Aaron Rodgers has been the center of the Green Bay Packers‘ solar system for the past 15 years. But all stars eventually fade away, and at some point, Rodgers will too. Will this finally be an offseason of change in Green Bay, or will the Packers keep it together for another run? We break it all down — plus explore the club’s free agents, cut candidates, and team needs — in our Green Bay Packers offseason preview.
Green Bay Packers Offseason Preview: Run It Back or Blow It Up?
When Rodgers signed a three-year, $150 million contract extension — with $101.5 million guaranteed at signing — it was viewed as a win for the Packers. Their mercurial star had threatened to retire the summer before, but this new deal seemed to satisfy his wanderlust.
In reality, what it did was significantly limit Green Bay’s options — at least in the short term. Both Rodgers and the Packers took a significant step back in 2022, and there’s no easy fix.
Rodgers had one of the worst statistical seasons of his career and the Packers — barring a major upgrade — might be no better than the third-best team in the NFC North. (Even the Bears, with a huge war chest of draft capital and cap space, could pass them.)
What’s more? The Packers don’t have a lot of roster flexibility in the short term. They’re already over the cap (more on that in a moment). Furthermore, Green Bay may have trouble finding significant relief without trading away some familiar faces — Rodgers among them.
Rodgers cannot be cut. He is due a fully guaranteed, $58.3 million option bonus that can be exercised by the Packers any time before the start of the league year (March 15) and Week 1. So, if the Packers decide to trade Rodgers, it must before they exercise that option. Doing so afterwards would have crippling cap ramifications.
Waiting in the wings is former first-round pick Jordan Love, who could give the Packers an ultimatum this offseason: Play me or trade me.
Packers’ 2023 Salary Cap Space
According to Spotrac, the Packers were over the 2023 salary cap by $9.5 million as of early January, giving them the sixth-worst situation in the NFL.
That figure includes less than $1 million in dead cap and $3.5 million in rollover space. It is based on an estimated $225 million NFL salary cap in 2023.
The exact cap figure will not be known until the NFL announces it in early March.
Packers Free Agents 2023
The following Packers players are set to hit free agency. (Restricted free agents are noted with the abbreviation RFA; exclusive rights free agents by ERFA.)
- FS Adrian Amos
- LB Krys Barnes (RFA)
- WR Randall Cobb
- K Mason Crosby
- TE Tyler Davis (RFA)
- S Johnathan Ford
- DE Justin Hollins
- WR Allen Lazard
- S Dallin Leavitt
- TE Marcedes Lewis
- DE Dean Lowry
- OT Yosh Nijman
- CB Keisean Nixon
- DE Jarran Reed
- TE Robert Tonyan Jr.
- OLB Eric Wilson
Wide Receiver Allen Lazard
Spotrac’s calculated market value: Three years, $33.2 million ($11 million AAV)
Overview: Lazard will be an interesting evaluation for GMs. With Davante Adams gone, Lazard had the biggest usage of his career in 2022, as he was on a short list of receivers trusted by Aaron Rodgers. But the increased role resulted in reduced efficiency. Lazard’s catch rate was the worst of his career.
Potential Cut Candidates
- OT David Bakhtiari ($6 million in savings)
- DT Kenny Clark ($4 million)
- EDGE Preston Smith ($3.2 million)
Packers’ Team Needs Heading Into 2023 Offseason
- Wide Receiver
- Tight End
- Offensive Tackle
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