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From $182M in 2019 to $26.5M in 2020: How Packers spent in free agency

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Why the Packers have had a quiet free-agency period (1:37)

Rob Demovsky examines the Packers' activity during free agency and offers a player to keep an eye on for Green Bay in the draft. (1:37)

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- March was a particularly expensive month for the Green Bay Packers last year.

Not so much this year.

A year after general manager Brian Gutekunst committed up to $182 million -- including $56 million in signing bonus money -- on the most expensive day in Packers free agency history by signing four players from outside the organization, he reduced spending by more than 85%.

The deals signed this year by the three outside free agents -- linebacker Christian Kirksey, tackle Rick Wagner and receiver Devin Funchess -- totaled only $26.5 million. And of that, only $7.5 million came in upfront signing bonus money.

The Packers also re-signed three of their own unrestricted free agents: tight end Marcedes Lewis (one year, $2.3 million), kick returner/running back Tyler Ervin (one year, $1,047,500) and safety Will Redmond (one year, $750,000).

Gutekunst told everyone that his approach to free agency would be different this year, and he held true to his word.

Two of the three new players -- Kirksey and Wagner -- were cuts from other teams. The other, Funchess, was on just a one-year deal with the Colts last season. Two of them are coming off major injuries: Funchess played only in last year's season opener, when he broke his collarbone and never returned, while Kirksey tore his pectoral muscle in Week 2 and missed the rest of the year.

Kirksey's contract, in part, was designed to protect the Packers in case of more injuries. It contains the largest weekly roster bonuses of any player on the team -- up to $1 million ($62,500 per game active) this season and $1.25 million ($78,125 per game active) next season. That's significantly more than the Packers' highest weekly roster bonus from last season, for tackle Bryan Bulaga ($700,000, $43,750 per game active), who also had a history of injuries. Bulaga earned all of his roster bonus money last season by playing in every regular-season game.

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, the Packers have $11,799,251 left under their 2020 salary cap.

Here's a breakdown of the three new contracts:

Christian Kirksey

  • Total: Two years, $13 million

  • Signing bonus: $4 million.

  • 2020: $1.75 million base salary; up to $1 million in weekly roster bonuses ($62,500 per game active); $250,000 workout bonus; salary-cap charge of $4.125 million; total cash of $7 million. There are up to $1.5 million in incentives based on production and playing time that are considered "not likely to be earned" for salary-cap purposes.

  • 2021: $3 million base salary; $1.5 million roster bonus due the third day of the league year; up to $1.25 million in weekly roster bonuses ($78,125 per game active); $250,000 workout bonus; salary-cap charge of $8 million; total cash of $6 million. There are up to $1.5 million in incentives based on production and playing time that are considered "not likely to be earned" for salary-cap purposes.

Rick Wagner

  • Total: Two years, $11 million

  • 2020: $3.5 million signing bonus; $2.25 million base salary; up to $750,000 in weekly roster bonuses ($46,875 per game active); $250,000 workout bonus; salary-cap charge of $4,812,500; total cash of $6.75 million.

  • 2021: $2.25 million base salary; $1 million roster bonus due the third day of the league year; up to $750,000 in weekly roster bonuses ($46,875 per game active); $250,000 workout bonus; salary-cap charge of $6 million; total cash of $4.25 million.

Devin Funchess

  • Total: One year, $2.5 million

  • 2020: $1 million signing bonus; $1.2 million base salary; up to $250,000 in weekly roster bonuses ($15,625 per game active); $50,000 workout bonus; salary-cap charge of $2,265,625. There are $3.75 million in incentives based on receptions, yards and touchdowns that are considered "not likely to be earned" for salary-cap purposes.