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Packers Restructure Rashan Gary; What’s Next on Path to Salary Cap?

Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst talked about the salary cap and the potential impact on the salary cap while at the Scouting Combine on Tuesday.
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INDIANAPOLIS – The Green Bay Packers restructured Rashan Gary’s contract, creating $4.781 million of cap space with a stroke of a pen.

So, what’s next for general manager Brian Gutekunst as he gets far enough below the salary cap to build a roster good enough to compete for a Super Bowl? Those tough decisions were eased with the NFL’s surprising $30 million increase in the salary cap.

“Yeah, it was a little bit unexpected,” Gutekunst told local reporters at the Scouting Combine on Tuesday. “We’re usually kind of pretty accurate with those things in kind of predicting it, but that was a bit of a surprise – but a welcome one, that’s for sure.”

In the case of Gary, a $6.2 million roster bonus was turned into signing bonus. Plus, his $1.3 million base salary was trimmed to the league minimum $1.125 million, with the difference also converted into signing bonus. With that, his cap charge was cut from about $15.93 million to $11,146,135. There’s no free lunch, though. In 2025, for instance, his cap charge has increased from about $23.93 million to about $25.52 million.

The move has the Packers about $7.12 million under the cap, according to Only eight teams are in worse shape.

The Packers can do similar cap gymnastics with other players. Jaire Alexander has an $8 million roster bonus due at the start of the league-year on March 13. Preston Smith ($5.4 million), Elgton Jenkins $5.1 million) and De’Vondre Campbell ($2.9 million) have noteworthy bonuses coming, as well. No different than with Gary, the Packers can convert those into cap-saving signing bonuses with the waving of a magic wand.

But will they?

The salary cap rising to $255.4 million – about $13 million more than expected – could help Gutekunst get the Packers off the credit-card approach to cap management.

“I think it probably alters our thinking a little bit, but not a lot,” Gutekunst said. “It gives us some more flexibility. But I think it’s really about the decisions we make from here on out and trying to stay flexible as we move forward over the next few years I think. But it certainly gives us a little bit more breathing room. Like I said before going into it, there wasn’t going to be anything that prevented us from going after players or doing what we wanted to do, and this kind of cements that.”

Gary is the personification of that way of doing business that the Packers probably would like to escape. Next offseason, his $8.7 million roster bonus probably will be turned into signing bonus to give the team more cap space in 2025 at the expense of more cap burden in 2026 and 2027.

But Gutekunst has to weigh taking a conservative financial approach with the desire to add to a roster that almost reached the NFC Championship Game.

“It’s really flexibility and how you want to approach it,” Gutekunst said. “Certainly, it gives us some breathing room to do some different things. It’s not necessarily the players we’re going acquire, because I felt pretty good no matter where it was going to be (and) being able to do that. But it’s ‘OK, how do we structure some contracts? How do we go about managing that?’ It gives us a little bit more breathing room, I think.”