10:01 AM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Preston Smith helped extend his career with the Green Bay Packers, and the team picked up much needed salary-cap space when they came to an agreement on a new contract Monday.
Smith, who had one year and $12.5 million left on his existing deal, signed a four-year, $52.5 million extension, a source told ESPN. Smith will make $25 million over the next two seasons with the chance to earn $31 million with incentives in 2022 and 2023 combined. The entirety of the deal could earn Smith up to $71 million over five seasons should he finish the deal and reach all of the incentives.
It helped the Packers’ salary-cap situation. Smith was scheduled to count $19.5 million on this year’s cap. The Packers were $45.5 million over their salary cap before Smith’s deal, which is expected to lower his cap charge by about $8 million to $9 million. Aaron Rodgers’ contract extension, when it’s done, also will lower the Packers’ cap number.
They must be under the cap by 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, when the 2022 league year begins.
Smith teamed with Rashan Gary to form a strong pass-rush duo last season while Za’Darius Smith missed most of the year because of a back injury. Preston Smith took a pay cut last offseason following a substandard 2021 season but bounced back with nine sacks.
In seven seasons, Smith has 49.5 sacks and has missed only one game. He originally signed a four-year, $52 million deal with the Packers in 2019.
It also means Za’Darius Smith’s time with the Packers is likely over. A source said earlier this offseason that Za’Darius Smith expected to be released. That would save the Packers $15.75 million in salary-cap space.
Also currently on the Packers’ cap is receiver Davante Adams’ $20.145 million franchise tag. Neither the Packers nor Adams want him to play under the tag this season. It would provide Adams no long-term security and would be hard for the team to handle on their cap. While there has been little progress in negotiations, general manager Brian Gutekunst said using the tag is “more of a bridge to hopefully an extension down the road.”
Source: ESPN NFL