Good thing for the Green Bay Packers, they don't need both J.C. Tretter and Corey Linsley to be stars in the NFL. It would be nice if they did, but it's also unlikely.
The Packers will be happy if just one of the two steps up and becomes a reliable starter and exchange partner to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, arguably the most valuable player in the NFL.
Unfortunately, there's also a possibility that both players flop.
Thankfully, there was no indication during the recently completed offseason program that either Tretter or Linsley aren't up to the task. But they also have yet to don pads in an NFL environment and won't until the start of training camp in late July.
The reality of the situation is, this is a pair of players that have yet to play a single snap in a professional football game, preseason included.
Potentially, neither player will be up to snuff. Maybe Tretter suffers from the lingering effects of a broken ankle last season, and perhaps Linsley is just overmatched and overwhelmed in his rookie season.
This isn't the Packers testing out a new punter; this is a player tasked with protecting the most-expensive investment in the entire league and opening up holes for Eddie Lacy.
After releasing injured running back Johnathan Franklin two weeks ago, there's one spot open on the 90-man offseason roster.
Maybe it's time for the Packers to bring in a veteran center, just in case.
The risk involved in signing a player like a Kyle Cook or a Samson Satele or a Fernando Velasco is minimal. All three aforementioned players are 30 years old or younger and all have at some point started all 16 games in an NFL season.
Seeing as they're all free agents as of July 1, none is likely to command a contract above the NFL minimum salary nor do they have the leverage to ask for any guaranteed money.
In addition to other available free agents such as David Baas, Brad Meester and Ryan Cook, each player brings some baggage be it age or injuries or merely mediocre play.
But at least each of these veterans has been there, done that. They've been in the trenches before. They've been around the block and other clichés. That's worth something, especially considering the uncertainty at center in Green Bay.
If the Packers happen to sign say, Kyle Cook, and he doesn't pan out, so be it. Or if Tretter or Linsley are the real deal, great.
There's a reason teams get a 90-man roster in the offseason. The Packers have two months until the start of the regular season, plenty of time to figure out Plan B, even Plan C.
The Packers should have learned a year ago that going into a season with an unproven safety backfired. M.D. Jennings didn't pan out and the defense suffered as a result.
Signing a veteran center isn't the long-term solution. Undoubtedly, it's a stop-gap, a band aid.
But it might be a better scenario than Rodgers getting banged around because Tretter and Linsley aren't ready for prime time.
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].
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