The Green Bay Packers were in desperate need of cap space, and they received some help from Preston Smith and Adrian Amos.
The 2021 NFL year officially begins next Wednesday, March 17, which means all 32 teams have to be under the $182.5 million salary cap threshold. Teams over the cap have spent the past week trying to eliminate as many contracts to free up space.
The Green Bay Packers were $9.7 million over the cap this Friday, but they eliminated nearly all of it in a couple of moves. According to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, the Packers restructured the contract of safety Adrian Amos. Afterwards, Tom Silverstein of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the team also reworked the contract of linebacker Preston Smith.
Adrian Amos restructured his deal to free up some cap room for Packers, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2021
In addition to adjusting S Adrian Amos’ deal, the #Packers have also altered OLB Preston Smith’s to lower his salary cap number, a source said. Don’t have the details yet, but Brian Gutekunst is tapping sources wherever he can in order to eliminate $9.7 million in cap overage.
— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) March 12, 2021
Packers: Green Bay receives salary cap relief from Preston Smith, Adrian Amos
Both Smith and Amos arrived in Green Bay in 2019, as general manager Brian Gutekunst signed them to fix their defense.
After an impressive first season in Green Bay, where he recorded a career-high 12 sacks, Smith’s production dropped in 2020 (four sacks). With the Packers looking to free up some spending money, Smith arrived to save the day.
Initially set to earn $6.85 million in base salary, Smith will now make $1 million, receive a $6.5 million signing bonus and earn an additional $500,000 in workout and 46-man roster bonuses, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Additionally, Smith will now earn $4.4 million in sack incentives. Perhaps most importantly, Smith’s cap hit is reduced from $16 million to $8.25 million.
As for Amos, he has been a consistently strong presence in Green Bay’s defensive backfield. Through his two years in Green Bay, Amos tallied 167 total tackles, 17 passes defended, four interceptions and three sacks.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber, the Packers converted Amos’ $1.5 million roster bonus into a signing bonus. As a result, the team freed up $750,000 in cap space.
While the Packers did receive some great help from two of their 2019 free agency signings, they still have some work to do. On top of needing to get under the salary cap threshold, the Packers have two key players on offense in center Corey Linsley and running back Aaron Jones hitting free agency.
With the legal tampering period opening up on Monday and the 2021 league year kicking off on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. ET, it remains to be seen what additional moves the Packers make leading up to those two pivotal dates.