GREEN BAY, Wis. -- June 1 used to be an important day on the NFL calendar. It's when teams could gain extra salary-cap relief if they cut players with multiple years remaining on their contracts.
But it should be a quiet day around the Green Bay Packers this year.
There isn't a veteran player in danger of losing his job over salary-cap space -- not even Julius Peppers, who has the third-highest salary-cap figure on the team this season at $12 million.
In reality, if the Packers wanted to cut someone like Peppers and still spread out the cap hit over multiple seasons, they could have done it already. Several years ago, the league began allowing teams to cut up to two players at any time in the offseason but still designate them as a post-June 1 cut for cap purposes.
But the Packers announced their intentions for Peppers early in the offseason, when both coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson indicated they intended to bring him back for another season even though he turned 35 on Jan. 18.
Peppers did not practice last Thursday at the first OTA open to the media because he was ill, but he is expected to be on the field this week.
Players cut before June 1 and without the post-June 1 designation have the remainder of their prorated signing bonus accelerated to this year's salary cap. In Peppers' case, the Packers would have saved $7 million off this year's salary-cap by cutting Peppers before June 1 and $9.5 million if they cut him after (or designated him as such).
The Packers already did the bulk of their salary-cap saving, cutting linebackers A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones back in February. Those moves saved them $7.25 million in cap space this season. According to the latest NFL Players Association figures, the Packers are still $16,048,198 under the cap this year, although they still have to sign first-round pick Damarious Randall.
Four years ago, the Packers undertook a post-June 1 veteran purge that gained them more than $17 million in salary-cap space when they released five veteran players -- linebackers Nick Barnett, Brandon Chillar and Brady Poppinga plus defensive lineman Justin Harrell and tackle Mark Tauscher. Not all of them had multiple years remaining on their contracts but with the ones that did, it allowed the Packers to spread the cap hit over two seasons.