As a result of general manager Ted Thompson's long-standing draft-and-develop philosophy, the Green Bay Packers enter the off-season in a different fraternity from the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints.

The Packers' roommates are teams like the Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins.

Those are not exactly the teams you want to be grouped with during the regular season, but in the off-season being housemates with such a conspicuous bunch of also-rans is what you might consider a feather in your cap.

It is especially so if you have one of the best quarterbacks in the game signed to a long-term deal, a ton of offensive talent and three consecutive division titles in the bank because it means you didn't earn the salary cap room by being one of the worst teams in the NFL.

What the Packers have in common with those bottom dwellers is that they are among the leaders in salary cap space heading into the 2014 season.

Granted, this is before any of the franchise tags are applied, restricted free agent tenders are submitted and players are signed to extensions, but the Packers are roughly $28 million under the projected $126.3 million salary cap.

As of right now, they're somewhere in the top six or seven teams in the NFL in cap space based on preliminary numbers the NFL Players Association is working with. It is roughly $10 million more than the amount they had going into the 2013 season when they were facing the challenge of signing quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews to mega-dollar extensions.

The Seahawks, 49ers, Panthers and Saints are better teams than the Packers, but because all of them have very limited salary cap space, Thompson has a chance to get the jump on them this off-season. As has been the case every year the Packers have been loaded with cap room — five of the last eight years they've had $17 million or more — it's what you do with it that really matters.

This off-season, the to-do list isn't centralized around two star players but rather around 17 unrestricted free agents, eight of whom were preferred starters last season.

The three big names are cornerback Sam Shields, defensive tackle B.J. Raji and tight end Jermichael Finley, but the list also includes receiver James Jones, linebacker Mike Neal, center Evan Dietrich-Smith, end Johnny Jolly, fullback John Kuhn, defensive tackle Ryan Pickett and running back James Starks.

The Packers were not able to sign any of those free agents to extensions during the '13 season and in many cases they didn't even try because they plan to elevate recent draft picks into their spots. As a result, they will carry $9.8 million of leftover cap space from '13 into 2014.

According to a source with NFLPA salary information, the Packers have about $108.5 million in charges committed to their 2014 cap, so if the cap limit comes in at $126.3 million, the figure league officials projected late last year, their '13 leftovers will be added to roughly $18 million of space.

Some union officials believe the cap limit could go as high as $128 million when all the calculations are complete, which means the Packers could have as much as $30 million of cap space for the third time in Thompson's reign.