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Green Bay Packers’ salary cap situation heading into 2022

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The Green Bay Packers have already started creating salary cap space in the 2022 NFL offseason. However, they still have further moves they need to make heading into the new league year on March 16. Let’s examine the current situation for the Packers and what options they have to open up more cap space in the next couple of weeks.

Packers’ salary cap outlook for 2022

All numbers are from Spotrac and correct as of 5 AM on February 27.

The Packers are currently $28.25 million over the projected salary cap for the 2022 season. Not included within that number is the salary they would take on if they franchise tag Davante Adams — which they are widely expected to do. Therefore, the Packers would need to go from $-28.25 million in cap space to around $20 million in cap space. That means they need to clear around another $50 million ahead of March 16.

Green Bay has already started to open up cap space this offseason. Let’s look at which players they have already restructured and summarize the impact of these moves on the cap.

  • DT Kenny Clark
    Converted $13.615 million to a signing bonus and added two void years
    Opened $10.892 million in cap space for 2022
  • RB Aaron Jones
    Converted $3.85 million to a signing bonus and added two void years
    Opened $3.08 million in cap space for 2022
  • LT David Bakhtiari
    Converted $11.58 million to a signing bonus and added two void years
    Opened $9.264 million in cap space for 2022

How can the Packers open more salary cap space in 2022?

As Packers shareholder and Twitter cap guru Ken Ingalls tweeted on Saturday, Green Bay has now dealt with the “low hanging fruit & obvious” contract moves. Those three were the eligible veterans whose deals run beyond 2022. Now, the Packers have to make the more difficult decisions and need players to agree to any restructures. Indeed, Green Bay would require the players’ agreement to add void years and “alter” the contract.

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Let’s look at some of the Packers’ options for potential roster moves in the next couple of weeks.

What options do the Packers have with Aaron Rodgers?

There are really three options for the Packers for Rodgers’ contract and his future with the team. The first option is in his hands — retirement. If Rodgers retires, the Packers would be left with $26.85 million in dead money. The downside is that they would no longer have Rodgers and get nothing in return for losing him other than cap space. The good news from a cap perspective is that Rodgers’ retirement would clear $19.82 million in cap space in 2022.

The numbers would be the same if they were to trade Rodgers. They would open up $19.82 million in cap space but would likely get some valuable draft assets in return — at the very least. The third option is that the Packers offer Rodgers an extension. Doing so could potentially save the Packers more than $20 million in cap space. However, for that to happen, Rodgers would have to play on close to the veteran minimum in 2022 and then have a lot of guaranteed money built into 2023 and beyond.

Will both Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith be on the roster in 2022?

This pairing is currently set to count around $47 million against the Packers’ salary cap in 2022. That equates to around 22.5% of the cap, and coupled with Rashan Gary, it’s a big slice of the cap pie. Therefore, with both entering the final year of their deals, the Packers have some choices to make. Do they cut one (or both), extend one (or both), or just restructure the deals and add void years?

The decision is tough. Both are the same age, but Za’Darius missed 2021 due to injury, while Preston played 16 games. Za’Darius is arguably the more consistent producer on the field, but he would also likely cost more to extend. PFN’s NFL Insider and Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline reported on February 26 that Za’Darius Smith is a potential cap casualty.

Releasing Za’Darius would save the Packers $15.28 million in cap space. Meanwhile, a restructure with added void years would save around $11 million but leave the Packers with that much in dead money in 2023, regardless of whether Za’Darius Smith is on the roster or not.

Preston Smith has a cap hit of $19.72 million, with potential savings of $12.47 million if the Packers released him. It seems unlikely they would release both, so potentially an extension for Preston is a solution. The Packers could bring his cap number down as low as $8.5 million. Nonetheless, it would likely go a little higher in 2022 to reduce the impact in 2023 and 2024.

Could Randall Cobb be on his way out of Green Bay?

A year after trading for Cobb in an attempt to placate Rodgers, releasing him would seem an odd decision. Combine that with three other receivers being unrestricted free agents, Allen Lazard as a restricted free agent, and Malik Taylor as an exclusive rights free agent — letting another receiver leave would render the WR depth chart vulnerable.

The Packers could put the ball in Cobb’s court. He is due over $8 million combined in base salary and roster bonus. None of that money is guaranteed, and it seems unlikely Cobb would earn that much on the open market. Therefore, Green Bay could present Cobb with a potential pay cut to reduce his cap number. If that does not work, they could keep him on the roster with a restructure to save about $5.55 million by adding three extra void years.

Could the Packers offer extensions to Jaire Alexander, Rashan Gary, and Darnell Savage ahead of the 2022 league year?

