Packers Have Cash to Spend

Green Bay ranks seventh in the NFL in available cap space and are in excellent shape compared to the league's contenders and the NFC North rivals.

Photo by Kim Klement/USA TODAY

The Green Bay Packers are in great financial shape, with just more than $16 million of salary cap space, according to Friday’s report from the NFLPA.

What’s interesting isn’t just that Green Bay has the seventh-most available cap space. Rather, among the league’s quality teams, only Cincinnati has more cap space.

Jacksonville ($34.97 million), Cleveland ($21.97 million), Tennessee ($21.90 million), Oakland ($20.52 million) and Tampa Bay ($19.59 million) have the most available cap space. Those teams are among the league’s perennial doormats.

Cincinnati is next with $17.89 million of available cap space, followed by the Packers with $16.05 million. Interestingly, the Bengals (No. 6 in cap space), Packers (No. 7), Cowboys (No. 9; $12.36 million), Cardinals (No. 10; $10.97 million), Patriots (No. 11; $10.68 million), Seahawks (No. 13; $10.19 million) and Colts (No. 14; $9.32 million) are 2014 playoff teams that are in the top one-third of the league (or close to it) in 2015 cap space. The Falcons (No. 8; $14.30 million) and 49ers (No. 12; $10.30 million) aren’t too far removed from being contenders, either.

Being able to win while keeping the financial house in order is the signature of the best-run franchises. With shrewd financial management, the Packers will enter next offseason with the resources to keep who they deem as their key building blocks.

Unlike this past offseason, when the Packers had to spend lavishly to keep marquee players Randall Cobb and Bryan Bulaga, the upcoming crop of free agents lacks that type of star power. At this point, defensive tackle Mike Daniels probably would be the only player poised to receive a big payday. Cornerback Casey Hayward could rise to that level, too, if he excels in his first season as a full-time starter. So could nose tackle B.J. Raji, if he has a big bounce-back season. Kicker Mason Crosby, with another strong season, probably would be a priority for the Packers to re-sign, as well.

The Packers’ players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents:

Offense: QB Scott Tolzien, RB James Starks, FB John Kuhn, TE Andrew Quarless and G/T Don Barclay.

Defense: DT Daniels, DT Raji, DT Letroy Guion, OLB Mike Neal, OLB Nick Perry, S Sean Richardson and CB Hayward.

Specialists: K Crosby, LS Brett Goode.

Restricted: G Lane Taylor, OLB Andy Mulumba.

Green Bay has almost as much salary-cap space as the rest of the NFC North combined. Minnesota is 15th with $9.26 million in cap space, Chicago is 21st with $8.23 million and Detroit is 31st with $3.50 million.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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