It’s Been a Busy 24 Hours for the Vikings Rivals in Green Bay

Kirk Cousins / Aaron Rodgers
Sep 15, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) greets Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) on the field following the game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

NFL free agency is upon us, and with it, every team has been making a flurry of moves as they try to create cap space and retain their stars. This is no different for Minnesota’s hated rivals, the Green Bay Packers. The Packers find themselves in tough salary cap spot right now, spending the weekend $40 million over the cap. This gave Green Bay the worst cap position in the NFL after the New Orleans Saints spent the past week making a number of restructures to get themselves near the cap.

The Packers have also begun making moves towards the salary cap. Monday morning, they extended pass-rusher Preston Smith by four years that will pay him an extra $52.5 million. This means he is under contract for the next five years and will make $65 million. Smith has been a large piece of Green Bay’s success on the defensive side of the ball, and he recorded nine sacks in 2021.

As for the other Smith, meaning of course Zadarius Smith, Green Bay has announced that they will part ways with their linebacker. This move was expected after Smith played just one game in 2021 and was set to have a cap number of $27.7 million. That is far too much for a pass-rusher that will turn 30 before the end of the 2022 season, and this move saves the Packers over $15 million in cap space. These two moves bring the Packers down to about $20 million over the salary cap. It’s a very similar situation that the Minnesota Vikings find themselves in regarding their star pass-rusher, Danielle Hunter. He’s a high-level talent, but could injuries and money mean it’s time to move on?

The biggest news out of Green Bay though is once again regarding wide receiver Davante Adams. The star has stood firm that he wants to be the highest paid receiver in the NFL, and the latest development on that story is that he does not want to play on the franchise tag. It makes sense that he would want long-term security with his deal, but with Green Bay’s cap situation, it will be difficult to find a way to get him on a lucrative deal while also staying cap complacent. We’ve already seen Zadarius Smith cut, and there would have to be more to come if Adams were to stick around with Aaron Rodgers.

Of course, the biggest move for Green Bay was ensuring that Rodgers stuck around in green and gold, and they have accomplished that. It will be interesting to see how both the Packers and Vikings maneuver their cap ahead of what will assuredly be some competitive games in 2022.