GREEN BAY, Wis. – For the Green Bay Packers and most of the other NFL teams, training camp will begin on July 27.
While a series of roster moves got the Packers in compliance with the salary cap, there’s more to be done to get through the financial rigors of the season. That money could come in the form of a contract restructure for quarterback Aaron Rodgers or an extension for Davante Adams. If not, hard decisions will need to be made.
This year’s player cuts will take place in stages. Cut to 85: Aug. 17. Cut to 80: Aug. 24. Cut to 53: Aug. 31. Here are 13 players who could be released, including a handful that would provide significant salary-cap savings. All monetary figures are from OverTheCap.com and are done without post-June 1 designations.
G Lucas Patrick ($1.975 million cap savings): As a wise personnel executive once pointed out, if you’re going to release a solid player, you better have a replacement. The Packers added six offensive linemen the past two drafts. Jon Runyan, a sixth-round pick last year, showed some potential in limited snaps as a rookie. Plus, the team drafted Royce Newman in the fourth round this year. Patrick is a quality player and respected veteran but if Runyan, Newman or Simon Stepaniak (sixth round, 2020) are ready to play, there is significant cost savings to be gained.
CB Josh Jackson ($1.33 million cap savings): As a rookie second-round pick in 2018, Jackson started 10 games and broke up 13 passes. His career has hit the skids, though, with just two passes defensed the past two seasons. Jackson wasn’t even active for the two playoff games last year. Maybe the change in defensive coordinators will give Jackson a new lease on his professional life. Or, if first-round pick Eric Stokes is ready to play significant snaps in Week 1, maybe Jackson will wind up on the trade block. If the Packers move on, they’d have to swallow more than $657,000 in dead cap.
WR Devin Funchess ($1.22 million cap savings): Funchess missed all but the opener of the 2019 season with a broken collarbone and all of 2020 as a COVID-19 opt-out. The Packers might not be loaded at receiver but they’ve got ample depth to eliminate the $1.15 million base salary of a player with a history of dropped passes. However, as receivers coach Jason Vrable said, “I’m excited about his physical attributes but also just kind of his intensity and toughness that I think he will bring to the room.”
DT Tyler Lancaster ($1.05 million cap savings): The Packers re-signed Lancaster with a $200,000 signing bonus. That alone probably means Lancaster will be safe. But they did use a fifth-round draft pick on run-stopping defensive tackle TJ Slaton. If Slaton is ready immediately for a major role, do the Packers really need the redundant skill-set?
S Will Redmond ($920,000 cap savings): A third-round pick by San Francisco as a cornerback in 2016, Redmond has become a steady veteran in three seasons in Green Bay. The past two seasons, he’s played 26 games with five starts. He misses too many tackles and doesn’t make enough plays on the ball, but he’s versatile and plays with attitude. Perhaps Vernon Scott, a seventh-round pick last year, will be ready for a bigger role.
Former Draft Picks
TE Jace Sternberger ($628,368 cap savings): A third-round pick in 2019, Sternberger was supposed to be the long-sought answer at tight end. Instead, a concussion and ankle injury doomed his rookie season, a concussion ruined last season and he’ll start the upcoming season serving a two-game suspension. He has 13 career receptions and was inactive for the 2020 playoffs in favor of street free agent Dominique Dafney. With Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis and Josiah Deguara atop the depth chart, Sternberger might have to beat out Dafney. Maybe the $503,264 of dead money will buy him another season.
LB Oren Burks ($945,000 cap savings): A third-round pick in 2018, the Packers flirted with Burks at outside linebacker last year before moving him back inside this year. Noted for his coverage skill coming out of Vanderbilt, he has 56 tackles but zero passes defensed in three seasons. The Packers added to the position with veteran De’Vondre Campbell and sixth-round rookie Isaiah McDuffie.
P JK Scott ($920,000 cap savings): A fifth-round pick in 2018, Scott set a career high with a 45.5-yard average last season but was third-to-last in the NFL with his 37.0-yard net average. In each of his three seasons, he’s struggled to get out of lengthy slumps. Ryan Winslow will battle him in camp.
RB Dexter Williams ($850,000 cap savings): A sixth-round pick in 2019, Williams has rushed seven times for 19 yards and caught zero passes in his career. He’ll have to beat out touted seventh-round pick Kylin Hill for a roster spot.
WR Equanimeous St. Brown ($850,000 cap savings): A sixth-round pick in 2018, St. Brown caught 21 passes for 328 yards as a rookie, missed 2019 due to an injury and caught seven passes for 117 yards and one touchdown in 2020. It might be St. Brown vs. Funchess in a battle to join Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard and rookie Amari Rodgers.
CB Ka’dar Hollman ($806,262 cap savings): A sixth-round pick in 2019 with one career start, Hollman joined Jackson on the bench for last year’s playoffs. Green Bay drafted Stokes and Shemar Jean-Charles as potential upgrades.
LB Ty Summers ($825,524 cap savings): With Krys Barnes, Kamal Martin and Campbell the front-runners for the two starting jobs and the addition of McDuffie, the 2019 seventh-round pick might be up against it from a numbers perspective. Summers did lead the team with eight tackles on special teams last season, though.
LS Hunter Bradley ($920,000): A seventh-round pick in 2018, Bradley has been consistently inconsistent. His horrendous snap in the playoff victory vs. the Rams almost got kicker Mason Crosby killed, and Scott’s superb holding has saved the team’s bacon more than a few times. Joe Fortunato, a remarkable story of perseverance, will battle him for the job.