Packers Morning Buzz: Russ Ball earns high marks for salary-cap, contract wizardry

Stu Courtney
Packers News
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Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at

We'll start with Packers executive vice-president/director of football operations Russ Ball getting high praise for his handling of the salary cap and player contracts, making the top five of former sports agent Joel Corry's rankings for CBS Sports.

Corry writes:

Executive vice president/director of football operations Russ Ball is responsible for Green Bay's vanilla contract structure with veteran players. The only guaranteed money in Packers contracts is a signing bonus. The lone exception is quarterback Aaron Rodgers, whose deals have conventional contract guarantees. The bigger deals contain a third or fifth day of the league year roster bonus in the second and third years. The roster bonuses are supposed to be substitutes for additional contract guarantees. The overall guarantees in Green Bay contracts are usually less than comparable deals on other teams.

Per game 46-man active roster bonuses are a requirement in nearly all of Green Bay's lucrative veteran contracts. Rodgers doesn't have these roster bonuses in his current contract. His previous extension had $600,000 annually. Rodgers' broken collarbone in 2017 cost him $337,500 because he didn't earn nine games worth of the roster bonuses. The collarbone injury limited Rodgers to seven games that season.

Second-year general manager Brian Gutekunst's methods of roster building don't resemble Ted Thompson's, his predecessor. Thompson almost strictly preferred a draft-and-develop approach while making limited use of free agency. Gutekunst has been much more aggressive in free agency than Thompson ever was. The longstanding policy of structuring veteran contracts where a signing bonus is the only form of true guaranteed money wasn't an impediment in free agency.

Packers Executive Vice President/Director of Football Operations Russ Ball talks with a Packers staff member on the sidelines before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field Thursday, November 15, 2018 in Seattle, WA.

Check out the entire story here:

Nine teams are judged to have the best shot of dethroning the Patriots, according to's Adam Schein, and the Packers make the list:

8) Green Bay Packers

I could dazzle you with the names GM Brian Gutekunst brought in via free agency and the draft to truly make this roster better. Or I can tell you that Aaron Rodgers is healthy and ready to dominate with Matt LaFleur at the helm. I'll stick with that. ... OK, fine. Green Bay fans should be excited about Preston Smith, Za'Darius Smith, Adrian Amos, Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage, too. Yeah, the defense figures to be much, much better.

You can find out who the other eight teams are here:

Davante Adams is excited about the potential of Matt LaFleur's offense:

Second-round draft pick Elgton Jenkins, a standout center in college, appears destined to play guard in Green Bay:

ESPN's Rob Demovsky writes about Aaron Jones' potential role in the Packers' revamped offense:

Former Packers receiver Randall Cobb making an impression in Big D:

Former Packers running back Ty Montgomery is excited about his fresh start with the Jets:

And finally: Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander is just oozing confidence:

Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt

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