Campbell’s Contract Will Help Fund Love’s Extension

De’Vondre Campbell’s contract is officially off the books, with the Green Bay Packers saving about $10.57 million on the 2024 salary cap.
De'Vondre Campbell scoops a fumble during last year's Packers-Rams game.
De'Vondre Campbell scoops a fumble during last year's Packers-Rams game. / USA TODAY Sports via Milwaukee Journal
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers have received a financial windfall with linebacker De’Vondre Campbell’s contract officially deleted from the team’s salary cap, which will help foot the bill for Jordan Love’s contract extension.

The Packers released the former All-Pro on March 10 with a post-June 1 designation – an unusual tactic from their perspective that allowed them to split Campbell’s dead-money cap charge over the 2024 and 2025 salary caps.

Campbell’s salary-cap charge for the 2024 season was set to be $14.23 million. All of that remained on the books until Sunday, when the league processed the transaction.

Had the Packers outright released Campbell in March, they would have saved about $2.6 million against the cap. Instead, the Packers saved about $10.57 million against the cap in 2024, with Campbell still counting about $3.66 million. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, though. Campbell will count about $7.97 million on the 2025 cap.

According to OverTheCap.com, the Packers are about $30.38 million under the cap. Only six teams have more cap space, led by the New England Patriots, who are a league-high $46.40 million under the cap. The Detroit Lions have the third-most cap space at about $40.35 million.

The Packers signed Campbell to a one-year contract in 2021, and he rewarded the Packers with an All-Pro season. During free agency the following offseason, Green Bay retained him with a five-year, $50 million contract. Campbell, however, never returned to form.

In 2021, he had 102 solo tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, five passes defensed and two forced fumbles in 16 starts.

In 2022 and 2023, he had 102 solo tackles, zero sacks, two interceptions, four passes defensed and zero forced fumbles in 24 starts.  

So, the Packers scrapped the final three years of his contact and used a second-round pick on Edgerrin Cooper.

What will the Packers do with their salary-cap largesse?

First and foremost, obviously, will be handing Love a contract extension that figures to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million over four years. The Packers had the cap flexibility to handle that contract, anyway.

When the deal is done, it will be interesting to see the structure. And that’s where Campbell’s contract could factor.

Will they give Love a relatively large Year 1 base salary in order to help future salary caps? When the Packers signed Aaron Rodgers to his first contract extension in 2008, his cap number went from $13.95 million in 2008 to $9.65 million in 2009 to $6.5 million in 2010 before inching up to $7.75 million in 2021 and $9.5 million in 2022.

Or will they back-load the contract from a cap perspective, meaning a relatively low cap charge in Year 1 and soaring charges on future caps that can be helped via restructures and league-wide cap increases?

That was how the Packers structured the free-agent deals signed by Xavier McKinney and Josh Jacobs. McKinney’s cap charges will go from $7.8 million in 2024 to $17.6 million in 2025, $19.1 million in 2026 and $22.5 million in 2027. Similarly, Jacobs’ cap numbers will go from $5.307 million in 2024 to $11.325 million in 2025, $14.625 million in 2026 and $16.625 million in 2027.

One potential guide: The four-year, $212 million contract recently signed by Lions quarterback Jared Goff goes from cap charges of $27.2 million in 2024 and $32.6 million in 2025 to $69.6 million in 2026, $54.6 million in 2027 and $61.6 million 2028. He is due a base salary of $2.6 million this season but $55 million in 2026.

The team also will need money to sign its two unsigned draft picks, first-round offensive lineman Jordan Morgan and second-round safety Javon Bullard, and cover in-season expenses such as roster additions and practice-squad elevations.

Any cap dollars not used in 2024 can be rolled over to 2025. That money could come in handy given the big contracts that are looming.

The 49ers signed Campbell to replace another former Packers linebacker, Oren Burks. The one-year, $5 million contract, which included a $3.35 million signing bonus and guaranteed $1.12 million base salary, is not eligible for a compensatory draft pick because Campbell was released by the Packers.

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Bill Huber

BILL HUBER

Bill Huber, who has covered the Green Bay Packers since 2008, is the publisher of Packer Central, a Sports Illustrated channel. E-mail: packwriter2002@yahoo.com History: Huber took over Packer Central in August 2019. Twitter: https://twitter.com/BillHuberNFL Background: Huber graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he played on the football team, in 1995. He worked in newspapers in Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Shawano before working at The Green Bay News-Chronicle and Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1998 through 2008. With The News-Chronicle, he won several awards for his commentaries and page design. In 2008, he took over as editor of Packer Report Magazine, which was founded by Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke, and PackerReport.com. In 2019, he took over the new Sports Illustrated site Packer Central, which he has grown into one of the largest sites in the Sports Illustrated Media Group.