BBAO: Packers have cap space to spare

We're Black and Blue All Over:

Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette made important points in analyzing the new contract of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers will count $12 million against the 2013 salary cap, an increase of only $2.25 million more than what he was due to count under his previous deal. That leaves the Packers with $13.5 million in salary-cap space remaining in 2013.

So what will the Packers do with that money?

Silverstein estimates it will cost the Packers between $5 million and $6 million to sign their draft class, leaving about $7 million in surplus. NFL rules allow teams to push any leftover cap space into next season, which would give them a $7 million head start on 2014. It could also be used to sign other players to extensions. Cornerback Sam Shields and/or defensive tackle B.J. Raji could be squeezed in this year as well if the Packers want to.

This season, Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews, who signed a five-year extension earlier this month, will count $18.71 million against the Packers' salary cap.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com doesn't mind that Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery is willing to add players who have been considered character risks in the past.

  • Bears free-agent defensive lineman Israel Idonije visited the Tennessee Titans on Monday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter via Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.

  • Bears fullback/tight end Evan Rodriguez was cleared of wrongdoing for his role in an incident in Miami last month, notes Dickerson.

  • The Detroit Lions had pre-draft interaction with nearly every player they drafted this year, according to Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.

  • It's fair to expect Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah to be a force off the edge as a rookie, according to ESPN's Mel Kiper via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

  • The Star Tribune presents some clues about the Minnesota Vikings' new stadium design culled from a recent environmental impact statement.

  • Could Chris Kluwe's activism play a role in getting released by the Minnesota Vikings? Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press looks into it.

  • The Vikings released punter T.J. Conley on Monday, two days after using a fifth-round draft pick on UCLA punter Jeff Locke, notes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.