Re-Signing Lane Taylor will Add Experienced OL Depth to 2021 Roster

The Green Bay Packers should look to bolster their offensive line depth by re-signing Lane Taylor on an inexpensive one-year deal. 

Step one for the Green Bay Packers this offseason is getting under the salary cap, where ever that might end up being. As of this moment, according to Over the Cap, Green Bay finds themselves $11.4 million above the projected salary cap. 
 
However, as I discussed in a recent article for CheeseheadTV, there are additional expenses that have to be factored in as well. Some of which include contracts for the draft class and the practice squad, money for in-season spending, and of course, any free-agent additions.
 
When it comes to any free-agent additions, even with the rumors of interest in JJ Watt, expectations should be tempered. Now, that isn't to say that Packers can't sign Watt, but in an unusual salary cap year, money will be tight, and chances are the Packers will be conservative.
 
With that said, one free agent target who should be on the Green Bay Packers' radar is a very familiar face in Lane Taylor.
 
Taylor has spent a better part of the past two seasons on IR and even took a pay cut last offseason to stay with the team. His base salary was only $910,000, and his cap hit was just $2.4 million last season.
 
Considering that Taylor has played in only three games the last two seasons combined due to injuries, and the fact that many teams don't have their usual spending power, I'd say it's likely that a one-year deal for Taylor in 2021 will come with an even lower cap hit than just a season ago. 
 
When coming off of a season-ending injury, there is never any guarantee that a player is going to return to their original form. But over his career, when Taylor has been available for the Packers, he has been a reliable guard for them. 
 
Remember, he was a starter from 2016 to 2018, and even last season, he was the Week 1 starter in Minnesota, winning the right guard battle coming out of training camp. Again, we can't say with certainty how he will look after another missed season, but as recently as 2020, he was a starting-caliber player along what ended up being the best offensive line in football.
 
Heading into the new season, there will be some changes along the Packers' offensive line. As of now, all signs point to Corey Linsley signing elsewhere in free agency, and we don't know when David Bakhtiari will be back on the field. 
 
How Green Bay is going to handle Bakhtiari's absence exactly, we don't know. They could draft a tackle early and plan to start him Week 1. They could move Elgton Jenkins to tackle and have Simon Stepaniak take over at one of the guard positions. Or perhaps they sign in a low-cost veteran during free agency.
 
While Taylor isn't an option at tackle, regardless of how Green Bay addresses the need, he can provide some added depth to the interior offensive line. And this is especially true if Jenkins ends up starting at tackle. 
 
As I just mentioned, at this moment, Stepaniak would seem to be the front-runner for one of the guard positions if Jenkins were moved to tackle. I'm not going to pretend like I know where Stepaniak is at in his development, but what I do know is that he's a sixth-round pick who missed most of 2020 -- and a lot of practice time -- with an injury. He could very well be ready to start in the NFL, but odds are he isn't. 
 
Re-signing Taylor would provide the Packers with a veteran presence and a starting-caliber player that they could lean on in 2021 while the offensive line is in flux. Although there are question marks now, all of a sudden, an offensive line made up of Billy Turner--John Runyan--Lucas Patrick--Lane Taylor--Elgton Jenkins doesn't look so bad. 
 
The Packers could absolutely make that configuration work until Bakhtiari is back and healthy. And at that point, someone has to head to the bench, but having too many starters to choose from is always a good problem to have.
 
Ultimately, there's no guarantee that Taylor returns to his old form, but there is also no such thing as too much depth along the offensive line either. Just look at the Super Bowl; games are still won and lost in the trenches.
 
For the cap-conscious Green Bay Packers, bringing in Lane Taylor on a vet minimum deal -- or close to it -- who was a starter for this team just this past season seems like a no-brainer. He can compete for a starting spot, and worst-case scenario, he adds depth -- which is always needed -- off the bench. 

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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Comments (40)

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canadapacker's picture

February 22, 2021 at 11:11 am

I think that they should sign him back - I think that he should take the offer. I am always worried with a guy who seems to get carted off the field a lot - but when he does play he has played pretty well. For him - because he is on a team that wins a lot and makes the TV prime time a lot - maybe if he can get his knees to work better - he might still get a big payday - so that should be him or his agents thought process. And he knows the system and the organization. PS how about that MVS - he got a well deserved pay increase - so shush all you negative ninny's - his drops were always a focus because he was always so far downfield - when other guys had drops nothing was said - I would rather see him catch everything - but the odd drop from a guy who will go 50 + for a TD a lot and draw a lot of coverage away from Adams is worth a raise.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

February 22, 2021 at 10:36 pm

I think Taylor should be a relatively low risk (cost) - high reward player - provided that he's willing or able to play. If so, the interior of the line (starters and depth) would be extremely solid.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

February 22, 2021 at 11:28 am

We have young interior offensive linemen on their rookie contracts and should the Packers have a shortage during the season, I would think that Lane Taylor is more likely to be available than not. With his injury history and being past 30 Taylor is not going to be a hot commodity. I vote to let him sit for the time being.

