<
>

Packers and Steelers rank last in 2016 guaranteed money

In an NFL era of rising salary caps and $100 million free agents, some teams won't be shaken in their frugal championship pursuits.

This offseason, no teams have shopped in the economy lane quite like the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers, who rank 31st and 32nd respectively in guaranteed money given to players signed in 2016, according to research from ESPN's Stats & Information.

While the Philadelphia Eagles have dolled out $280,254,834 after extending several key players, the Packers ($14,756,108) and Steelers ($14,734,505) barely comprise a tenth of that total combined.

Six NFL teams are in the $100 million club: Eagles, New York Giants ($140,873,332), Washington Redskins ($114,785,698), Baltimore Ravens ($114,366,332), Jacksonville Jaguars ($103,858,261) and Oakland Raiders ($100,488,473).

The Broncos, now in the middle of the pack at $56,241,384, could join the $100 million club after extending Von Miller and Emmanuel Sanders.

But the next-closest team to Pittsburgh and Green Bay are the Cleveland Browns at $25,086,108, reminding the former Super Bowl opponents are in a class by themselves in this particular year.

Not all rookie deals have been processed in ESPN's Roster Management System, so the numbers could fluctuate a bit in the next few weeks. But these teams are so behind that it wouldn't matter, save for a splashy contract extension this summer. That should happen soon enough with Pittsburgh guard David DeCastro.

These numbers illustrate a draft-and-develop strategy for both teams. The Packers rarely sign free agents. The Steelers will cautiously dip their feet in the open market. But even their big signing, San Diego's Ladarius Green, got $4.75 million of a $20 million deal in the form of a signing bonus, or a true guarantee.

These teams love to pay draft picks above all else, which, in this case, leaves the bottom line relatively low.