Alexander, Gary, and Savage are in the final years of their respective deals. Gary would likely have his fifth-year option picked up, so he is at least under control through 2023. Savage is also eligible for his fifth-year option, but his future is less certain. He will count just $3.98 million against the cap — the Packers may not want to do anything until after this season.

Meanwhile, Alexander is set to play on his fifth-year option in 2022. That comes at a cap number of $13.29 million. Focusing on Alexander and Gary, they are set to count just over $18 million against the cap combined. Yet, only $2.39 million of that is in prorated bonus.

Therefore, the Packers could sign both to extensions and bring that combined cap down to $10 million or less, depending on how they structure the deal. As with the extensions above, it would be a delicate balance between getting the right value in 2022 versus pilling a lot of cap commitments into 2023 and 2024.

Offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins is also set to play in the final year of his rookie deal in 2022. His name lacks the star power of the others here, but he is an extremely valuable piece that the Packers will almost certainly want to keep long-term. His contract has a cap number of just $4.72 million in 2022. Consequently, it’d be tough for the Packers to sign him to an extension and reduce that cap number in 2022. He could be a candidate for an extension later in the offseason.

What are the Packers’ other options to save salary cap space in 2022?

There are a number of players who could be released or have void years added to their deals in restructures. Some options for potential releases include:

  • S Adrian Amos
    Dead money: $7.33 million
    Cap saving: $4.65 million
  • OL Billy Turner
    Dead money: $5.81 million
    Cap saving: $3.36 million
  • DL Dean Lowry
    Dead money: $3.99 million
    Cap saving: $4.08 million
  • K Mason Crosby
    Dead money: $2.34 million
    Cap saving: $2.40 million
  • TE Marcedes Lewis
    Dead money: $2.08 million
    Cap saving: $2.45 million

Some of those players could be on their way out, while others will likely either get an extension or be offered restructures with void years.





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Same Game Parlay Picks and Predictions

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The Pittsburgh Steelers and Las Vegas Raiders have both split their first two games, and the spread reflects the expectation that this one comes down to the wire.

When considering same game parlay picks in a spot like this, you’re best off working backward. Decide what you think the outcome looks like and then build the story of how we get there.

Our Betting Lines page has the freshest lines and promos to get BANG for your buck. PFN’s FREE Parlay Calculator and Betting Odds Calculator are also available for your betting process! New to sports betting? Check out our guide on How to Bet on the NFL. Visit our Sports Betting Legal Tracker on how to bet legally in the U.S.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Las Vegas Raiders Odds

  • Spread
    Raiders -2.5
  • Moneyline
    Raiders -142, Steelers +120
  • Total
    43

We here at Soppe HQ like to encourage responsible gaming, and in that vein, I’ll always offer you a trivia question off the top of these articles. Pose this question to a buddy you are watching the game with. Answer correctly, and you pay for the SGP; misfire and he/she is on the hook.

Trivia Question: Who has more career touchdowns as a member of the Raiders franchise: Davante Adams or Jerry Rice?

More often than not, I will have the winner of the game worked into my same game parlay picks, but that’s not the case here. The books have this labeled as little more than a coin flip, and I tend to agree, so I’m not going to force it.

What is it that we “know”? Of course, we “know” nothing for sure, but there are some components of these teams that are more projectable than others, and that’s what we need to target.

MORE: NFL Week 3 Betting Predictions

On the Steelers side, we saw them play without Diontae Johnson for the first time, and the result was 34.5% of the targets going to George Pickens.

There was no real surprise there, but it was good to see and is something I’m happy to back against a Raiders defense that has allowed opponents to complete 81.7% this season.

If my finished product isn’t juicy enough for you, the Pickens leg is your spot. In seven career games with at least four catches, he’s registered at least 57 receiving yards in six of them and finished north of 80 in the majority of them.

Let’s shift to the pro-Raiders side of this game. Did you know that they’ve scored on their first possession in seven straight games? In five of those instances, they found the end zone, supporting early Raider angles and possible first TD dart throws.

That matches up nicely with the Steelers being outscored by 21 points in the first half of their past seven games (+28 in second halves in those games). I can’t imagine that a short work week helps Pittsburgh come out strong, so I’m using those trends when building my SGP.

Now, we get into the fantasy football portion of the segment. Josh Jacobs. He has no touchdowns and no big plays to speak of through two weeks, not exactly what we were expecting after a career year. But let’s take a deep breath.

MORE: Steelers vs. Raiders Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em

Jacobs had 19 of 20 RB carries in Week 1 when the Raiders were healthy and competitive, something we expect to be the case this week. He runs behind an offensive line labeled as a top-5, and that has largely been a profitable spot to be against the Steelers.

Since the beginning of last season, Pittsburgh has allowed 5.6 yards per carry to starting RBs (or committees when the starter isn’t clear) who play with a top-5 offensive line by our Dalton Miller’s ranks.

