GREEN BAY, Wis. – What happens when you run out of cap space? You lose perhaps the best punter in franchise history.
Corey Bojorquez, an unrestricted free agent, will not be brought back. The Packers simply don’t have the cap space for a veteran punter. Acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams after training camp, he played under the fourth-year minimum salary of $ 920,000. Heading into Year 5, Bojorquez will cost $ 1.035 million. A rookie, by comparison, will cost $ 705,000.
Green Bay has three kickers on the roster but no other punter.
Bojorquez ranked 11th in the NFL with a 46.5-yard average – the best mark in Packers history – and 17th with a 40.0-yard net average. His 82-yard punt di lui at Chicago was the longest in the league. He had 18 punts inside the 20 with four touchbacks. Those were all improvements over the man he replaced, 2018 fifth-round pick JK Scott.
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For a long stretch of the season, Bojorquez was one of the best punters in NFL and on pace to be the best punter in franchise history. Starting with Week 6 at Chicago through Week 11 at Minnesota, Bojorquez had six consecutive games with net averages of at least 45.7 yards. At that point, he ranked second in the NFL with a net average of 43.8 yards. In Week 12 against the Rams, he had a net average of only 39.8 yards because he had three punts inside the 20. It was a punting clinic.
“I think I’m doing all right,” he said in October. “I think there’s a lot of room for improvement for me and I’m always going to think that. It helps me stay away from complacency. So, I think I started off pretty well but I think there’s definitely a lot more that I can do to help this team. “
It all went off the rails in Week 14 against Chicago, with a four-game stretch with nets of 10.0, 42.0, 41.8 and 21.5 yards. It wasn’t all his fault di lui – Green Bay’s special teams were awful for most of the season – but too many kicks either went straight down the middle of the field or were shanked out of bounds. He also had issues as the holder on kicks, though he seemed to find his groove di lui last in the season.
Bojorquez had the longest punt in the NFL each of the past two seasons. He’s got a huge leg and the full array of kicks. The secret to a good punter, though, is limiting returns.
“I mean I’ve always kind of been the big ball punter, which is great, but if you’re hitting it 65 yards and they’re returning it 20, it’s kind of pointless,” he said. “So, I think just maturing as a punter, realizing if I can hit a 60-yard punt to the sideline, great, but I would almost rather have a 50-yarder to the sideline. I want to piss off that returner and just not let him do anything today, and just kind of ruin his day is kind of my plan. “
Green Bay Packers: Key 2022 Transactions
Extended: QB Aaron Rodgers
The offseason drama is over. Four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers signed a contract extension with the Packers that significantly lessens his 2022 cap charge while tying him to Green Bay through at least the 2024 season.
Re-Signed: LB De’Vondre Campbell
All-Pro linebacker De’Vondre Campbell will return on a five-year, $ 50 million contract, Packer Central was the first to report. He turned a one-year, $ 2 million contract into a Year 1 payout of $ 16.25 million.
Tendered: WR Allen Lazard
The restricted free agent, and coach Matt LaFleur’s beloved “goon,” was given the second-rounder of almost $ 4 million. He’ll be able to shop himself around the league until April 22.
Extended: OLB Preston Smith
The Packers extended outside linebacker Preston Smith after he recorded nine sacks in 2021. The upcoming season would have been his final one under contract. The extension resulted in more than $ 8 million of cap savings and includes sack-based incentives.
Released: OLB Za’Darius Smith
Releasing two-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith produced more than $ 15 million in cap savings. He missed most of last season with a back injury.
Released: RT Billy Turner
The Packers released offensive lineman Billy Turner, who started 43 games at three positions in his three seasons with the team. Elgton Jenkins or Yosh Nijman could wind up in the lineup.
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