Between Russ Ball , Ted Thompson, and Brian Gutekunst, the Packers’ key personnel decision-makers have made a name for themselves as some of the best in football." />Skip to main contentclockmenumore-arrownoyesHorizontal - WhiteAcme Packing Companya Green Bay Packers communityLog In or Sign UpLog InSign UpFanpostsFanshotsSectionsPackersOddsAboutMasthead Community GuidelinesStubHubMoreAll 322 blogs on Horizontal - WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections The APC PodcastPackers Film RoomFantasy Football AdviceCDTShareTweetShareSharePackers’ front office ranked among best in NFL in managing contracts & salary capPhoto by Stacy Revere/Getty ImagesJoel Corry is a former NFL agent. With that background, he is perfectly positioned to serve as a football business analyst, particularly in the areas of contract terms and negotiations, as well as salary cap management. That is precisely his role at CBS Sports, and this week he listed out the five NFL teams that he feels manage the league’s salary cap and player contracts in general the best.It should come as little surprise that the Green Bay Packers are one of the teams on Corry’s list.Under Ted Thompson’s leadership, the Packers were rarely in salary cap trouble. In part, this was due to Thompson’s reticence to dip into free agency; as Corry notes, “Thompson almost strictly preferred a draft-and-develop approach.” Of course, Brian Gutekunst’s two offseasons with the team have seen him take a different approach, signing five free agents to deals worth $7 million or more annually in that time.Starting with Andrew Brandt last decade and continuing with Russ Ball as the team’s primary contract negotiator, the Packers have a defined strategy when it comes to contract structures, an approach that Corry refers to as “vanilla” for its simplicity. “The only guaranteed money in Packers contracts is a signing bonus,” Corry says. “Bigger deals contain a third or fifth day of the league year roster bonus in the second and third years. The roster bonuses are supposed to be substitutes for additional contract guarantees.” Beyond that, the team protects itself against injuries by implementing active roster bonuses for each game.It’s easy to look back at the Packers’ big-money deals and see these concepts in practice. A quick spin through the contracts at shows that whether it’s a homegrown player like Davante Adams or a new big-name free agent signing like Za’Darius Smith, this is how the Packers operate. There are no base salary guarantees; only a signing bonus and those offseason roster bonuses which operate as pseudo-guarantees.Corry contrasts the Packers’ approach with that of the Pittsburgh Steelers, however. While Pittsburgh uses similar structures when signing deals, they have landed themselves in salary cap trouble, while the Packers have avoided major cap issues. Both a reason and a functional result of not being in cap trouble is the Packers not pushing off big cap hits into future seasons Green Bay Packers Customized Jerseys , something the Steelers have done extensively. Corry mentions Antonio Brown’s contract, which seemingly got reworked every year to move money from base salary into a signing bonus and thus spread it out over the remaining length of the deal. In the end, when he was traded to Oakland, Brown ended up costing the Steelers over $21 million in the 2019 cap — over $6 million more than his cap hiton a reworked contract in Oakland this year.It’s a chicken-and-egg problem; teams in cap trouble may shift salary to a bonus as a strategy to stay under the cap in the current year, but that just causes more issues down the road and forces the team into a vicious cycle. The Packers instead tend to pay as they go, being careful not to overextend themselves. Occasionally, the team does miss on a big-value signing, as they did with Nick Perry. However, even in that case the Packers chose to absorb the full brunt of Perry’s dead money in 2019 rather than pushing any of it off to 2020 with some creative accounting.Given the team-friendly nature of the contracts and the team’s careful accounting to avoid cap trouble, it’s easy to see why Russ Ball is revered as one of the best football financiers in the game today. Over two weeks, Acme Packing Company will break down the Green Bay Packers’ 2018 roster position-by-position, providing our grades for each spot and looking ahead to free agency. Today, we continue with the running backs.Even in victory, the Green Bay Packers’ offense was far from a well-oiled machine in 2018. And as Aaron Rodgers struggled through injury and inconsistency, as noted in yesterday’s season grades at the quarterback position, the Packers seemed resistant to adjustments.One of those major hurdles was how to best employ Green Bay’s young stable of running backs, notably Aaron Jones. While the Packers’ ratio of passing to running plays was almost 3:2 in 2017, that rate climbed to nearly 2:1 in 2018. And while some of that difference can be attributed to playing from behind in many games, the reality is Green Bay just did not fully commit to the rushing game for most of the season.Though some may argue that a balanced offense in today’s NFL is no longer necessary, the Packers’ running game was one of the team’s strongest dynamics during the 2018 campaign. Here is a look back at some of the individuals that continued to progress.StartersAaron Jones 12 games active Green Bay Packers T-Shirts , 8 starts133 attempts-728 yards (5.5 average), 8 touchdowns, 26 receptions-206 yards (7.9 average), 1 touchdownFor a second consecutive season, Jones averaged 5.5 yards per carry, even with 52 additional rushing attempts. Still, that did not seem to be enough for the Mike McCarthy-led offense and the use of Jones was a debated topic by fans and media throughout the first three-quarters of the season.The second-year back from UTEP only eclipsed the 100-yard mark one time, a 145-yard outburst against Miami in Week 9, but he rushed for over 70 yards on four other occasions. While doubling his rushing scores total from his rookie season, Jones became much more of a threat in the passing game. With just nine catches for 22 yards in his first season, Jones significantly improved on those numbers in 2018 and improved his pass blocking as well.After McCarthy was fired, Jones was only able to play one full game before suffering a knee injury against Chicago in Week 14 that ended his season. His 17 carries that lone week versus Atlanta tied for a season high. With the hiring of Matt LaFleur, who has been instrumental in the breakout of backs like Todd Gurley and Derrick Henry in the past, there is plenty of optimism that the Packers will provide Jones with more touches and receive a big boost as soon as next season.Jamaal Williams16 games active; 8 starts121 attempts-464 yards (3.8 average), 3 touchdowns, 27 receptions-210 yards (7.8 average)The emergence of Jones as a dynamic back in 2018 resulted in fewer carries for Williams. But as he did when Jones missed time in 2017, Williams stepped up when called upon and appeared in every game.Williams’ highlight of the season was his 95-yard rushing and 61-yard receiving game against the New York Jets in Week 15, becoming an instrumental piece in Green Bay’s overtime victory. Without Aaron Ripkowski, Williams saw many snaps as the third-down back and remained the Packers’ most reliable pass blocker.As a rookie, Williams seemed to grow as the season went along and he did that once again during his sophomore campaign in terms of his patience and decisiveness in his cuts. He will never be the home run threat that Jones is , but Williams can always be counted on to grind out the tough yards while aiding the passing game as a blocker and receiver.