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Packers release two starters, opening $10.25M in salary cap space

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Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 3:56 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Packers opened up some cap space Friday with the release of two starting players, linebacker Christian Kirksey and tackle Rick Wagner. Cover 2 contributor Rob Demovsky says their release will open up $10.25 in salary cap space.

Kirksey played in 11 regular season games in his one year with the Packers, playing as a starter in all of them, plus one start in the post-season. He was tied for second on the team with 78 tackles, including 47 solo tackles. He came to Green Bay from the Cleveland Browns, which drafted him in 2014. He was their team captain for 3 years and nominated for Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2018.

Wagner also played one season with the Packers. He played in 16 regular-season games, starting in 9 of them, and was a starter in both post-season games. Wagner is a University of Wisconsin alum and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2013. He played four seasons with the Ravens then three with the Detroit Lions. Demovsky cites sources saying Wagner is considering retirement.

Demovsky reports Kirksey would have had $6 million against this year’s salary cap and Wagner counted for $4.25 million.

The team still needs to clear about $11 million just to meet the expected cap of $180 million. And if the team wants to sign J.J. Watt, it’ll need even more money.

The biggest moves that could still be in store for GM Gutekunst and Russ Ball? Parting ways with Preston Smith would save $8 million to $12 million. Dean Lowry would save $3 million to $4 million.

And there’s always the big cap math that could come from restructuring Aaron Rodgers’s contract. They could convert base salary into bonuses, giving Rodgers more security and giving the team cap space.

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