With the salary cap crunch of 2021 upon us, expect numerous veteran players to take haircuts to their contract to stick with their current clubs.
Two such moves came down Tuesday morning.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Packers wide receiver Devin Funchess took a roughly $750,000 pay cut to stay in Green Bay, per a source informed of the situation. Funchess had opted out of the 2020 season after signing a one-year contract with the Packers.
Rapoport added that Bills center Mitch Morse cut his salary by nearly $2 million to stay in Buffalo, per a source. Morse can earn back some of the lost salary through incentives.
Funchess signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract in Green Bay, which could have pushed to $3.75M with performance incentives. After the wideout opted out of the COVID-19 season, his contract tolled to 2021. Taking a pay cut keeps him on the club as we head toward the new league year.
The wideout was expected to help answer the question: "Who is going to help opposite Davante Adams?" When he opted out, that option was wiped away. The Packers famously didn't draft a receiver, rolling with Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown alongside Adams during last season's 13-3 campaign.
A former second-round pick by Carolina in 2015, Funchess never lived up to the lofty expectations as a big-bodied wideout, earning just 2,233 total yards and 21 TDs in four seasons with the Panthers. Injuries cut his 2019 campaign in Indy to only one game. With the opt-out last year, Funchess hasn't seen the field since Sept. 18, 2019. The pay cut keeps him in Green Bay, but he'll still have to earn a role to make the final roster.
On the other hand, Morse started 30 games the past two seasons in Buffalo, plus all four postseason tilts. Under contract for the next two seasons, with a cap hit of $10.34 million in 2021, the 28-year-old was a cut candidate for the Bills, who are looking to free up cap space.
Keeping Morse on the roster after the pay cut answers one question of how the Bills will rework their offensive line heading into the offseason.