Now that the 2013 season has ended, the NFL waiver system kicks in today, which means teams can begin cutting and claiming players again.
That system closes at the end of the regular and begins the day after the Super Bowl. Free agency, though, doesn’t begin until March 11.
The Packers are about $26 million under this year’s projected salary cap of about $126 million and don’t have any obvious candidates to release, though that doesn’t mean they won’t make some moves in the next five weeks.
Cornerback Tramon Williams, who will be 31 in March, will be one of the highest-paid players on the roster in 2014 ($7.5 million in salary and bonuses in 2014) but finished last season strongly enough to likely justify that salary.
Last year, inside linebacker A.J. Hawk accepted a pay cut from $5.45 million in salary and bonuses to $3.325 million. He’s scheduled to make barely above that ($3.5 million) in 2014.
Inside linebacker Brad Jones last year signed a three-year that averages $3.75 million and is scheduled to make $3 million in salary and bonuses in ’14. Cutting him this spring would remove that $3 million from the Packers’ books, but that would be offset by the $1 million of prorated signing bonus that would accelerate this year’s cap.
From now through the third week of the ’14 regular season, waiver claims will be awarded based on reverse order of finish in the ’13 standings, with the team with the worst record getting first priority when there are multiple claims on a player. The Packers are No. 21 in draft order and waiver priority.