Despite the Green Bay Packers recently inking two big-time contract extensions for Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews, they have only suffered a net loss of . . . wait for it . . . $4.1 million in cap space. They held roughly $17.5 million in cap room prior to the contracts, and yet they still have over $13 million left to work with. And we have one major person to thank for that: Russ Ball.
His official title is Vice President of Football Administration/Player Finance, but that long moniker doesn’t even begin to honor his work (or its worth) for the Packers. According to the team’s official website, “He is responsible for negotiating player contracts and managing the salary cap, in addition to the daily supervision of football-administration departments including athletic training, equipment, video, corporate travel, player development, family programs and public relations.”
What he has accomplished, though, is allowing Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy to do their work without having to worry too much about the financial complications.
He is the wizard behind the curtain, despite being handed praise from the local media. In the early half of 2011, Brian Carriveau of CheeseheadTV examined how Ball’s work helped propel the Packers to their first Super Bowl in 14 years. Bob McGinn added to this praise a few months later with an article about Ball being “a key cog in Packers machine.”