With a chance to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, the Green Bay Packers are concerned with the present. However, once the season ends, thoughts quickly need to shift for the Green Bay Packers to the upcoming NFL free agency period in 2021. Needing to make some cap room, the Packers could be forced to lose a few marquee producers in 2021 who will become free agents at the end of the season.
How much cap space do the Packers have in 2021 to re-sign their free agents?
Due to the salary cap dropping to an estimated $176 million, the Green Bay Packers find themselves needing to clear some space at the expense of some potential free agents. According to Over The Cap, the Packers are a projected $22.22 million over the salary cap for 2021. The fourth-highest total in the NFL behind the Falcons, Eagles, and Saints,
When factoring in a reduced salary cap plus the long list of free agents the Packers will have in March, it’s fair to say this might be the team’s best shot to win another Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers. Many key pieces from this year’s team will be gone by next season.
The Packers were able to secure some critical deals. Green Bay re-signed both Kenny Clark and David Bakhtiari to extensions before the eleventh-hour or when they would be fighting other teams. However, it might have come at a cost.
Soon-to-be free agent RB Aaron Jones headlines offensive free agency checklist in 2021
Aaron Jones’ success might have priced him out of Green Bay’s budget.
Jones has been one of the best running backs in the NFL over the last two seasons in the Matt LaFleur offense. In 2019, Jones played in all 16 games and ran for a then career-high 1,084 rushing yards on 236 attempts. Jones caught 49 of 68 targets for 474 yards. In the middle of all of this production, Aaron Jones led the NFL with 19 total touchdowns.
In his contract year, Jones carried the ball 201 times for 1,104 yards, a new career-best. He added 47 receptions for 355 yards and totaled 11 touchdowns. Of the 33 running backs who had at least 130 carries in 2020, Aaron Jones ranked third in efficiency, at 5.49 yards per attempt.
According to Sportrac, Aaron Jones carries an estimated market value of $14 million per season on a four-year, $56.17 million deal. Odds are, this is too rich for Green Bay’s blood.
The Packers knew they could lose him once free agency hit. It’s why they drafted Boston College RB A.J. Dillon in the 2020 NFL Draft. While he is not Aaron Jones, they could use a committee approach to absorb the workload.
It’s also possible that Jamaal Williams walks as a free agent in 2021 as well. It all depends on if another team views him good enough to warrant a sizeable contract. A contract the Packers could not compete with at the end of the day.
Kevin King and Corey Linsley present difficult decisions for the Packers in 2021 as they become free agents
After re-signing Bakhtiari, keeping C Corey Linsley will be challenging for the Packers. Linsley has been a dependable starting center for the Packers since 2014 and is playing at an All-Pro level this season. According to ESPN’s blocking win rate, Linsley was the number one center in the NFL at 77% and was fifth in run blocking at 96%.
At 30 years old, Linsley carries an estimated market value of $9.1 million per Sportrac. He is one of the reasons Aaron Rodgers was sacked only 20 times. The second-fewest of QBs who played in all 16 games in 2020.
One of the reasons the Packers allowed only 221 yards per game (seventh in the NFL) was CB Kevin King’s play. When on the field, King played extremely well and complemented Jaire Alexander. The issue is staying on the field. In four years, he’s played in just 34 of 56 regular season games. Josh Jackson played well and showed he could start if needed or if King is lost to free agency in 2021.
Addressing the cornerback position will be critical for the Packers, whether in the draft or the 2021 free agency period. It’s all a matter of how much flexibility they have with the salary cap and if any free agents are within the Packers’ budget.
Green Bay Packers 2021 Offensive Free Agents
- RB Aaron Jones, 27
- WR Allen Lazard, 26 (EFRA)
- C Corey Linsley, 30
- C Jake Hanson, 24
- RB Jamaal Williams, 26
- WR Kabion Ento, 25
- G Lane Taylor, 32
- WR Malik Taylor, 26
- TE Marcedes Lewis, 37
- TE Robert Tonyan, 27 (RFA)
- WR Tavon Austin, 30
- QB Tim Boyle, 27
- T Yosuah Nijman
Green Bay Packers 2021 Defensive Free Agents
- DE Billy Winn, 32
- CB Chanson Sullivan, 25
- DT Damon Harrison, 33
- DE Delontae Scott, 24
- LB James Burgess, 27
- CB Kevin King, 26
- DL Montravius Adams, 26
- CB Parry Nickerson, 27
- DE Randy Ramsey, 26
- S Raven Greene, 26
- DL Tyler Lancaster, 27
- S Will Redmond, 28
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