A Couple Of Homely Restructures For Clark and Aaron Jones

The Packers pushed $13.972 million in cap hits into 2023 by restructuring Clark and Jones.  Will the salary cap even increase by that much in 2023?

As expected, the Packers dipped deeply into the contract of Kenny Clark to extract cap savings.  I guessed that they would take around $10M and they took $10.89 million.  That is 92% of the amount theoretically possible.  The Packers did not convert Clark's $700,000 workout bonus or his $550,000 game active bonus into a signing bonus.  

This is the first restructure for Clark.  Just a reminder of what it looked like originally:

Yr Base SB Roster GA W/O Cap Dead Save
'21 1.0M 5.0M   .5M .6M 7.1M $20M (12.9M)
'22 8.0M 5.0M 6.4M .55M .7M 20.65M $15M 5.65M
'23 13.0M 5.0M 2.0M .55M .7M 21.25M $10M 11.25M
'24 15.55M 5.0M   .75M .7M 22.00M $5M 17.00M

Clark's contract excaped last year simply because he was paid just $1 million in base pay and $1.1M in workout and game active bonuses.  In other words, there was very little that could be converted to a signing bonus.  Now let's look at his contract after his first extension.

YR Base SB Roster GA W/O Cap Dead Save
'22 1.035M 7.723M   .55M .7M 9.975M 28.615M (18.64M)
'23 13.0M 7.723M 2.0M .55M .7M 23.973M 20.892M 3.081M
'24 15.55M 7.723M   .55M .7M 24.723M 13.169M 11.554M
'25 Void 2.723M       5.446M 5.446M  
'26 Void 2.723M       2.723M 2.723M  
                 

The most significant change is the more than doubling of Clark's dead money charge in 2023 from $10 million to $20.892 million.  Clark is young, pretty durable, and good, so it probably will not matter as long as he does not get injured.  Clark's average cap hit for 2023 and 2024 moves to $24.35 million, which is within hailing distance of the $25.5 million average Aaron Donald is scheduled for in the remaining three seasons of his contract.  

As Jason Fitzgerald of OTC noted:  "Frankly that gives the Packers no leverage if Clark’s play were to decline this year. They would only save $3 million with a release at that point. Even if they were to get Clark to accept a pay cut it would not be as steep of a pay cut as it would have been otherwise. A team can also wind up in an extension with a player almost solely because of salary cap purposes.  He added: "One of the reasons many teams moved away from the large signing bonus contract structures of the past is because they would wind up with aging football players who they were unable to cut because of cap consequences."

Still, Clark's contract is just homely, not a truly ugly contract, and Aaron Jones' newly restructured deal is much the same.  In truth, it looks rather ugly to me, but the numbers are not quite big enough to make fans recoil from the numbers.  For ugly, we will have to wait for Bakhtiari's new deal when it comes down the pike (and probably one or two others). 

Aaron Jones Contract:

YR Base SB Roster GA W/O Cap Dead Save
'21 1.0M 3.25M   .2M .05M 4.464M    
'22 1.035M 4.013M   .4M .5M 5.9M 13.56M (7.664M)
'23 8.1M 4.013M 7.0M .4M .5M 20.013M 9.552M 10.461M
'24 11.0M 4.013M   .4M .5M 16.013M 5.539M 10.474M
'25 Void 763K         1.526M  
'26 Void 763K         763K  

This was always something of a monster.  It was not perceived as such in part because the deal was reached on March 14, 2020, long before fans knew about Aaron Rodgers' unhappiness.  Still, the contract serves much the same purpose now that it did then: it extends the window in which the Packers can try to win a Lombardi Trophy. 

It initially was a 2-year deal for $19.9M with $6.5M dead.  The Packers were never going to pay Jones $16 million in cash for the 2024 season ($8.1M + $7M + $.4M + $.5M).  The restructure saves $3.08M (I had estimated $3.05M).  This restructure was expected, but I thought it might be one of the last ones to be reached, and then only if necessary.  It also was one of the easier ones to reach.  

These two restructures are just homely because this is the first time they have been altered to create salary cap space.  The ones coming down the pike figure to be uglier.  

