The Green Bay Packers entered the offseason without much wiggle room to make moves in free agency. They were able to work out a deal to bring Aaron Jones back, but it left their All-Pro center Corey Linsley looking for a new home. There was no chance to retain them both, and it even seemed like Green Bay might not be able to hang on to either of them at one point.
After an offseason filled with Aaron Rodgers-related drama, the reigning MVP is back, although not before getting the front office to cave in to his demands. This included a restructuring of his current contract. As a result, the Packers now have a little over $10 million to work with entering August. So, what will the Packers do with the added cap space?
It’s a rare glimmer of silver lining in the fiasco between Rodgers and the front office. Green Bay can utilize this additional space in many different ways. The obvious route would be adding a free agent or acquiring someone via trade. At one point, there was a case to be made that the Packers should bring in a wide receiver, but now with the additions of Randall Cobb (trade), Amari Rodgers (draft), and Devin Funchess (opted out in 2020), the wide receiver room looks more than full.
The same can be said for the running back committee that includes Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, and rookie Kylin Hill. Maybe Green Bay goes out and adds another offensive lineman, but they did just snag Dennis Kelly, who started all 16 games for the Tennessee Titans at tackle last season. There may not be an immediate need anywhere on the offense.
On defense, Green Bay could use another interior defensive lineman alongside Kenny Clark, but free-agent impact players are scarce at this point. There’s no rush for Green Bay to add someone immediately. They can carry that money into the trade deadline and wait to see what issues or injuries need to be addressed later in the season. Perhaps Brian Gutekunst and Mark Murphy will even ask the reigning MVP what he thinks.
Those are all viable options, but there’s one under-the-radar move they could make with this bonus cap space.
Davante Adams is entering the final year of his contract. Whether Aaron Rodgers is with the Packers or not beyond this season is irrelevant in this matter. Adams is arguably the best wide receiver in football and is rightfully asking for a top-dollar salary that would exceed Deandre Hopkins‘ deal with the Arizona Cardinals.
While there’s no reason for fans to already look ahead to next offseason for reasons to panic, the front office has to cover all of their bases, and that includes preparing for the future. The idea that Rodgers could be playing elsewhere in 2022 is not far-fetched. Knowing there’s a chance Adams could be gone as well is soul-crushing. Signing Adams to an extension before the start of the season and putting a chunk of his bonuses towards the cap for this year could be a perfect play for the Packers.
If you aren’t aware of Green Bay’s cap outlook for 2022, don’t ruin your day by looking now. Just know that it isn’t pretty. The Packers pushed back a lot of money towards 2022 by restructuring one deal after another this offseason. It makes it more difficult to negotiate with Adams knowing what lies ahead. But if Green Bay can get an extension worked out now and ease some of the burden with the extra cap space they have this year, they can secure Adams and make their 2022 offseason a little more navigable.
The rub here is that if this really is the last go-around for Rodgers, he may want to add more pieces now. Rodgers won’t give a rip about Green Bay’s potential troubles in 2022 if he already has his mind made up that this is his last run with the franchise. But it’s the Packers who still have to worry about it, so the front office could end up trying to do a balancing act.
If they add a free agent to beef up the roster now, nobody will complain. If they wait until the trade deadline to bring in help, that’s fine too. But the best course of action for Green Bay might just be to get an extension done now with the best wideout in the NFL to help clear some of the financial hurdles that lie ahead.