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Packers Surprising Cut Candidates Going Into The Offseason

With the loss in Week 18 to division foe, the Detroit Lions, the Green Bay Packers started their offseason early. As we approach the draft, several questions will surround the Packers’ salary cap and who will be removed to make up space for the team’s future. Aaron Rodgers is currently on a spiritual retreat so his status as the teams’ quarterback in 2023 is up in the air along with backup quarterback, Jordan Love.

There are 16 free agents in 2023 for the Packers leading up to the next season. The front office will have to decide who will be cut and who will get a juicy new contract. There are a few stars on this list and it’ll be interesting to see how their fate with the team unfolds. Here are my top cut candidates for the team in 2023. Also, who from the free agent list should get signed for at least another year?

Allen Lazard, Packers Wide Receiver

Allen the Lazard King. As much as I’d hate to see him go, he proved this past season that he couldn’t handle the lead wideout spot. He had the most drops this season than he’s had since he joined the NFL. Drops have always been an issue for the Packers team but as the top wideout, you can’t have that. With the emergence of rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, the Packers might be in a slight rebuild mode with young talent.

Per Spotrac, if Allen Lazard were signed to a new contract, his average annual salary would be around $12.5 million and he’d probably be signed to a three-year contract. The Packers are one of the bottom teams regarding available cap space in the offseason, with around $10 million over the expected salary cap as of January. Lazard could easily thrive on another squad with what he does best, play the number two or three wide receiver, and be a threat as a run and pass blocker. There are several teams with a boatload of extra cash to give Lazard a fancy new deal.

David Bakhtiari, Packers Offensive Tackle

Bakhtiari, Bakhtiari, Bakhtiari…..when healthy, David is a superb talent on the offensive line, but again that’s “when” he is healthy. Bakhtiari has had multiple surgeries and has never fully healed from his ankle injury dating back to the 2020 season. If he was truly healthy, which we know he isn’t, I’d say keep him onboard with his massive contract because it’s hard to find an elite offensive lineman that can seal the edge. With his ACL recovery, he only played one game in 2021 and was limited to 11 games this season.

In 2023, Bakhtiari will have a cap hit of almost $29 million, and in 2024, it’ll be almost $33 million. If the Packers were to cut him before the 2023 season, the team would take a dead cap hit of $23 million, saving almost $6 million for 2023. With two years left on his contract, should this 31-year-old lineman stay with the team or get released for younger and healthier talent? With the current cap space the way it is thanks to Aaron Rodgers, I’d say cut Bakhtiari. The Packers can start fixing the cap space now, and then rebound next year and in the years to come.

Mason Crosby, Packers Kicker

As a projected hall of fame candidate, Mason Crosby has had a memorable career with the Green Bay Packers. He has only known of Green Bay as a home in the NFL and after this season, he will be a free agent in 2023 with a cap hit of roughly $1 million. He’ll be 39 years old going into his 17th NFL season if he chooses to play, but with the current state of the Packers, the team should let him go and pursue younger talent. Crosby has struggled mightily over the last few seasons with 50-plus-yard field goals, and with a possible shift on offense, we might need a stronger leg.

Keisean Nixon, Packers Cornerback

At the beginning of the 2022 season, no one knew what Keisean Nixon would be. However, a couple of weeks before wide receiver Amari Rodgers was cut, we found out Nixon was that guy. Amari struggled greatly with punt and kick returns in 2022 which ultimately led to his departure from the team. Nixon came out of nowhere with his electric returns and gave Packers fans some hope with trust for the special teams unit. Although active, Nixon started the season as a depth piece and only played in ten games. Due to an injury to Eric Stokes, Nixon filled in well and proved his worth.

In 2022, Nixon signed a one-year deal with the Packers for $965,000 and is another player set to be a free agent. Nixon will be 26 years old at the start of the 2023 season and the Packers should sign him to at least a two-year deal. I could see him getting signed for a three-year deal worth $10 million as a solid cornerback piece and the starting punt and kick returner. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Packers’ returner exceed my expectations, and since I’ve drooled over seeing him play the next season. Keisean is that guy.

The Packers Front Office Will Be Busy This Offseason

The names listed above are just the beginning of possible changes to the Packers’ 2023 squad. There are still questions on whether or not Rodgers will go to the New York Jets, or the Las Vegas Raiders, stay put with the Packers, or retire. Jordan Love is impatiently waiting on Rodgers’s decision since he wants to be a starting quarterback in 2023, and his best shot is with the Packers since he hasn’t played enough for a team to sign him on as a starter.

 
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