 

 

 

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Comments (21)

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Coldworld's picture

February 25, 2022 at 08:30 pm

Sorry TGR. This was always going to be ugly.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 26, 2022 at 09:44 am

I went to a thesaurus looking for words that express gradations of attractiveness, or in this case, its negative. I had already come up with homely, and I didn't find a better adjective. If the Packers knew for sure that they will part ways with Jones after this season, it doesn't matter too much whether they account for the $3M in 2022 or in 2023.

I could use any help generating choices for the adjectives, because the Packers are going to restructure and extend a bunch of players. Ugly, hideous, revolting, and repulsive all seem to describe a contract that is terrible for the long-term health of the team. Homely is good, but plain doesn't really seem like what I am looking for.

I suppose the possibility exists that I might think a new deal looks good. Win-win! Beautiful? Nice?

And the extensions will have an element of whether they represent appropriate value. I mean, deals for Campbell and Douglas as examples would really just be normal re-signings or UFA signings.

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Coldworld's picture

February 26, 2022 at 12:54 pm

Here’s a few to be going in with: grim, dire, repugnant, baleful, woeful, dreadful, ghastly, grisly, rotten, fetid, rancid, putrid, foul, sepulchral, gory or, my favorite for the truly unthinkably awful: putinesque.

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LeotisHarris's picture

February 25, 2022 at 08:38 pm

Are we to pay no attention to that man behind the curtain or buy a hamburger for the guy who will gladly pay us back on Tuesday? Maybe both?

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snowdog's picture

February 25, 2022 at 09:31 pm

Wow ! got it old timer. Wizard Of Oz and Wimpy.. not exactly on subject, but you asked

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snowdog's picture

February 25, 2022 at 10:29 pm

duplicate . Sorry

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NickPerry's picture

February 26, 2022 at 05:37 am

Thanks TGR, I appreciate your pieces with cap breakdowns. It helps to have the numbers right in front of you.

Seeing though just reinforces what we knew was coming. Personally, I'm finding all of this UGLY because at the end of the day it's not going to matter which word we use to describe it. Homely, ugly, or just plain screwed, the Packers are going to have to pay the bill. Now I suppose IF Gute was to hit on EVERY draft pick in the first 4 rounds the next 2 years, IF Jordan Love turns into a top 10 QB, and IF the cap goes up even MORE than expected, the Packers can navigate this and field a competitive team.

That's a lot of IF'S, and no matter what I'll be the Packers Homer I've always been. Even IF the Packers are 2-15 in a few years because they've had to cut a bunch of aging veteran players because the bill finally came due.

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dobber's picture

February 26, 2022 at 07:49 am

This argues that 2022 could be AJones' last in GB. A $20M 2023 cap hit is pretty daunting for a RB, and while he could agree to take a pay cut, there's not a lot to make it more palatable on a RB in his late 20s. I can't see the Packers pushing more out on Jones at that point. That $7M roster bonus for Jones in '23 is a pretty significant milestone.

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Coldworld's picture

February 26, 2022 at 08:50 am

Theoretically they could redo it again and just keep pushing things out.

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dobber's picture

February 26, 2022 at 10:41 am

We keep thinking they're going to cut bait on some of these guys, but so far that hasn't happened. They keep borrowing from the future. Maybe it's just a matter of wanting to see if they can draw trade interest on some of these guys (Z, Turner, Lowry, etc.), but there are cuts looming.

They announced that they went to the Bakhtiari bank this morning. Another restructure that we pretty much knew was going to happen, but it makes Bakhtiari more likely to be a fixture through the end of 2023.

https://www.profootballrumors.com/2022/02/packers-rework-ol-david-bakhti...

Now they're getting close to breakeven capwise with either a cut or restructure on #12 and some action on Z's contract.

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Guam's picture

February 26, 2022 at 08:11 am

I have no idea whether it is true or not, but a recent report indicated the Rodgers' camp was floating the idea of a $50 million a year contract. If true, Rodgers will be playing with a bunch of bargain basement free agents and guys on their rookie contracts because that is all the Packers will be able to afford. One player can not take up 25% of the cap and have a successful team. This guy's ego is unbelievable.

