set — $120.6 million, which isn’t much more than last season. More importantly, the Green Bay Packers sit approximately $5 million under the cap.
Technically, with the 51 highest-paid players currently under contract counting against the cap, the Packers are over slightly. That number sits at $120,735,169, according to Packer Report. However, teams are able to roll over excess cap space from 2011 and the Packers had $5,481,640 left from last season.
It all adds up to $5,346,471 of cap room right now. That’s not much room to work with in free agency, but the Packers can free up another $5.5 million by releasing veteran tackle Chad Clifton, a move that has been expected for some time.
The team is also expected to restructure receiver Donald Driver‘s deal to free up additional space. Driver is due $5 million this season.
If all this maneuvering is done as expected, it will put the Packers approximately $13 million under the salary cap — at least by the estimate constructed by my math-retarded calculations. As it were, that’s about enough room to re-sign center Scott Wells or his replacement and a couple other players.
Wells or a comparable center will cost around $6 million per season. Cornerback Jarrett Bush could garner perhaps $3 million a year. If the Packers make both moves, that leaves $4 million for them to use elsewhere.
The team has other free agents they may attempt to re-sign like Ryan Grant, Howard Green and Erik Walden. Of the trio, Grant seems the most likely to return. The Packers could also throw some money at a mid-level free agent, which seems unlikely.
This, of course, doesn’t account for the money the team will spend signing draft picks, which will be around $5 million.
So what does all of this mean? It means the Packers will probably lose either Wells or Bush, two players who have become valuable contributors, unless they get creative. If the team gives $5-6 million to Wells or another center like Houston’s Chris Myers, it’s hard to see Bush’s salary fitting under the cap.
On the other hand, if the Packers lose Wells and are able to draft his replacement — Wisconsin’s Pete Konz anyone? — they can pay Bush, maybe Grant, also sign a decent free agent and pay their draft picks.
Free agency begins Tuesday. Get ready for our usual clusterfuck updates throughout the day.
Should be a hoot!
Let the NFL free agent insanity begin!
The problem with drafting Kontz is that you then are forced to draft a DE/OLB in the 2nd round.
Centers are typically cheaper in free agency than pass rushers. Therefore, I would still expect the Packers to sign a center in free agency and then use their 1st round pick on a pass rusher.
Jarett Bush isn’t necessary going to command a $3 mil a year contract. He might be a special teams ace, but he is still a back up DB.
Maybe Kontz’s crappy numbers at the combine will drop him out of the first round. I think it would be a stretch to take him anyways unless they can get him at a discount.
Follow @NotJayCutler on Twitter…hilarious!!!
Forget Konz…word is the Packers are HOT & BOTHERED for his teammate Kevin Zeitler. He is an improvement over Wells as a run blocker…assuming of course he can transition to the pivot spot in the NFL as some are projecting. I see the Pack tackle a DT/DE like Brandon Thompson (Clemson) at pick #28, then swapping picks in the 2nd, 3rd and possibly 4th rounds with another team to move up to the top of the 2nd round to draft Zeitler.
Middle rounds I would look for Antonio Allen (SS South Carolina) and Shea McClellin (Boise DE/ OLB)…if they are smart with moving up or down boards strategically during the draft process. Also, assuming that TT has balls to grab better players even if it means leaving himself no picks in the later rounds. Of course, that’s doubtful.