The Green Bay Packers and general manager Brian Gutekunst haven’t budged on a pending Aaron Rodgers trade, but that hasn’t stopped them from continuing to clear cap space through contract restructures involving key veterans.
Gutekunst and his staff have been working to clear as much cap space as possible through contract restructures in order to keep key contributors around for the 2023 season rather than outright releasing them. The moves have included a $5 million pay cut for star running back Aaron Jones and most recently another restructure for All-Pro linebacker De’Vondre Campbell.
ESPN’s Field Yates tweeted on the morning of Friday, March 17 that the Packers cleared another $3.3 million in cap space by restructuring the contract for cornerback Rasul Douglas.
According to Over the Cap, the Packers were $21 million under the cap prior to the Douglas move. With over $24 million now in cap space, the Packers can prepare to either take on Rodgers’ $40 million dead cap hit if he’s traded, or go out to try and pursue some affordable veterans in free agency.
Either way, the Packers have come a long way from their significant cap space problems at the beginning of the offseason.
How Rasul Douglas Turned His NFL Career Around
Considering how his NFL career almost flamed out, the fact that Douglas is now an established starter in Green Bay is one of the most impressive feats of anyone on the Packers roster.
Douglas was a promising player coming out of college, leading the nation with eight interceptions in his final year at West Virginia. He was taken in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, where he had a productive first two NFL seasons to go along with a Super Bowl ring.
Things went south quickly for Douglas, who was cut by the Eagles just before the start of the 2020 season. After bouncing around the league with short stints in Carolina, Las Vegas, Houston, and Arizona, it looked like Douglas was bound to be a reserve player for the rest of his career.
That changed in 2021, when the Packers scooped Douglas off of Arizona’s practice squad. He came alive with a new opportunity in Green Bay, racking up five interceptions and two defensive touchdowns in 12 games for the Packers, earning a Pro Bowl alternate selection.
The Packers signed Douglas to a three-year, $21 million extension prior to the start of the 2022 season. He finished the year with another four interceptions, and will look to have the same kind of turnover production for the Packers in 2023 and beyond.
Latest on Aaron Rodgers
While Gutekunst keeps restructuring contracts, the rest of the NFL world is waiting for him to make a trade that will send Rodgers to the Jets.
The four-time MVP announced on The Pat McAfee Show that he intends to play for the Jets in 2023. However, Rodgers also pointed out that the Packers are working on compensation in a trade and digging their heels in so that they can get a better deal.
Justis Mosqueda with Acme Packing Company explained why the Packers are delaying the decision, and why the team has so much leverage in a potential trade with the Jets. With the way Rodgers’ contract is structured, the Packers can drag the process all the way to Week 1 if they really wanted to, while the Jets are desperate to land a starting quarterback.
It’s unlikely the Jets will be willing to wait that long, but the Packers seem content on being patient on making a trade.