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Packers Question of the day - Who's next?

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Packers Question of the day - Who's next?

T.J. Lang, J.C. Tretter and Don Barclay - the three remaining offensive linemen for the Packers who will face expiring contracts at the end of the season. There's a possibility that a lucky one or two may be resigned during the season.

This comes after David Bakhtiari cashed in on his new deal, making him one of the highest-paid offensive tackles in the league, honing in on $12 million per year. 

Which offensive lineman should be resigned first, in other words, prioritized?


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 (42) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

mrtundra's picture

TJ Lang, then Tretter.

mrtundra's picture

TJ Lang, then Tretter.

Hematite's picture

Wow, that's a tough question.
I'm going with Lang.
Or, cut Peppers and sign Lang and Tretter.

tech4hire's picture

Lang of course...Linsley will be back making Tretter a backup...cover the starters and then worry about backups...and of course, cut Barclay!

Duke Divine's picture

Tretter is younger and far more versatile than Lang therefore more valuable. He can play 1-5 spots on the line at a high level while Lang can play guard. I'll bet anyone any amount that Lang walks for more money somewhere else while Tinkering Ted says "meh" and rolls with the cheaper up and coming young guys.

ray nichkee's picture

Don Barclay! He he he. Just kidding. I bet he gets signed late in the offseason for the minimum though. I think Tretter will be next. Somewhere I heard Sitton and Lang were told to wait on talks until after other deals are worked out. Ted better be busy signing extentions to the guys he wants to keep or he'll have his hands full in the offseason.

Finwiz's picture

It for sure won't be Lang, they already told him, and it won't be Barclay. Tretter is next because he's more valuable, with ability to play multiple positions.

RCPackerFan's picture

This is a really tough question, especially when you try to do what you think the Packers will do.

I could see the Packers trying to resign Tretter yet in the season. My only question is, what position do they view him playing next year? Do they view him as a Center, or Guard? If they view him as a Guard do they decide to resign him and let Lang walk? Do they view him as an upgrade over Taylor and try to resign Lang too?

I think they try to resign Tretter first. But Lang is probably our best OL and it would be a huge loss if he doesn't get resigned.

Finwiz's picture

What makes it relatively easy to decipher is, they don't view guards with the same degree of importance as centers or tackles on the offensive line. My perspective says they view Tretter as a better player than Taylor, so when Linsley comes back, they will move Tretter to guard and Linsley back to center. Linsley offers strength that nobody else on the team has. With those thoughts in mind Tretter becomes your top backup at center, and your starting left guard, and that makes him valuable. They may keep Taylor at guard if he excels, in which case all this logic goes out the window. We will find out plenty in the next 5 weeks before Linsley comes off the DL. Going to be interesting to see if Taylor can handle the pressure in MN.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Tretter had the best pass-blocking efficiency among NFL centers in 2015 allowing no sacks or hits, and just two hurries on 186 snaps. He looked great from what I saw at the Jags, although I mostly watched Taylor.

If he just keeps doing what he is doing I suspect he'll stay at Center and Linsley is going to have to find another spot on the line if he wants to see the field.

lou's picture

Excellent post on how the team values the guard play, that can be backed up by Thompson letting both starting guards (Rivera & Whale) walk in a prior year. I think Linsley has a great future at center but he has had 2 "torn" hamstings, not "pulled" in a 6 month span and that has to raise a lot of questions about even coming back this season much less long term. His position coach, James Campen can speak on this, from his bio "Campen’s playing career came to an end in 1993 when he suffered a torn hamstring in Week 4 at Dallas and later underwent season-ending surgery. He played in 61 games overall with the Packers, making 42 starts from 1990-92". The team has to be cautious with him, that may mean he sits in 2016.

Oppy's picture

I see this all the time about Wahle and Rivera.

People always overlook that Ted Thompson took over the Packers while they were in a serious salary cap crisis due to cap mismanagement under Mike Sherman's HC/GM reign.

Simply put, the Packers had to rebuild, and rebuild they did. I don't buy that TT let wahle and marco go because he didn't value their position. He let them go because their contracts were up, and they were going to command too much money for guys who were entering the backside of their careers.

lou's picture

You are spot on, for business reasons Thompson signed neither guard. My point was for a GM to jetison 2 veteran starters with virtually no one waiting in the wings behind either player indicates he devalues that "position" meaning his calculation is it is easier to obtain/groom guards than the other offensive line posiitions, I have no qualms with what Thompson did, it was the right move in both cases.

marpag1's picture

It always kind of makes me roll my eyes when people suggest that the Packers in particular do not value guards. Maybe it's true that the Packers don't value guards as much as tackles... that's because NOBODY values guards as much as tackles. But over the past few years, very, very few teams (if any?) have paid as much for guards as the Packers have.

