The Green Bay Packers were expected to have an eventful offseason, given their cap space. First, left tackle David Bakhtiari restructured his contract, freeing up over $8 million for the team. On Friday, the team announced they would be cutting linebacker Christian Kirksey and offensive tackle Rick Wagner after both were with the team for one season.
Packers Cap Space
Following the contract restructure of Bakhtiari, the Packers still found themselves $13 million over the cap. Clearly these two moves were made in order to free up some space, so the Packers could be competitive in free agency. Of course, the biggest name thrown around Wisconsin right now is that of J.J. Watt.
Kirksey was due $7.6 million this season. Cutting him saves the Packers over $5.6 million. Wagner was due $6 million, and releasing him saves $4.25 million. So, altogether, the Packers have cleared roughly $18.15 million from their three big offseason moves. They are still over the cap, but they are much more competitive.
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Rick Wagner Packers Performance
Wagner, 31, was not expected to come in and blow anyone away. While he was given plenty of help on this side, between tight ends and running backs, he performed better than expected for the Packers.
Pro Football Focus gave Wagner a grade of 78.2, which was the sixth-highest on the offense (among players who saw snaps in more than one game). He allowed three sacks and 15 hurries on the season, including playoffs. With the large question mark at left tackle due to Bakhtiari’s injury, this could prove to be a risky move.
Christian Kirksey Packers Performance
Christian Kirksey’s stint with the Packers was not as successful. He received a grade of 48.3, which was the fifth-worst on the defense. Kirksey totaled 60 tackles, missed 10, and he also allowed an 85.4% catch rate and five touchdowns through the air (per PFF).
The Packers defense appeared to be better with him off the field. So, the poor performance, his injury history, connection to Mike Pettine and overall cap relief combine to make this a clear great move for Green Bay.