Soaring Cap Means Flexibility

The Packers will have more than $33 million at their disposal to retain their free agents, extend key players and potentially go shopping.

The salary cap rose dramatically, from $123 million in 2013 to $133 million in 2014, the NFLPA announced on Friday.

That means the Green Bay Packers are practically overflowing with cap space.

According to a source with access to salary data, the Packers carried over about $9.8 million in cap space from 2013. That means the Packers' cap for 2014 is $142,820,459. With about $109.7 million in cap dollars committed for the upcoming season, Green Bay will take more than $33 million in cap space — $33,122,928 to be exact — into free agency.

According to the NFLPA, the average team carries over $6.1 million. Thus, the average team's cap is $139.1 million. That figure hints that much of the league will be well below the salary cap when free agency opens on March 11. The Packers, a separate source said, believed would be in the "top quarter" of the league in terms of cap space.

Also, the league has set the tender amounts for the franchise tag. If the Packers were to tag cornerback Sam Shields, it would take up more than one-third of the available cap space. According to NFL Network's Albert Breer:

Quarterback: $16.912 million.

Running back: $9.54 million.

Receiver: $12.312 million.

Tight end: $7.035 million.

Offensive line: $11.654 million.

Defensive end: $13.116 million.

Defensive tackle: $9.654 million.

Linebacker: $11.455 million.

Cornerback: $11.834 million.

Safety: $8.433 million.

Kicker/punter: $3.556 million.

The Packers have 19 free agents. The 17 unrestricted free agents are defensive linemen Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji, Johnny Jolly and C.J. Wilson, outside linebacker Mike Neal, inside linebacker Rob Francois, cornerback Sam Shields, tight ends Jermichael Finley and Andrew Quarless, receiver James Jones, center Evan Dietrich-Smith, tackle Marshall Newhouse, running backs James Starks and Kahlil Bell, fullback John Kuhn and quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Seneca Wallace. Their two restricted free agents are M.D. Jennings and Jamari Lattimore.

Moreover, the Packers have to lock up receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, who will be entering their final season under contract.

A source, meanwhile, told Packer Report that the team would like to retain Raji, though it appears the club might be in wait-and-see mode, with a preference to give the up-and-down Raji a short-term deal.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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