Tauscher clears some room

Mark Tauscher has pitched in toward helping the Green Bay Packers in their attempt to re-sign Chad Clifton. Tauscher, who starts at right tackle opposite Clifton on the team's mighty offensive line, has recently renegotiated his contract as the Packers make room for what may be a record-setting deal for Clifton.<p>

According to reports, Tauscher the Packers saved about $1.8 million in salary cap space for this season by reducing Tauscher's $2.9 million cap figure to $1.1 million. Green Bay did that by coverting his $2.25 million roster bonus due this spring into a signing bonus and prorating it over the remaining five years on his contract.

Tauscher, who like Clifton is entering his fifth season, signed a six-year deal worth $17 million in November of 2002.

Tauscher told the Green Bay Press-Gazette in today's editions that his agent has yet to sign the renegotiated contract. When it is signed, the Packers will be almost $5 million under the projected $80.5 million salary cap for 2004.

The Packers have until 3 p.m. (CT) today to decided whether or not to utilize the franchise or transition tag on Clifton. Clifton's agent, Jimmy Sexton, and Packers negotiator Andrew Brandt have been meeting daily to hammer out a new deal, which could include a signing bonus (guaranteed money to a player usually paid upfront) of around $12 million to $13 million. The Packers paid Brett Favre a team-record $12 million signing bonus in February of 2001.

If the Packers and Clifton are unable to work a deal by today's deadline and the Packers use the $6 million transition tender or $7 million franchise tender, Clifton's salary will immediately begin counting against the team's salary cap. If the Packers can sign Clifton to a long-term deal, he will count much less against the team's cap this season.

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