Packers Clear $5.5 Million in Cap Space With Former First-Round Pick

Getty The Green Bay Packers have restructured Darnell Savage's contract.

The Green Bay Packers have had a tricky salary cap situation over the last few seasons, and even with Aaron Rodgers off the books going forward, general manager Brian Gutekunst continues to tweak contracts to clear cap space for 2023.

Gutekunst and his staff have stayed busy since the conclusion of the 2023 NFL Draft. The team signed multiple undrafted free agents for training camp, including the talented but risky pass rusher Brenton Cox Jr..

Along with that, the Packers and Jordan Love agreed to a one-year extension that will keep the quarterback in Green Bay without having to give him a fifth-year option. However, in order to work out that deal, the Packers restructured the contract of former first-round pick Darnell Savage in order to clear nearly $5.5 million in cap space, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

Savage will be playing on his fifth-year option in 2023, and unless he turns things around dramatically, it will likely be his final season in Green Bay.

Revisiting Darnell Savage’s Packers Career

There’s still plenty of time for Savage to develop into a productive safety in the NFL, but it’s looking more and more likely that he will be trying to do that elsewhere after 2023.

Savage was a first-round pick alongside Rashan Gary in the 2019 NFL Draft after a productive final college season with the Maryland Terrapins. An explosive and rangy safety prospect, Savage put up solid numbers in his first two seasons in the NFL, racking up a combined 17 pass breakups and six interceptions in 29 games.

Unfortunately, the 25-year-old has struggled since switching defensive coordinators, with Joe Barry struggling to find the right fit for Savage. Since Barry took over in 2021, Savage has come away with just three takeaways and struggled to the point that he was demoted to a reduced role in favor of veteran Rudy Ford.

Despite his struggles with Barry, Savage had his fully-guaranteed fifth-year option picked up by the Packers. He’ll be auditioning for a second NFL contract this upcoming season, but it’s unclear at the moment what kind of role he’ll play in Green Bay’s defense going forward.

Green Bay’s Current Cap Situation

Despite the Packers continually tweaking contracts to clear cap space, don’t expect them to make a run at any pricey free agents this offseason.

According to Over The Cap, the Packers have just $17 million in cap space for the 2023 season. That sounds like a fair amount, but a large portion of that cap space will be used to sign draft picks to their rookie deals.

Trading Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets resulted in a massive $40 million dead cap hit. Fortunately, the four-time MVP’s contract is now off the books in 2024 and beyond, giving the Packers some more financial flexibility after this upcoming season.

If the Packers do make a run at any veterans prior to training camp, expect them to be familiar faces like Mason Crosby, Adrian Amos, or Marcedes Lewis. However, if none of those veterans are interested in coming back, the Packers may not have the financial capacity to sign another veteran to anything more than a veteran minimum deal.

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