Much to the chagrin of the rest of the NFC North, the Green Bay Packers aren't going anywhere. There was at least some uncertainty entering the 2023 season and the post-Aaron Rodgers era that things might tick down a bit. As it turns out, Jordan Love is already lining himself up to be the next great Packers quarterback and the future looks bright after a playoff appearance and win in Love's first season as the starter.
The Packers have one of the youngest rosters in the NFL, which further amplifies the optimism about the club's future. Having said that, seeing what these young players accomplished so quickly could inspire Brian Gutekunst and the front office to be aggressive in improving the roster.
To accomplish that, however, the Packers are going to have to clear some room under the salary cap. Over the Cap has their current projection at just shy of $3 million over the cap number for the 2024 season. Some deals will likely be restructured, but that could also mean that some tough cuts will take place to create more cap room.
Specifically, these four players could end up being cap casualties based on the savings, situation, and the roster that the Packers have in place going into the 2024 campaign.
Packers Rumors: 4 potential cap casualties to cut for 2024 savings
4. Preston Smith, EDGE (Cap Savings Post-June 1: $12.4 million)
Preston Smith has been the definition of the plumber edge rusher since joining the Packers. He's never going to be the first guy to get all of the credit and praise on the Green Bay defense, but when you need him to show up, he's there and does the job right. That's an underratedly valuable piece to have, especially at edge rusher.
The 31-year-old veteran continued to prove his value in that capacity in the 2023 season. While he was once again not spectacular, Smith still accrued 9.0 sacks, 45 total pressures and forced two fumbles on the season. As he long has been for Green Bay, he was above-average and played his role extremely well.
Having said that, Smith is now on the wrong side of 30 and there is a chance that the Packers are simply looking for more upside than the veteran is capable of offering currently. Moreover, it's seemed like Green Bay has been setting up a replacement plan for Smith recently, most notably drafting Lukas Van Ness in the first round a year ago.
It's entirely possible that the Packers would designate Smith as a post-June 1 cut to save north of $12 million with only a $4.1 million dead cap hit for the 2024 season. That would allow them to turn the keys over to Rashan Gary and Van Ness, along with some depth pieces on the edge. There is risk in doing that given how consistent Smith has been, but the upside and savings are also hard to ignore.