The Green Bay Packers have started early on moving out of their salary cap hole for 2022 according to ESPN’s Field Yates
The Packers have created $10.892M in 2022 cap space by restructuring the contract of NT Kenny Clark, per source.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 23, 2022
Green Bay converted $13.615 of Clark’s 2022 compensation into a signing bonus and added two void years to his deal.
Chipping away to create some space…
Clark was set to count on the salary cap for $20.867 million this year and the conversion of his roster bonus and base salary into a $13.615 million signing bonus will reduce that number to $9.97 million for the season. Clark’s 2023 and 2024 salary cap numbers will increase by $2.723 million in each year. Clark’s salary cap number for 2023 is now $23.973 million. The addition of two void years will put up to $5.446 million in dead money into the 2025 season if Clark is not extended.
Recently I think there has been more of a feeling when discussing contracts that these type of restructures are just par for the course in the NFL and carry no downside risk. That is often true of quarterbacks and many contracts in the NFL are designed to have this happen in the second contract year, but for most other players this increases the risk in every contract when executed later in a contract.
The charge on the salary cap to release Clark in 2023 now jumps to $20.892 million instead of $10 million. Frankly that gives the Packers no leverage if Clark’s play were to decline this year. They would only save $3 million with a release at that point. Even if they were to get Clark to accept a pay cut it would not be as steep of a pay cut as it would have been otherwise. A team can also wind up in an extension with a player almost solely because of salary cap purposes.
That is not to say that any of this would have occurred or will occur with Clark but I thought it was a good example of the risks that teams take on with some of these moves. One of the reasons many teams moved away from the large signing bonus contract structures of the past is because they would wind up with aging football players who they were unable to cut because of cap consequences. When you do these larger restructures over and over you run the risks of winding up like those teams down the line.
The Packers are now projected to be in the ballpark of $43 million over the salary cap, so they have plenty more of these moves coming in the next few weeks.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.