The Green Bay Packers are in a precarious position heading into the 2022 NFL offseason. Despite having the league’s best record in 2021, there might not be a team with more questions heading into their 2022 campaign. It starts and ends with the future of Aaron Rodgers, but pending free agents, team needs, and draft picks are all a problem for the Packers as well.
Green Bay Packers 2022 Offseason Preview
Nobody was more consistent than the Packers this season, but it seems that money has finally become an issue on a team set to pay their top five players an astonishing 65.71% of the cap for 2022.
The Packers have $-39.2 million in projected cap space
Source: Spotrac (as of Jan. 21)
Rodgers currently has a cap hit of $44.4 million for 2022. That number would change were he to retire or be traded. But for now, we must use it to see into the Packers’ future.
Za’Darius Smith has an eye-popping $27.7 million cap hit for 2022, but the Packers could cut him and save $15 million in space. A restructure to spread out his 2022 cap charge seems likely. David Bakhtiari is set to make $22.8 million in 2022, but that is a contract that’s far more palatable. Kenny Clark will also make over $20 million if his current contractual situation remains.
There is some tough sledding ahead for the Green Bay front office. The Packers have no shortage of pending free agents.
Packers’ pending free agents
Davante Adams highlights the list of pending free agents for the Packers, but he’s not alone. Adams is arguably the best receiver in the league, and he is still under 30. He’s at the top of his game right now and in an excellent position for an enormous three- or four-year deal in the offseason.
Robert Tonyan is one of Rodgers’ favorite targets when healthy. Even before his season ended in October due to injury, he hadn’t been nearly as efficient with Rodgers in 2021. There’s a chance Green Bay can retain him if they can find a way to create some cap space.
De’Vondre Campbell made himself a small SUV full of cash with his All-Pro performance in 2021. The Packers fielded one of the NFL’s worst run defenses this season, but without Campbell, it likely would have been the worst. Without his extraordinary efforts, it would have been a tragedy.
Allen Lazard has been the WR2/3 for three seasons in Green Bay. However, Lazard is a restricted free agent, so the Packers can likely retain him on the cheap.
Packers’ team needs
There is no such thing (that we know of) as a magic 8-ball. We cannot see into the future, so it isn’t easy to know where the Packers’ team needs stand. However, because of their cap situation and their pending depth chart for 2022, we can at least make some educated guesses on where they’ll look as 2022 approaches.
Packers’ top five needs in the 2022 NFL offseason
- Wide receiver
- Right tackle
- Outside linebacker (if they cut Smith(s) to create cap space)
- Defensive tackle
Packers’ 2022 NFL Draft picks
We’ve established the unknown for the Packers heading into 2022. It’s a good thing they have nine draft picks at their disposal. They’ll need as much cheap talent as possible to continue their trend as one of the best teams in the NFC.
Here’s how the Packers’ 2022 NFL Draft picks currently stand according to the current 2022 NFL Draft order:
- Round 1 (Pick 28)
- Round 2 (Pick 27)
- Round 3 (Pick 28)
- Round 4 (Picks 27 & 36*)
- Round 5 (Pick 28)
- Round 7 (Picks 7 — from CHI, 28, & 39*)
*projected compensatory selection