Obviously, it's difficult to nail down the perfect metric for how much players are getting paid. But just for kicks, let's use average annual salary.

In 2015, the Packers paid more for their starting guards than any other team in the league. Out of 60+ starters, Sitton was the 7th highest paid guard and Lang was 13th.

In 2014, Sitton was 5th and Lang was 12th.

In 2013, Sitton was 8th and Lang was 13th.

In 2012, Sitton was 7th and Lang was 13th.

Based on the money, it's pretty absurd to say that the Packers do not value guards.

Turophile's picture

The Packers value TALENT, wherever on the team it is. If you have talent, and they can afford you, they keep you. If you play above your value then that is perfect. That applies to guards/linebackers/punters etc, etc. In addition the GM must keep an eye on the spend cost per position group. It is a very risky strategy to sink a disproportionate amount into one position group, while making do with cheap guys at other groups. Talent balanced with total group spend is the dynamic.

How good a team is could be defined by how many guys on the team outperform their contract. That is to say it could be, if you could put a definitive ability grade on each player and match it to their salary. This is even truer than in the past because now teams have a 'minimum spend' (a cap floor), which limits the pure cheapskate owners who want to strip as much money from the team as possible.

As for who is next for the extension ? I will not go for an O lineman, I'll pick Nick Perry who is currently playing a one year $5m deal, he'll get a multiyear deal done.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

I think its very important to keep Tretter as he can play so many positions and is good at most. Then you add who you can, maybe Lang will be offered a contract and take it. It is very hard to many need contracts this year way to many are going to be leaving this year.

Point Packer's picture

Tretter gets the next deal. Langs price-tag may end up being too steep for TT. Don Barclay doesn't get a new deal this year, but is somehow on the team next season. To my chagrine.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Actually I think Nick Perry might be next. Him or Tretter. Lang honestly should be easily resigned with a modest bump in salary.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Seriously, what is there to dislike about this comment? Some folks around here need to let go of thier personal BS. It's just an opinion about football.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I'd be okay with extending Perry now, as long as he doesn't want much of a raise. Otherwise, he is on a prove-it deal, and has to prove that he can both play at a high level (looked good against Jags but I want to see him against a better offensive line) and stay healthy if he wants multiple years and a raise. The stay healthy part means no extension for at least half the season to at least suggest that he can stay healthy. IMO.

Probably Tretter next, but there are issues there. He'll want to know if he is in the packers' plans as a center or as a guard. He might think his best position is center. Plus, I think he will want good starter OC money, something around $6.5M AAV.

I didn't give you the dislike.

Rcariveau's picture

How about Eddie first, then Datone followed by Tretter. Sign Eddie before he starts to breakout this year, along with Datone. Tretter is easily replaceable by Linsley. Cut Bulaga at the end of the year to make room for Spriggs at right tackle and use Bulaga's money to pay for Tretter and Jones.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

There would be too many $ in signing bonus escalations to cut or trade Bulaga.

Point Packer's picture

I'm actually curious how TT will handle Lacy. Likely depends on how this year shakes out. If he has another year like last year, the Browns will over-pay and TT won't be interested in matching.

Turophile's picture

You have the right of it jeremyjbrown.

Bulaga's contract (according to spotrac) is an average of $6.75m per annum. The contract runs through to the end of 2019. Cutting him would incur a loss (dead cap money) of $6.4m in 2016, $4.8m in 2017 and $3.2m in 2018.

Process that lot and you can see he is going nowhere, unless his salary can be passed off to another team in a trade.

A tougher question to ask is where Spriggs and Murphy will play. Murphy will (imo) almost certainly be tried at guard, because at the moment we have the luxury of too many good tackles, but not enough good guards. Spriggs will not play guard, his body type is pure tackle.

Since Bulaga and Bakhtiari have long running contracts, Spriggs looks like he is on the outside looking in.....but wait. Suppose they move Bulaga to guard (he has the build that could handle it). With the recoup of Sitton's salary this year and probably Lang's next year, there is enough saving to afford the total cost of all starting O linemen, with Bulaga as starting guard and Spriggs sliding into RT.

As always, that assumes Spriggs is good enough to force his way onto the starting line (but early indications are good). I'm guessing at this time, that Tretter beats out Linsley, not because he is a better center, but because he is more versatile, which a team always values highly. That might leave Linsley as trade bait, because he is good enough to be a starting center and will want to be one.

MarkinMadison's picture

Of the three choices, it probably won't be Lang because he was told a month ago that the Packers were going to sign younger players first, and that they would not negotiate with him until after the season.

Barclay is Barclay.

So it's Tretter by default.

My prediction: The Packers sign Tretter, let Lang walk and take the compensatory pick, and let Barclay walk and draft a replacement.