Volume and efficiency are both things I’m comfortable counting on for Jacobs in this spot. For his career, Jacobs has 10 games with at least 15 carries and 5.0 yards per carry. In those games

  • 14 rushing touchdowns
  • 137.5 rushing yards per game

Let’s zoom out a bit and just look at those 15-carry games. He has run for 35 scores in those 42 games and has cleared 70 yards on the ground 29 times.

In the majority of those failures to reach 70 yards, it was in part due to the opponent scoring at least 27 points. The Steelers have an implied total of 20 points in this spot, so I’m not sweating a high-scoring game.

Trivia Answer: Rice leads the way with 18 (Adams has 15)
Same Game Parlay Pick: Raiders 1H (-0.5), Jacobs 70+ rushing yards, Jacobs anytime TD, George Pickens 50+ receiving yards
Odds: +600 (DraftKings)

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Will Jimmy Garoppolo Get The Win in His Home Debut in Las Vegas?

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For Sunday Night Football this week, we have the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Las Vegas Raiders. The favorite for Steelers vs. Raiders flipped in the middle of the week, as Las Vegas is now a 2.5-point favorite after they opened as 1.5-point underdogs.

Both of these teams have struggled on offense through the first two weeks of the season, as they each rank in the bottom three in yards per game. After a really impressive preseason, Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett has struggled so far this season, with his 19.9 QBR being the lowest in the NFL.

Meanwhile, for the Raiders, Josh Jacobs is hoping to get back on track after rushing for negative yards last week.

For the Steelers, this will be their first road game of the season. Yet, it will be the Raiders’ home debut and Jimmy Garoppolo’s first regular-season game playing in front of the Las Vegas crowd.

In a matchup of two 1-1 teams, which will improve to be above .500 through the first three weeks of the season? Our team of betting experts gives out their Steelers vs. Raiders predictions and picks against the spread, point total, player props, and more.

Our Betting Lines page has the freshest lines and promos to get BANG for your buck. PFN’s FREE Parlay Calculator and Betting Odds Calculator are also available for your betting process! New to sports betting? Check out our guide on How to Bet on the NFL. Visit our Sports Betting Legal Tracker on how to bet legally in the U.S.

Steelers vs. Raiders Betting Lines, Start Time, and More

All odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook unless stated otherwise.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Las Vegas Raiders Prediction

  • Spread
    Raiders -2.5
  • Moneyline
    Steelers +120, Raiders -142
  • Total
    43
  • Game Time
    8:20 p.m. EST
  • Location
    Allegiant Stadium
  • How To Watch
    NBC, Peacock

Bearman: People can say it was “Steelers football” or “Steelers DNA” or whatever they want for Monday night’s win over the Cleveland Browns, but I saw it as Deshaun Watson handing them the game and Pittsburgh getting bailed out.

MORE: Week 3 NFL Betting Predictions 

The Steelers offense did next to nothing, with a total of 255 yards, 71 of which came on their lone offensive scoring play. Play like that again tonight, and it’ll be all Las Vegas.

The Raiders looked good in their Week 1 win in Denver but then walked into the Buffalo Bills hangover buzzsaw. I like them here.

Pick: Raiders -2.5 (-115 at FanDuel)

Blewis: Pittsburgh needed two defensive touchdowns to beat Cleveland last week. After the Steelers’ starting offense scored a touchdown on every drive in the preseason, the narrative has completely flipped. So far this season, they’re only averaging 247 yards per game.

Josh Jacobs should have a bounce-back game against a Steelers run defense without Cam Heyward, allowing the Raiders to play ball-control football.

I got the under while it was at 43.5, but I would still play it at this number. Keep fading the Steelers offense while you can, especially when they’re due for regression in turnover luck.

Pick: Under 43 (-110 at FanDuel)

Soppe: We saw the Steelers play without Diontae Johnson for the first time on Monday night, and the result was 34.5% of the targets going to George Pickens. No real surprise there, but it was good to see and is something I’m happy to back against a Raiders defense that has allowed opponents to complete 81.7% of their passes this season.

The explosive second-year receiver averages 15.8 yards per catch for his career, and now we get a chance to marry that per catch upside with a strong target expectation against a porous secondary. What am I missing?

Pick: George Pickens over 51.5 receiving yards (-115 at DraftKings)

Katz: I know I want to fade Pat Freiermuth, who is a complete afterthought in the Steelers offense. I couldn’t decide how. So, I decided to split the bet.

This is a single-unit fade on Freiermuth in the form of two bets. So far, Freiermuth has exactly two catches for five yards on the season. His usage has been erratic, playing 50% of the snaps in Week 1 and 75% of the snaps in Week 2 (although a big hit to the chest may be to blame for Week 1).

