Packers reap cap space by dumping salaries

Tom Silverstein
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Josh Sitton

GREEN BAY - Cutting veterans Tim Masthay and Josh Sitton gave Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson $7.325 million more in salary-cap space, raising his available room to sign contract extensions or carry over to next season to $16,694,945.

Thompson’s decision to cut his punter and starting left guard may not have been salary-cap related, but there’s no question Thompson needs the space if he’s serious about extending left tackle David Bakhtiari, center JC Tretter, guard T.J. Lang and a host of other free-agents-to-be before their contracts expire.

In the case of Masthay, Thompson traded the veteran’s 2016 salary of $1.3 million for waiver claim Jacob Schum’s $525,000 salary. Schum’s two-year, $960,000 contract he signed with Tampa Bay carries over to the Packers.

There was no signing, roster or workout bonuses, so the Packers are only on the hook for the final year of the contract.

In Sitton’s case, the Packers cleared $6.55 million in salary the eight-year veteran was set to make in the final year of a five-year, $33.75 million contract. Sitton had a base salary of $6.15 million and a $400,000 roster bonus still remaining on his deal.

Since both Masthay and Sitton were in the final years of their deals, there are no future years of pro-rated guaranteed pay – known as “dead money” that must be charged to next year’s cap. Masthay’s final portion of $240,000 was already being counted against the 2016 cap and now is considered “dead money.”

Sitton’s pro-ration ended last year and so he doesn’t account for any dead money.

The Packers spent part of their extra salary-cap money on long snapper Brett Goode. His one-year contract, according to a source with access to NFL Players Association data, is for $885,000 with a drop to $453,000 if he winds up on injured reserve. The Packers received a minimum salary benefit because Goode has more than four years in the league and signed a minimum wage deal. Thus, his cap number is $600,000.

Sitton’s deal, meanwhile, became available Thursday. According to a source, he signed a three-year, $21 million deal that included $9.5 million in guarantees.

It is, in essence, a two-year $13 million deal because the final year is a club option, which the Bears must execute in March of 2017. A total of $2.25 million of the guarantee in Year Two covers him only for injury but if Sitton is on the team on the third day of the 2017 league year (in March), the money becomes fully guaranteed.

The option year allows the Bears to assess after this year and then next whether they want to keep Sitton in 2018. It will cost them $1,000,000 in March if they want to hang onto that third year, but nothing more. If Sitton flares out after two years, the Bears can cut him without owing another dime.

Here’s how the deal breaks down:

Signing bonus: $1.5 million


Base salary: $4.75 million (guaranteed)

Roster bonus: $500,000 (per game on the 46-man active list)

Incentive: $250,000 for making Pro Bowl

Cap number: $5.66 million


Base salary: $4.65 million ($2.25 million injury or fully guaranteed if on the roster third day of the league year)

Roster bonus: $1 million (due third day of league year; guaranteed if on the roster five days after 2018 option execution)

Roster bonus: $500,000 (per game on active 46)

Workout bonus: $100,000

Incentive: $250,000 for making Pro Bowl

Cap number: $6,916,666


(Club option, can be executed from five days after 2017 Super Bowl to five days prior to start of 2017 league year)

Base salary: $7,400,000

Roster bonus: $500,000 (Per game on active 46)

Workout bonus: $100,000

Incentive: $250,000 for making Pro Bowl

Cap number: $8,666,668

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