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Packers Question of the day - Prioritizing the Offensive line: Who Stays and who Goes?

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Packers Question of the day - Prioritizing the Offensive line: Who Stays and who Goes?

David Bakhtiari, J.C. Tretter, Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, Josh Walker, Don Barclay, Matt Rotheram.

These are the names of the offensive linemen for the Packers whose contracts expire next off-season. Lang, Sitton and Bakhtiari being the obvious starters. Long story short, the front office will have a decision to make regarding the big guys up front. 

Ruling in the drafting of Jason Spriggs and Kyle Murphy, there's a chance the Packers have already begun deciphering who stays and who goes. Although a lot of the reasoning for such decisions may revolve around their performances in 2016, who do you think returns to the offensive line in 2017?

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (23) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

dobber's picture

This is likely the key question for 2016-2017.

I've been saying for a long time that I wouldn't be surprised to see all three of Sitton, Lang and Bakhtiari walk. Spriggs certainly is in line to replace Bakhtiari and they talk about Murphy potentially projecting inside to OG. I think, with Peppers contract coming up, that they keep one of the three staters. I'll go with Lang if only because he's a hair younger than Sitton, has continued to improve, and doesn't have back issues. I think they try like heck to re-sign Tretter. They might even get that done before the season starts.

Barclay needs to show that last year was a function of his ACL to be worth bringing back. Rotheram and Walker both need to show improvement in camp, otherwise they're just warm bodies.

staffordsneckfat's picture

Based on the contract they gave Bulaga, I think the front office values continuity on the OL above almost any other position group. Thompson and McCarthy realize the Rodgers window is closing and I would be very surprised if they let all three walk. As you alluded to, much of this depends on what those draft picks are able to do.

dobber's picture

True...we've seen several seasons where ARod was running for his life behind mediocre-at-best OLs (although part of that was engineered by his hanging onto the ball too long). We also know how TT doesn't seem to like to pay players who are passing their prime, and that he places a high value draft picks. With the upcoming tradeability of compensatory picks, I think it will have a significant impact on how rosters are managed from now on. Bakhtiari, Sitton and Lang are all guys who should return good value in compensatory picks.

Unless Spriggs is a train wreck, I have a hard time believing that they aren't going to play hardball with Bakhtiari (if they engage in contract talks at all). They already paid Sitton and Lang when they were at the end of their first deals (much like when Bulaga got paid). We'll see if TT is willing to pony up for those guys one more time. I can see a scenario where all three guys are allowed to walk, though.

Bearmeat's picture

You're right dobber. Unless Bakh is all pro or Spriggs is a train wreck, he's probably gone. IMO neither are likely. Bakh is probably gone.

I'd also bet that Sitton is gone. Over 30 with a questionable back at OG? No thanks. Thanks for the wonderful years Josh. Good luck to you. Welcome to you Mr. Taylor or Mr. Tretter.

IF one is resigned, I'd bet it's Lang. But even that is a question mark. TT may just go really young.

dobber's picture

I think that's really the story of this camp (beyond "which WR will stick"): can the Packers unearth 2-3 playable OL for 2017?...or how many of these guys will the Packers be "forced" to re-sign due to lack of alternatives?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Gosh, I hate the notion of unearthing "2-3 playable OL for 2017." Playable! But I get it. Sigh, we do live in a cap world. Despite my loathing for the notion of finding playable guys, it is why I have suggested keeping 10 OL on the roster this year.

lucky953's picture

I believe they'll sign Bahktiari and Lang. Sitton walks. When you see all the 1st rnd LTs that are mediocre, you realize Spriggs might not be the player that you already have. Lang is a year younger and just as tough as Sitton. With Sittons back history and age, I think he's the most expendable. I think Tretter could be an effective long term replacement. It's a young mans game.

staffordsneckfat's picture

Even with the cap savings of cutting Bulaga it will take some fancy math to sign the other three. If you take Peppers off the books for the upcoming year, signing the three becomes a possibility but it is going to take a few very team friendly deals to pull this off. Sitton and Lang are both coming off deals that paid them like top 15 guards (which is what they are) but this is Bakhtiari's chance to really cash in, so I don't expect him to be as willing to take a hometown discount. I think they salvage the guards and lose one of the tackles.

lucky953's picture

Consider that Bahktiari is 25, while Sitton is 30, Lang 29. Bahktiari will likely be 29 at the end of his next contract. I think it would be a mistake to let him go. He's still going to get better (strength and experience). Sitton's best years have come and gone, imo. I think they'll keep Tretter because of his youth and versatility.

Bearmeat's picture

This is what I think too DPF

Hematite's picture

I regard this as the most likely scenario.

Hematite's picture

I regard this as the most likely scenario.

al bundy's picture

Ted will more than likely let at least two go because he has tight purse strings. Besides there is another draft where he could pick up a top talent if need be. Hopefully the new guys this year get some playing ex and can show their worth to make the decision easier. Yes your going to lose some good guys but thats football

scullyitsme's picture

I wouldn't over think it. We have spriggs to replace Davvid B. Sitton and lang will probably be resigned to 3 year deals at a little more than there making now. Unless someone throws left tackle money at them. The only wild card is Tretter. If they resign him first it probably means one of the guards is gone also, probably sitton.

