Cory's Corner: Corey Linsley must be signed long-term

I was glancing at the Packers’ 2018 free agents and wondered who should be the first person signed from that group.

The list includes: Morgan Burnett, Davon House, Jahri Evans, Lane Taylor, Ricky Jean Francois, Jayrone Elliott, Don Barclay, Davante Adams, Richard Rodgers, Jordan Tripp, Corey Linsley, Demetri Goodson and Jeff Janis.

The person that should be locked up long term first is Linsley. He is an excellent run blocker and has been in the upper-half of the NFL for centers. Most importantly, Rodgers endorsed Linsley to be a Pro Bowler as a rookie. “He’s been a rock in there,” Rodgers said in 2014 on his “Tuesdays with Aaron” radio show. “He’s had two great guys to play next to, but I think they’d say the same thing; that he’s been playing at a really high level.”

Linsley came into a tough spot as a rookie. With perceived starter JC Tretter out with a knee injury, Linsley was asked to nail down the starting center job for a team that was No. 3 in the NFL in yards and No. 8 in points the previous year. Linsley came in and those numbers were No. 6 in yards and No. 1 in points.

Most importantly, Linsley will only be 26 by the time training camp starts in July. He did have a high ankle sprain in 2015 and a nagging hamstring injury that caused him to miss seven games last year, but the Packers are being cautious with him. I would be very surprised if he didn’t revert back to his rookie form and earn his first Pro Bowl appearance this season.

The reason the Packers should do this isn’t just because he’s a good center. They should keep him in Green Bay for the sake of stability. Let Rodgers be as comfortable as possible — especially with the twilight of his career seemingly on the doorstep.

According to Spotrac.com, his market value is $6.9 million a season, which would make him the eighth-highest paid center in the league. Granted, a five-year deal for $34.5 million is a lot of scratch for someone you barely notice during the course of a game.

But that’s precisely the point. Linsley has made a habit of not getting noticed for a while and it’s time the Packers recognized that.

Or you could think of it this way. Would Brett Favre be as successful without his trusty Frank Winters? Good ‘ole “Bag Of Doughnuts” was an important part of Favre’s career, especially from ages 30-33. Linsley could be the same thing for Rodgers.

The Packers just need to make it happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (25)

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Nick Perry's picture

May 23, 2017 at 06:27 am

I'd expect Lindsey to be locked up before the 2017 season is over. I think with the losses of Sitton and Lang the last 2 years, the impending free agency of Taylor and Evans next year, Thompson can't afford to lose Lindsey and will get it done. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if he signed Lane Taylor right after signing Lindsey either. Keep the O-Line as stable as possible moving forward for QB-1.

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dobber's picture

May 23, 2017 at 07:16 am

Taylor is an average G. My fear is that his play was elevated by the guys playing around him in 2016 and that we'll see him start to regress with the replacement of Lang. If Amichia, Murphy, Patrick or others have any chops, I think Taylor is a goner.

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hodge555's picture

May 23, 2017 at 06:32 am

As the season starts then I agree Linsley is the #1 priority, and I would suggest Davante Adams is #2, but who knows what will happen during the season that might change these.

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Lphill's picture

May 23, 2017 at 06:34 am

I agree Lindsey should be retained as far as the others on the list Adams would be next but with another good season he might drive his price up for Ted and he can wind up like Greg Jennings take the money from another team and end your career .

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stockholder's picture

May 23, 2017 at 06:55 am

SIGN LINDSEY? Yes! Adams? Hell NO. Just stop the comparisons. Every year we hear of poor signings. Adams can be replaced! The value will be a good comp pick. And they can be traded now. BELIEVE IN THE SCOUTS> NOT THE PRESS CLIPPINGS.

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dobber's picture

May 23, 2017 at 07:13 am

Linsley and Adams are at the top of the list. There's no one currently on the roster that is going to replace either of those guys.

If you look at the pile of FAs coming due next off-season, there's a bunch of guys who are contributors and will play a significant number of meaningful snaps in 2017, but many of them are replacement level players. Many will be resigned, but others have "aged out" of GB and there are players on the roster that are potential successors. Welcome to modern roster management...

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gr7070's picture

May 23, 2017 at 07:26 am

Meh.

Not one of those guys is important to the long term success of this team. I'm a Ted supporter, but he's had a few misses in the draft and this coming free agency is exhibit A.

Adams and Linsley being at the top of a poor list of free agents doesn't make any of them must sign players.

I'm not that enamored with a run blocking center in a pass-happy league with a HOF QB. He a good player, but far, far from can't-lose player.

Unless someone with talent that has had some success previously goes off this year and validates past expectations (coughPerrycough) I'm ok with retaining none of them. Adams and Linsley are about the only ones on that list who qualify as Perry-potentials.

Morgan Burnett is far and away the best player on that list, but he's getting old and expensive and we can likely replace him inexpensively in-house.

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dobber's picture

May 23, 2017 at 07:46 am

I agree with several of your points. It's not a list that includes the likes of a Jordy Nelson, Mike Daniels or David Bakhtiari (isn't TT looking like he got a bargain on THAT contract?...and I thought he would be someone allowed to let walk after 2016). Burnett is a goner in my opinion. They're well-stocked to absorb that blow.