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stockholder's picture

February 22, 2021 at 11:47 am

If we are going to move guys around. Yes, sign him.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 22, 2021 at 11:56 am

Move on and get a couple more linemen in this draft. Strong with OTs and interior guys. Depends what they do with Linsley. I see Taylor lasting a couple of games, maybe, then to the IR.

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stockholder's picture

February 22, 2021 at 12:32 pm

True - Gutes Value Board/ best player = If the packers stay @29. It's OT. Cosmi. If the packers move up it's Barmore DT. @29 and #93 If the packers trade Down. CB- Campbell @45 and RB @62.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 22, 2021 at 07:53 pm

I want two picks from this first round. Barmore is a run stop guy, not a dynamic pass rush. He should be around the mid-40s in the second, not a blue chip. They will need a CB or OT in the first round. Mayfield, Leatherwood, Little from Stanford at OT as RT type guys. I think Runyan can fill in at RT in a o pinch. Ealy at RT from Oklahoma, a bigger body. Horn at CB from S Carolina? Etienne may be there @ #29 and he replaces Jones. Cosmi should be around the end of the 2nd round if that's your plan. A lot of scenarios. Gutedkunst should be moving up in twice in the first. We'll have to wait and see if he wants to play Ted ball or go for the Win.

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Since'61's picture

February 23, 2021 at 11:42 am

How are you defining moving up? We might be able to move up a few spots but it would be difficult to find a trading partner in the top 20 by offering our #29 and a second or 3rd round pick.

If the Packers move, I think they would be better served trading down into the early 2nd round and maybe pick up another 3rd or 4th round pick in the deal.

As for trying to get 2 first round picks I don’t know what it would cost us but I’m confident that it would cost plenty and leave us with very few picks if any in the middle rounds.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 24, 2021 at 04:43 am

Rather get a blue chip guy for the CB, EDGE or OT spot. This team needs to win the Big Game. The ten year plan has been a no show with the same philosophy getting you some players that fail when the pressure is on them. I would franchise A.Jones and refinance P.Smith or let him walk if they believe Collins could be available late first round. A lot depends on how severe Bhak's knee tear is. The OTs in this draft are a very solid group.

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canadapacker's picture

February 22, 2021 at 04:23 pm

Draft D - we have some Oline Runyon from last year's draft - unless some sort of unbelievable guy falls to us - we need D - Dbacks, Dline linebackers. I am not one to draft only for need - but if special teams tells us anything we need some linebackers and dbacks who can not only learn to play but can help on special teams.

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Razer's picture

February 22, 2021 at 12:02 pm

Average talent that can't stay healthy should not be a priority. If the Packers are going to keep their O-line and D-line stocked with average players who can't at least give you availability then we really don't have depth - we have bodies. I think that we have pretty good coaches on both lines. Keep the talent supply coming and let them do their jobs. Don't clog the system with marginal guys when you are bringing in young talent like Runyon.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 22, 2021 at 07:40 pm

Taylor was finished two years ago.

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Coldworld's picture

February 22, 2021 at 12:24 pm

Cheap for a veteran, based on last year. See him and he gives us more depth and experience immediately. With Bakh not likely available, Wagner gone, experience is helpful and Jenkins won’t be guard (probably right tackle). We only have Runyon who has played. He will likely be starting, so if it’s a rookie or Taylor, I’d be delighted to go with Taylor if Patrick is C.

Once Bakh is back, Taylor is either excellent depth or plays himself into a starter role. Taylor has practiced at C before and played tackle when injuries called for it. He would be a useful swing option on game day even if not starting.

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Leatherhead's picture

February 22, 2021 at 01:11 pm

I don’t see how you look at his age and injury history and think you can count on him, but if he’s cheap there’s no reason not to bring him into camp and give him a chance.

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flackcatcher's picture

February 22, 2021 at 06:01 pm

Lane Taylor, cheap at the price. Pay the man...