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Coldworld's picture

February 26, 2022 at 08:49 am

I don’t believe the source, but the likelihood is that it’s just a matter of scale. He’s yet to imply that there is give and take so he can help the team (or himself) win. This still seems like a market value proposition from him. If so, your point remains valid.

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Coldworld's picture

February 26, 2022 at 11:18 am

Now we’ve restructured Bakh, pushing more cap into next year and beyond. Looks like they just kicked 11.8 million forward, not sure over how many years.

Hardly surprising perhaps, but it bears some thought. A huge risk on a player of his age coming off injury that lingered as long as it did. It remains to be seen to what extent that negates the ability to release (health/availability) or trade him in 2023 or beyond.

It looks like, as expected, the extent of the cap “wizardry” here is just punting things forward and eating any cap growth before it materializes.

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LambeauPlain's picture

February 26, 2022 at 11:48 am

All this cap gymnastics makes my teeth hurt. Fortunately, TGR arrives and is akin to my dentist's novocaine...and I mean that in a good way. Thanks for the synopsis, sir!

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dobber's picture

February 26, 2022 at 12:04 pm

Agreed: TGR does a great job!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 26, 2022 at 01:10 pm

And here comes the ugly (as alluded to above in the comments). And it is league-wide to a significant degree.

GB pushed $11.58M of Bakh's compensation into a signing bonus. That is his entire $9.5M roster bonus and $2.08M of his $3.2M base salary - meaning his base will be the minimum of $1.12M. So, they left his $600K and $700K game active and workout bonuses alone. Well, his $600K in game active is not likely to be earned in the first place. His new cap number is about $12.98 and this frees up 9.22M or so.

I will do an article when the numbers seem more solid (and when I am done doing my %%%%%ing taxes, which I am doing today). I estimated - foolishly - that the Packers would free up $6.33M. Instead, they went whole hog for almost $3M more.

Looks like they want someone or someone(s) back on the 2022 team that are scheduled to leave. I wonder if Campbell is getting not Nick's 3yr/$18M deal or the 2 year, $18M deal I envisioned, but something eye-popping? Or maybe it is just several guys they want back.

Edited in a fifth % to gain plausible deniability.

We will keep you folks up to date.

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Coldworld's picture

February 26, 2022 at 01:21 pm

The sell out of the future is very clearly both underway and untrammeled by any thought for the long term health of the team. This has to be a Murphy driven swan song. It’s suicide for everyone else if they don’t win out. Murphy has to be the guy with the power. Crazy: even if they can keep everyone together, the chances remain so low.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 26, 2022 at 01:30 pm

I think Preston's extension is going to look ugly in my eyes.

And probably not for appropriate reasons. Guessing his market is $16M AAV and then they'd got some dead money to mix into it, so tacking on 4 years to make it a 5 year deal means it probably totals $75M?

I watched him play. He was good. For reasons I don't understand, I am having trouble with writing $15M or $16M AAV and Preston Smith in the same sentence.

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Coldworld's picture

February 26, 2022 at 02:47 pm

Because you see his year on, year off history?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 26, 2022 at 01:22 pm

Oh, the league-wide is just me reading field yates:

NO just converted $14.56M of Michael Thomas' compensation and $18.2M of Ramczyk's cash to signing bonuses. They have even more work to do than the Packers. I suppose Michael Thomas, after missing 9 games in 2020 and the entire 2021 season after waiting to have surgery, might be worth it. IDK.

Cleveland did some work on Jack Conklin's deal, but that seems due to his torn patellar tendon last November (per field yates).

Matt Ryan is still in line to have the highest cap number in history ($48.6M) if the Falcons leave it alone.

Someone hired Ryan Pace as a pro personnel consultant. Must be nice.

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LeotisHarris's picture

February 26, 2022 at 02:39 pm

Jesus, TGR, doing all this ciphering for us knuckleheads *while* simultaneously dancing for the IRS? You, Sir, deserve an extra helping of whatever makes you happy. Many thanks!

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