MORE: NFL Week 3 Survivor Picks

In Week 1, Freiermuth saw four targets. In Week 2, despite playing more and running two more routes, he saw just one target.

Simply put, Kenny Pickett’s first read is almost never the Muth. So, my read is to fade him.

Picks: Pat Freiermuth under 32.5 receiving yards (-113 at Caesars) and under 3.5 receptions (-131 at Caesars)

Katz: I am not quite sure why Jimmy Garoppolo’s passing yardage line is so high. He’s thrown for 185 and 200 yards in each of his first two games. One was a narrow win. The other was a blowout loss. Regardless of the game script, Garoppolo isn’t airing it out.

Now, his line is set 40 yards higher than his best game so far. It’s a bit confusing. The under just seems so obvious. Perhaps I’m falling into a trap, but I have to recommend it.

Pick: Jimmy Garoppolo under 240.5 passing yards (-115 at BetMGM)

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Target Kirk Cousins, George Pickens, and Mike Williams

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We officially have two games of the 2023 NFL season in the books. Now that we have more data and game film to analyze, there are some player prop lines to take advantage of on SuperDraft heading into Week 3 of the NFL season.

Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer and Start/Sit Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

Top SuperDraft Player Prop Picks for Week 3 of NFL Action

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Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings | 24.5 Passing Completions

The Minnesota Vikings have been one of the pass-heavier teams through the first two weeks of the NFL season.

Kirk Cousins has thrown the ball 44 times in both weeks to start the 2023 NFL season. The Vikings’ defense has another tough matchup against quarterback Justin Herbert and the high-powered Los Angeles Chargers passing offense in Week 3, which could lead to Cousins throwing the ball early and often in a potentially high-scoring affair.

One big reason the Vikings have been forced to throw the ball so much to start the season is the complete absence of a running game in 2023.

The Vikings rank dead last in the league with just 69 yards rushing with a brutal 2.7 yards per carry through the first two games of the year.

In addition to throwing the ball 44 times a game, he has managed to complete a minimum of 31 passes a game in both contests this season.

The line being set at 24.5 feels criminal if this turns into another high-scoring affair for the Vikings.

The Chargers defense gave up 466 yards through the air to quarterback Tua Tagavailoa in the season opener. If the Vikings are forced to air it out again in Week 3, it could be another big week for Cousins.

Pick: Over

George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers | 51.5 Receiving Yards

The Pittsburgh Steelers offense hasn’t looked all that good through the first two weeks of the season, but one bright spot has been second-year wide receiver George Pickens.

 

Pickens managed to do something that Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins failed to accomplish against the Cleveland Browns defense in Week 1… Go for 100 yards receiving and find the end zone.

Pickens saw a career-high 10 targets and produced a career-best 127 receiving yards on four receptions on Monday Night Football.

MORE: Week 3 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet

Things should get a bit easier against a Las Vegas Raiders secondary that just got torched by the Buffalo Bills.

With Diontae Johnson likely out for Week 3, expect another busy — and productive — day for Pickens against the Raiders.

Pick: Over

DJ Moore, WR, Chicago Bears | 42.5 Receiving Yards

It is unusual to see a player who just went for 104 receiving yards last week see his weekly yardage prop line total drop below 43 yards.

However, that is the prop life of a Chicago Bears pass catcher to start the 2023 NFL season.

The Bears passing offense has been most underwhelming this year, even with Moore showcasing his big play ability against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2.

While I acknowledge that the Bears’ passing hasn’t looked great, does anyone believe that the Bears won’t be trailing for most of this contest?

The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs have posted back-to-back subpar offensive outings for their standards. Most expect reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes to find plenty of success against this Bears defense.

MORE: Fantasy Week 3 WR Start/Sit

Do you know what that tells me? The Bears are expected to throw the ball quite a bit in this contest. Moore should see plenty of looks with a favorable game script to help him hit the over on his yardage mark for a second straight week.

Pick: Over

Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers | 61.5 Receiving Yards

Pop quiz.

Who led the Los Angeles Chargers in targets in Week 2?

If you answered Mike Williams, you are correct.

Williams saw 13 targets against the Tennessee Titans and generated eight receptions for 83 yards on those looks.

Unfortunately for fantasy managers, his fellow starting wide receiver — Keenan Allen, caught eight balls for 111 yards and two scores.

The fact that both players were so heavily involved in the passing attack with Austin Ekeler out of the lineup bodes very well for them heading into their matchup against the suspect Minnesota Vikings secondary.

If Ekeler is unable to go for a second consecutive week, I think Williams has himself another quality outing in what could turn into a shootout.

Pick: Over

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