Each year’s salary cap is determined by the previous year’s revenue, and that means a sharp decline next year, as all the ticket sales that aren’t happening in 2020 will be reflected by a lower cap in 2021. Teams have grown accustomed to seeing the cap increase every year, but next season it may decline by $20 million per team.
For Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst, that’s a real concern: Green Bay isn’t projected to have much cap space next year already, and that’s before they get to work on new contracts for offensive tackle David Bakhtiari, center Corey Linsley, cornerback Kevin King and running back Aaron Jones, all of whom are currently scheduled to hit free agency in March.
Gutekunst told Kevin Clark of TheRinger.com that it’s a real issue facing his team, although he noted that the Packers aren’t unlike every other team in finding themselves preparing to have less cap space in 2021 than they thought they’d have when they signed a lot of their current contracts.
“It’s problematic,” Gutekunst said. “Every team is dealing with it. For me, it’s certainly made it a lot tougher. We’ve always tried to have some flexibility, and maintaining that flexibility is much more difficult going into next year’s cap and really with the unpredictability of what 2022 will look like. It’s tough. It comes down to choices, and it will be an interesting spring because a lot of teams will have to make a lot of choices they don’t really want to. But it’s very much an equal playing field. We’re all going to have to deal with it. There’s going to be some unpleasantness. There’s no doubt about that.”
Some of that unpleasantness is likely to be saying goodbye to at least players like Bakhtiari, Linsley, King or Jones. Teams across the league are going to reach the conclusion that they can’t keep everyone.