It all comes down to price point. Do their values meet what the team is willing to pay? To sign a Linsley or an Adams in advance of their entering FA means you need to buy out their ability to test the market. There's risk, of course, in letting them get to the open market, but there's risk in signing them in August, too (injury, overpaying, etc.). It all comes down to what they perceive the ceiling and trajectory is on those guys. Bakhtiari is a great example of getting a guy who ascended into being a high-end player on a very affordable deal by signing early. Are either Adams or Linsley a potential Bakhtiari?

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Matt Gonzales's picture

May 23, 2017 at 09:10 am

Linsley is a bit challenging because of the injury history - makes it tough to project future availability. I agree we need some stability, but how stable is he if he isn't available?

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Tundraboy's picture

May 23, 2017 at 08:34 am

Yup.

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Since '61's picture

May 23, 2017 at 09:40 am

Linsley should be the priority for the Packers FA re-signings this year. They should try to extend him during the season. I like the idea of keeping the same Center for Rodgers for the remainder of his career. Continuity along the OL and between the Center and QB makes good football sense. Linsley has been a solid player and should remain solid at least through his next contract. The sooner TT can lock him up the better. Thanks, Since '61

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chugwater's picture

May 23, 2017 at 09:59 am

While OL continuity and stable QB/C sounds nice, I'm not convinced it's a must-have situation.

Didn't the Tretter-Lindsley rotation these past couple years prove it's not imperative to have the same OL week in and week out?

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snowdog's picture

May 23, 2017 at 11:01 am

Continuity . Enough said.

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snowdog's picture

May 23, 2017 at 11:05 am

Lindsly please please snap the ball higher in the shotgun,so Rodgers will not take his eyes off the defense post-snap .

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chugwater's picture

May 23, 2017 at 09:53 am

Adams is the priority by far. Caught the second most TDs in the league last year.

This team must have capable WRs to maximize AR's abilities. Jordy is getting old. Cobb can't do it alone. Allison, Davis, Dupre, and Yancey are raw projects. The effectiveness of this WR group drops dramatically in the next 2-3 years without signing Adams.

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vin0770's picture

May 23, 2017 at 11:08 am

I think Linsley is a must and Adams a want. I got a feeling TT won't be able to afford Adams on the open market. Does TT want Adams, yes! But just like the other free agents that left this year, TT wants people like Adams and Lang this year, but not at a point where he has to bid for them.

You can figure out TT a bit not by something he says but by what he does and you have to look between the lines a little bit. What was said about Micah Hyde leaving… The Packers never gave him an offer number? The answer is Ted didn't see any value for him being on the roster. Remember Charles Woodson leaving… No number offered, again TT just didn't see him is a need on the roster… And that was a mistake. He wanted Lang but when the number got too big deal talks over.

So watch for this year's free agents, if there's a number offered and negotiation begins TT wants them. If people just leave and no number was offered Ted didn't want that person on the roster.

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Finwiz's picture

May 23, 2017 at 11:57 am

Wow Vin....you figured that out all on your own?
Impressive.
Now tell me something I don't already know.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

May 23, 2017 at 01:44 pm

Or... The Packers didn't want to insult players whose open market value clearly exceeded what GB would pay for that roster slot. I was higher than some here on Hyde but he was basically our #3 safety with some extra value due to versatility. You can't pay that role #1 money.

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MarkinMadison's picture

May 23, 2017 at 03:45 pm

Drafting Jones suggests that Burnett is expendable.

Allowing Tretter to walk suggests that Linsley is not expendable. Other than Amichia I don't know if anyone else currently on the roster could even play the position well.

I have to think that Lane Taylor will also stay.

Adams is hard. I don't see an obvious replacement on the roster - but it is early. I think the indications are that he will test FA. I don't see how the Packers afford him unless Cobb and/or Nelson take a pay cut. Something will have to give.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

May 23, 2017 at 05:13 pm

Cobb is only under contract through 2018, and Nelson through 2019. Unless a rookie receiver or Allison makes a big jump I have a hard time seeing the Packers let their thee top receivers leave over three years.

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chugwater's picture

May 23, 2017 at 09:04 pm

Exactly. Are we really going to have Allison, Davis, Dupre, and Yancy be the future of the receiving corps in the next two years?

Here's something to ponder: It's a lot easier to plug a rookie into the O line and be productive. WRs take a few years to learn the system and develop chemistry with the QB.

Which would you rather have?

(A) Adams and a second round center in next year's draft or

(B) Lindsley and a second round receiver in same

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Finwiz's picture

May 23, 2017 at 04:01 pm

Word is that Josh Jones is ALL over the field in practice today - deflecting passes and big hits. Janis beats Gunter on a deep throw, picking up right where he left off in the playoff's. Bye-bye Gunter.

Clay Matthews a no show, as well as Kevin King.

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ironman3169's picture

May 23, 2017 at 07:10 pm

They let Dietrich-Smith go. They'll let Lindsley go. Yes is not shelling out bucks for a center.

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ironman3169's picture

May 23, 2017 at 07:11 pm

*Ted

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PatrickGB's picture

May 23, 2017 at 11:18 pm

Yes sign Lindsay. Yes sign Adams. But of the two its Lindsay being most likely to get signed before he reaches the end of his contract. We did just that with Bak, and its worth the hit on this years cap. NEXT year we have a ton of quality players reaching FA. Some will be kept and many will not. Next years cap plays a big role on who gets signed. Next year may be a good time to start thinking about Jordys replacement and even..gulp...Aarons improved contract.

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