Before free agency starts, the Green Bay Packers are adjusting their salary cap and decided to release Pro-Bowl Linebacker Za’Darius Smith and Offensive Tackle Billy Turner, according to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero from NFL Network.
The #Packers have released Pro Bowl pass-rusher Za'Darius Smith, source said, adding another top defender to free agency. His cap number of $27.6M in 2022 was never going to work. Now, free — and healthy.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2022
The #Packers are also releasing OT Billy Turner, per source.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 14, 2022
After the team re-signed Aaron Rodgers and franchise tagged Davante Adams, they were $40 million above the salary cap that was set for the upcoming season. The Packers save some money on their salaries but will have a dead cap hit of $15 million for the players signing bonuses.
Both players were on the last year of their four-year contracts with Green Bay. Turner was signed by the Packers after his time with the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos.
Smith joined the team after four years with the Baltimore Ravens. This last season, he played in the first game of the regular season and an injury sidelined him until the playoffs.
In his first two seasons, he recorded 26 sacks, 107 tackles, and 60 QB hits. Smith will be one of the top defensive players in the free agency period.