Tundraboy's picture

That's it in a nutshell.

stockholder's picture

Try this. Tretter stays at center. spriggs goes to LG. Murphy replaces Bulaga. After Bulaga gets hurt. Lang will not be resigned. Taylor goes to back-up. Linsey and Tretter fight it out until Tretter signs, and goes to RG. Barclay stays as back-up.

Irish_Cheesehead's picture

You need to ask tougher questions. The Packers already told Sitton and Lang that they were not priority signees over the younger guys. Next up is Tretter. Why would Don Barclay ever be a priority for anything??

ricky's picture

Personally, I'd like to see Lang rewarded for being so good for so long. I think how well Tretter plays this year, and whether he can stay healthy for an entire season will weigh heavily on how much he'll be offered. But I also think that right now, TT is more interested in investing in younger players rather than keeping aging veterans.

So, Tretter will be the first priority, and Lang will be a Packer only if he accepts a smaller contract than he could earn elsewhere. Barclay? League minimum at best.

Oppy's picture

The Green Bay Packers told both Josh Sitton and TJ Lang that they would NOT be entering contract negotiations with either of them during the 2016 season. and that they would be prioritizing re-signing the younger guys (tretter, Bakhtiari) before they got around to talks with either of them.

So, it's pretty safe to say TJ Lang will not be the first on re-signed of those three.

Packmaniac's picture


Bearmeat's picture

Pending changes in how players do this year, I think it's pretty clear. (IMHO anyway)

Assuming Linsley recovers and Taylor plays relatively well, I think it's clear that they'll make an effort to resign Tretter and Lang is as good as gone. TT values the comp pick more than a 30 year old RG. Rough biz, but that's how TT rolls.

If they can't resign Tretter, they'll move Bulaga to LG and Taylor to RG. Spriggs becomes the new RT.

If they can resign Tretter, I'd put money on Bulaga being shopped heavily in the offseason.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I'd take that bet. Bulaga and his $3.2M dead money hit next year aren't going anywhere. GB will try to fit the square pegs into the round holes by moving the players around: maybe Bulaga to OG, Tretter if re-signed to OG, Murphy to OG, Spriggs to RT, etc., and see who can play what.

Icebowler's picture

I know Lang was, and I'm pretty sure Sitton also, were 1st tried out as Tackles. The SOP of the Packers is to draft Tackles and Centers, and if the don't cut it, they beef them up to become Guards.

al bundy's picture

Cant say if ted will give barclay a cheapo contract. Ted. Aynot be here.

Tundraboy's picture

Would like to keep both Lang and Tretter, but I think they're are moving towards more athletic players and Tretter is just that. Younger and of course cheaper. His run blocking is best on team. I see Spriggs being another example of this.

lucky953's picture

It's practically unanimous- Tretter. Youth, versatility, high intelligence, and experience get rewarded.

Grandfathered's picture

Right now Barclay is better than Spriggs or Murphy. According to most commentators outside this site, Barclay has improved and it may be because he is another year removed from the ACL.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Gone: Peppers, Lang
Maybe: Perry, Cook, Jones, Lacy - prove-it guys
Re-sign: Tretter (if he doesn't break the bank)
$ sensitive: Lacy, Hyde
Tender High (RFAs): Pennel, Schlum?
Tender Low (RFAs): Banjo, Elliott, Perillo
Extend Qualifying Offer (ERFAs): Joe Thomas, Ringo

I am in the minority on Lacy: I might re-sign him but it would be incentive laden, and low guarantee $. Probably if I were the GM I'd lose him to another team who would give more guaranteed money.

I like Hyde but I am looking to replace him and am watching Brice, Evans, Hawkins and Gunter closely. But if he can be had for mid-tier money, say < $4M AAV, that I'd do.

Perry & Cook: Depends on how they play.

Nick Perry's picture

I agree with most of this, but if Perry keeps playing the way he did in the Playoffs and week one I'd like to see them lock up a Defensive player. Another player is Jones. Totally agree on Hyde and unfortunately on Lang too. To lose an All-Pro and a player (Lang) who should have been an All Pro last season is a lot to lose. Or to lose what many thought was the "Best Guard Tandem" in the NFL, is a lot to try and make up.

Does Tretter move to Guard when/if Lindsey comes back this year? If Tretter stays at center then what do you do with Lindsey? He's a pretty good center, to good not to play. Tretter's willingness to move to Guard could influence what they do with him or if he's willing to sign and forgo Free Agency.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

It's been 7 hours since I wrote the post, so I'm not sure I agree with all of it now either!

Datone and Perry are prove-it guys who have to show they can play at a high level over an extended period, and who both have to show that they can stay healthy. So, no early extensions for them. Maybe later in the season or re-sign them after the season.

Allan Murphy's picture

Guy's we have a season lets worry about winning weekly till season end then talk .

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