EdsLaces's picture

Either way we go we are going to have a heck of an OL.

Mojo's picture

You have to think they're expecting Spriggs to eventually be a starter. I doubt if they would move him inside and with Bulaga under contract by default that means Bakh is the odd man out.

I think the Pack will make an offer to Bakh but not be willing go much over it. Probably closer to guard money. Bakh will balk and go elsewhere. Too bad because both parties like each other. Can't see Bakh willing to go inside either.

Who stays at guard is another tough call. As you might expect with players who have been around, they both have wear and tear issues. Lang is a little younger and has improved the last few years. Sitton is still slightly better, but I think he'll demand more denaro, so I think he leaves and gets paid by a contender who's looking for just a few pieces to their puzzle.

Even with Bakh and Sitton gone, they still may risk losing Tretter unless the Pack give him the starting guard gig. Which is what I would do. I think he could be the best of the group when it's all said and done. After the initial sack against Washington, he kicked ass for the rest of the game - at LT no less. He can play anywhere on the line and has the best mobility and upside of the entire group. Needs to add a little bulk, but not too much.

In the end GB will lose two quality starting lineman. Can't see much chance of getting around that. Plus there's a ton of other FA's next year at other positions.

The key is Spriggs has to play up to his potential. Else, GB will kick themselves for letting Bakh go. Very risky call.

egbertsouse's picture

Tightwad Ted better understand that he has a great QB who is getting into his mid-30's and if you don't protect him, like Belichick does Brady, he may not be able to play another 5-7 years. OL needs to be a priority.

Archie's picture

I think it would be pure managerial incompetence to let a great young LT leave. Especially when his job is to protect the franchise. In fact, why draft Spriggs when you got Bak?! Makes no sense to me unless they realized last year when Bak was playing one-legged that they need a 3rd OT who is a real OT. If we let Bak go and get #12 injured because Spriggs misses a block - everything GB has worked for goes down the drain. I certainly see letting Sitton go. An aging G with chronic back problems. You can't keep them all. I also keep Lang & Tretter. Anything less and I will be very disappointed in TT. How does a draft & develop team let a top LT go at 25 years old?! They don't.

dobber's picture

Welcome back, Archie!

"How does a draft & develop team let a top LT go at 25 years old?!"

They do when he's an overpriced, middle-of-the-road LT...of course, if Spriggs is overmatched by the pro game it might force TT to pony up.

Bear's picture

I think when Ted drafted two tackles he was making the statement that Tretter was going to be a guard and not a tackle.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

The linchpin is how Spriggs looks. He may not play much this season, in which case we will be speculating with inadequate information. The coaches will have more info from watching him practice. I agree that Bakh will probably command $10M AAV - that is likely to be on the cusp between a 3rd and a 4th rd. comp pick. BTW, Sitton and Lang probably would bring 4ths, and Tretter, who should command starter's money at OC, a 5th. Remember though that no team can garner more than 3 comp picks, so letting all of the above walk forfeits a comp pick - and we have other guys too up for UFA:

Peppers (retires? not sure what he'd be worth)
Perry (5th or 6th rd. comp pick)
Jones (6th rd.)
McCray (???)

Barrington (None probably)

Bakh (3rd, maybe 4th)
Sitton (4th rd., maybe 5th)
Lang (4th/5th)
Tretter (5th)
Barclay (none)

Lacy and Jared Cook (??? - 4th to 6th)
Hyde and Masthay (6th to none)

RFAs:
Pennel (High tender?)
Elliot, (Some kind of tender?)
Perillo (None)

TT has been pretty good at keeping top talent, particularly if young (see Daniels, Sitton, Lang, CM3, AR, Bulaga), but it has been balanced by letting pretty good talent go if there is talent behind them in the pipeline (see Tramon, House, Hayward, Jennings with an oops on Cullen Jenkins).

dobber's picture

I'm not all that savvy with the compensatory pick equation, but it's not necessarily a 1 for 1 kind of thing. They supposedly plug the values of players lost through FA and the values of players signed through FA into an equation and it spits out a net change that they turn into picks, right?

Given that they can't, supposedly, do better than a 3rd round pick in compensation for players lost, and the NFL typically only assigns 32 picks (although they did 33 last year), it could be that you see the Packers get 2-3 3rd round picks and later picks to go with. That would represent significant "trade-up" ammunition or a real opportunity to "re-stock" depleted positions.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Thanks, Dobber, you are correct: the NFL does make a net value calculation as well. I've no real idea how that works.

Also, teams are limited to 4 comp picks rather than 3, as I inaccurately noted in my initial post. I regret the error.

Here is one website that calculates comp picks, but does not calculate net value. They've been pretty accurate, I gather. Note that the AAV necessary to get a 3rd rd. comp pick, for example, will probably be larger next year due to inflation than it was this year.

http://overthecap.com/compensatory-draft-picks-cancellation-chart/

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