Veteran offensive lineman Lane Taylor agreed to rework his contract over the weekend and took a pay cut to $1.5 million for 2020 with incentives that could get his salary as high as $3 million. The former Oklahoma State star was previously owed $3.8 million in base salary under his previous contract.
This deal gives the Packers spectacular depth along the offensive line as the team prepares for the 2020 season. The team now has a good mixture of youth and experience and several players who can play multiple positions if the situation calls for it.
As of now, it appears the starters would be David Bakhtiari at left tackle, Elgton Jenkins at left guard, Corey Linsley at center, Billy Turner at right guard and Rick Wagner at right tackle.
Bakhtiari is presently one of the best pass blockers in the game and is an All Pro performer at the left tackle position. He has experience and provides leadership along the line and has been a fixture on the team since becoming a starter as a rookie in 2013. He is also in the final year of his contract.
Jenkins made the All-Rookie Team after taking over for the injured Taylor in Week 2 last season. He did not allow a sack all year and was also a steady run blocker as well. Jenkins has the potential to get better as he gains experienced and could be the Packers starting left guard for the foreseeable future based on the way he played as a rookie. He played tackle, center and guard in college and can be moved anywhere along the line in an emergency.
Linsley has been a good center for the Packers since his rookie year in 2014. The former Ohio State star is also in the final year of his contract. He is a steady and productive presence in the middle of the Green Bay offensive line.
Billy Turner had an inconsistent first year in Green Bay. He is the favorite to start at right guard. Turner has been a great addition to the locker room. He has also started at tackle at various times in his NFL career and his versatility is another reason the offensive line has so much depth.
Free agent addition Rick Wagner is first on the depth chart at right tackle entering camp. Wagner spent the last three seasons with the Lions but never lived up to the big free agent deal he signed with them prior to the 2017 season. Wagner missed four games last season due to a knee injury. If he can return to the form he showed earlier in his career with the Baltimore Ravens, the Packers will enjoy solid play at right tackle.
Before renegotiating his contract, Taylor was considered a candidate to be released by the Packers to create more cap room. Now, he adds an experienced player to the roster who has been a quality starter for three full seasons and a valuable backup for three more.
If Turner falters or injuries strike along the offensive line, Taylor’s presence means the Packers can plug in another starting-caliber player along the line and not miss a beat.
Lucas Patrick is the backup center and a backup guard. The Packers recently signed Patrick to a two-year extension. They love his toughness and his attitude and his willingness to contribute on special teams. The Duke alum has been a steady presence on the Green Bay offensive line since signing as an undrafted free agent. Patrick has started six games over three seasons with the Packers and filled in at center last season when Linsley was hurt in the regular season finale against the Lions.
The Packers drafted also drafted three offensive lineman who will compete for roster spots. Jon Runyan played tackle at Michigan but is considered better suited to play guard in the NFL according to most scouts. Indiana product Simon Stepaniak is another guard candidate while Jake Hanson can add depth at center after his strong career at Oregon.
The Packers also have returning depth candidates in Alex Light, Yosh Nijman and John Leglue at tackle and Cole Madison at guard along with several other free agent candidates.
Overall, the Packers have a potentially strong and deep offensive line heading into training camp in 2020. They have a nice mix of youth and experience and several players who can play multiple positions in a pinch. After Taylor’s decision to take a pay cut, the interior offensive line may be one of the deepest positions on the team and one of the best.
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