I will be doing a series of articles that will be taking a methodical team by team approach to next year’s possible free agents. I will be starting with the team that has the least amount of salary cap space and ending with the team with the most. I will try to give a brief description of as many of the possible free agents as I can. I will also be looking for players that might be salary cap cuts in order for their teams to make room to sign some of these possible free agents. Any information anyone else can contribute on these players would be very much appreciated.
The Green Bay Packers are projected to be $26,740,294 UNDER the cap (all salary info via Over The Cap) for 2017 and with only 37 players under contract.
(EastBayNinerFan has the combined total of the salary cap surplus carry over from 2016 and the cap space for 2017 as $36,946,193)
While it might seem like the Packers have a lot of cap space, they also have a lot of big contracts to deal with. Lang, Perry, Lacy, Tretter and Hyde should all be looking for big contracts. I wouldn’t be surprised if their combined contracts in 2017 come to more than the amount of cap space Green Bay has available and they will still have 11 more players to sign.
Dollar figures listed are player’s 2016 cap hit.
34OLB Julius Peppers - $10,500,000
Julius Peppers is 36 years old and was originally drafted by the Panthers in the first round of the 2002 draft. The Packers signed Peppers after he was released by the Bears in 2014. Peppers has 18 tackles, 6.5 sacks, three passes defended, and one forced fumble this season. It is sad when a 36 year old player is having a better season than any player you have on your team. I highly doubt Peppers would even consider coming to the 49ers.
RG TJ Lang - $6,181,250
TJ Lang is 29 years old and was drafted by the Packers in the fourth round of the 2009 draft. TJ Lang has been an elite offensive lineman for most of his career and this year is no exception. Pro Football Focus has him currently rated as the 8th best guard in the NFL and the second rated pass blocker. This is his last big contract, will he go for the money?
34OLB Nick Perry - $4,875,000
Nick Perry is 26 years old and was drafted by the Packers in the first round of the 2012 draft. Nick Perry signed a one-year $5 million contract with the Packers after they declined to pick up his fifth year option. Perry has 48 tackles, 8 sacks, four passes defended and one interception this season. We can always dream.
TE Jared Cook - $2,750,000
Jared Cook is 29 years old and was originally drafted by the Titans in the third round of 2009 draft. Cook signed a contract with the Packers in March of this year after being released by the Rams. Cook has been a little banged up this year and only has 17 receptions for 199 yards. I wouldn’t mind having him as a backup for McDonald.
34OLB Datone Jones - $2,455,282
Datone Jone is 26 years old and was drafted by the Packers in the first round of the 2013 draft. Jones has 15 tackles, one sack, and two passes defended this season. He seems like kind of a bust considering that he was drafted in the first round and the Packers elected to not pick up his fifth year option this past offseason. On the other hand, look who he has to play behind. I would much rather have him than Tank Carradine.
RB Eddie Lacy - $1,079,404
Eddie Lacy is 26 years old and was drafted by the Packers in the second round of the 2013 draft. Lacy injured his ankle on October 16 and had to have surgery so he is out for the season. He had 360 yards on 17 carries before his injury this season. Lacy has 3,435 yards rushing in his career. What team would not like to have Lacy?
RB Christine Michaels - $277,947
Christine Michaels is 26 years old and was originally drafted by the Seahawks in the second round of the 2013 draft. Green Bay signed Michaels after he was released by the Seahawks in November. He has 529 yards rushing on 137 carries with 6 touchdowns this season, most of which came with the Seahawks.
RG Don Barclay - $700,000
Don Barclay is 27 years old and was picked up by the Packer as an undrafted free agent in 2012. Barclay has not played well in his limited snaps.
C JC Tretter - $778,977
JC Tretter is 25 years old and was drafted by the Packers in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. PFF has Tretter rated as the 10th best center in the NFL and he is a pretty decent run blocker. I wouldn’t mind replacing Kilgore with him.
S Micah Hyde - $1,715,527
Micah Hyde is 25 years old and was drafted by the Packers in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. Hyde has three punt returns for touchdowns. Micah has 48 tackles, one sack, four passes defended, and one interception this season. He is an excellent run defender but not very good in coverage.