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Forecasting contract situations is an underrated yet critical piece of dynasty roster construction. Players like Dalvin Cook, Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, and Stefon Diggs have instilled fear into managers in recent memory, but knowing about potential barriers to fantasy production or scene changes can benefit dynasty managers. This series will use Over The Cap to look at possible contract situations, analyzing their likelihood to become problematic for fantasy and how to approach each player's value now. Up first, the Green Bay Packers running backs.
- Age: 28
- Contract: 4 years, $48,000,000
- 2024 Cap Hit: $17,170,000
- 2024 Cap Percentage: 6.7%
Aaron Jones signed a four-year, $48,000,000 contract after hitting unrestricted free agency in 2021. He then signed a two-year extension worth $23,000,000 in 2023, converting the final three years into voidable years. Void years are extra contract years that allow for salary cap flexibility. Teams utilize void years to lower cap hits in current or immediate future years, most often with the intention to add more talent and extend a contending window. In Jones's age-30 season, his cap hit will exceed $17M, an unthinkable number for an aging running back. The Packers have multiple options to remedy this.
Option A: Restructure
A restructure would save the Packers approximately $7.8M against the cap, creating the flexibility necessary to add talent at critical positions. If 2023 running back contracts indicate future front office approaches, a restructure would likely come with a pay-cut request. When Jones renegotiated his contract in 2023, he took a $5M pay cut in return for more guarantees. The willingness to do this indicates this could still be an option.
Option B: Extension
Another extension to push the void years further down the line would lower Jones's cap hit for the Packers. While this option was feasible after the 2022 season, extending a 30-year-old running back isn't a strategy most front offices implement, especially analytically-driven ones.
Option C: Post-June 1st Cut or Trade
The Packers would save $11.5M against the cap if they were to trade or cut Jones after June 1st, 2024. Both options come with a low $5.7M dead money hit.
It's unlikely that Brian Gutekunst and the Packers have decided with certainty which option they will attempt following the 2023 season, but allowing a 30-year-old running back to make up nearly 7% of the salary cap is likely off the table. The Packers' success, or lack thereof, in 2023 will impact Jones's contract situation immensely. If the Packers fail to make the postseason, they will likely cut Jones and attempt to re-sign him at a more affordable salary cap hit, though that doesn't guarantee they'd be successful in luring him back to Green Bay. For Dynasty, Jones is essentially operating on a one-year deal with very little security past 2023. Managers who prefer to avoid uncertainty should capitalize on any value boost Jones sees early in the 2023 season.
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