GREEN BAY, Wis. -- We've noted several times that the Green Bay Packers still have plenty of unused space on their 2014 salary cap.
As of the start of this week, they have $15,636,891 in salary-cap space. Only six NFL teams have more, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
The outlook for 2015 is not quite as good.
While much can – and will – change between now and the start of the 2015 league year next March, the Packers are looking at a much different salary-cap situation next year. They already have $114,262,013 committed to their 2015 salary cap. Only seven NFL teams have more than that already committed to next year's salary cap.
The Packers have 42 players under contract for 2015. Only seven teams (not all the same seven that have more cap space committed to 2015) have more players signed for next season than the Packers. The New England Patriots have the most salary-cap space committed for 2015 ($134,509,418 for 41 players), while the Oakland Raiders have the least ($77,396,634 for 32 players).
Four players account for nearly half of the Packers' 2015 salary cap.
Aaron Rodgers ($18.25 million)
Clay Matthews ($12.7 million)
Julius Peppers ($12.0 million)
Sam Shields ($9.125 million)
However, the Packers structured Peppers' three-year contract so that if he plays only one season, they would be able to limit the amount of dead money on their 2015 and 2016 caps. If they released him next offseason and designated him as a post-June 1 cut, he would count only $2.5 million on next year's cap and another $2.5 million on the 2016 cap. If they released him without the post-June 1 designation, he would count $5 million on the 2015 cap and nothing on the 2016 cap.
The Packers could gain additional cap space for 2015. Just like they did this year, they would be able to carry over any that $15-plus million in currently unused cap space to next season.