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PatrickGB's picture

February 22, 2021 at 03:24 pm

The fact that he won the starting guard position says that the team thought a lot of his skills. And as others have noted he could be cheaper alternative to any other FA available. First he needs to be healthy enough to be evaluated and that decision may not happen until the spring or even later. No rush on the decision.

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Tabin's picture

February 22, 2021 at 03:41 pm

I would be a good signing and won´t be expensive, maybe the veteran minimum. We can say now he is injury prone. He had a good first season the second one was very average but if I remeber correctly he played part of the season with a foot injury, after that two lost seasons. I think is safe to say he won´t have many suitors this year. He could play RG, he was the starter last year over Patrick or LG if Jenkins plays C or LT.

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Packers0808's picture

February 22, 2021 at 04:45 pm

Little change here, I see Ashlon Jeffery to be released, bit old but what you think? Good signing or too old?

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flackcatcher's picture

February 22, 2021 at 05:40 pm

Might not fit MLF scheme. Packers already have Furness(if they keep him) and is too pricey for what they can afford.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 23, 2021 at 03:17 am

Hate the idea. We have tall slow WRs.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

February 22, 2021 at 05:04 pm

Does anyone a else feel like the running game a going to take a hit. I like AJ Dillon quite a bit. But, how can MLF loose the talent he's likely to lose and not skip a beat?

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flackcatcher's picture

February 22, 2021 at 05:59 pm

RB is replaceable in today's NFL. I know it sucks, but the shelf life of any back is short. Packers will draft or sign FA to replace Williams or Jones. What is unknown is how deep is the Cap squeeze and what position players will be effected the most. Teams got the high ground in player negotiations, and they're going to use it for all it's worth. Players like Lindsay, Jones and Williams do have some leverage, but not like they would have in the past. And it's worse for the guys who were or are going to be cut. Depressed markets are always like that. Scheme wise, my guess is short term MLF will go some combo of one back spread with three WR two TE/HBack till they figure who they will run as their 2RB if Jones or Williams are not resigned. (Aaron Rodgers man. I know he's a bit up there in football years, but its Aaron freaking Rodgers....:-)

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 23, 2021 at 03:30 am

OTC projects the franchise tag for RBs at $8.07M.

So, no long-term guaranteed money, no dead money, and Jones is still in his prime entering his 5th season, including several seasons where he was not the bell cow.

It is a little enticing, no?

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flackcatcher's picture

February 23, 2021 at 06:20 pm

I wish. But we all know who Jones agent is...

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canadapacker's picture

February 24, 2021 at 09:13 am

Doesnt matter who is agent is if you franchise him. And 8 million isnt bad for a player like him right now. And he has the advantage of waiting a year when the market at least salary cap wise might be better so he should still be motivated. If they can clear cap and still get the D improved it might be the win win that we need to be looking for.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

February 25, 2021 at 07:47 pm

I really am not overly concerned. Change is usually hard at first but we will be okay at RB.

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Demon's picture

February 22, 2021 at 06:07 pm

Yeah I agree with the author. Lets sign Lane Taylor to a 1 year 1million dollar deal. Maybe he will make it 2 games before he has a season ending injury again. Sounds like a great investment.

I think we need to raise the bar a little.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

February 25, 2021 at 07:50 pm

And with the cap being what it is
what do you propose?

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HankScorpio's picture

February 22, 2021 at 07:02 pm

Russ Ball is the cap guy. He has a long rich history of stretching the cap. He's the dream cap guy of the "go all in" crowd. So don't be surprised if they find a way to do what seems like cannot happen.

If you trust OTC cap calculator, If the Packers really want to go nuts, they can get to about 26 mil under by kicking the can down the road on Rodgers, Z, Amos, and Turner and releasing Preston Smith, Dean Lowery and Devin Funchess. The savings on Smith and Lowery in 2022 offset the additional hit on Rodgers, Z, Amos and Turner, resulting in about $4 mil in net savings.

Extending Adams is another cap savings possibility. Any yr 1 hit under 16.78 mil is cap savings. Adams will command a big price but it is not hard to pay one and still be under that number.

I'd hate if they did all that. But I bet plenty of others would be throwing parties. And those partiers might be right. If the market is depressed this year with the cap shrinking, FA dollars go might farther in 2021 than in 2022. IOWs, that approx $20 mil in cap room might buy you more in 2021 than it will in 2022. For reference, the year 1 hit on Z, Preston Smith, Amos and Turner was about $22.6 mil

If they want JJ Watt, Aaron Jones, Corey Linsley, Lane Taylor or anybody else, they can make it happen.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 22, 2021 at 07:45 pm

They can move cash downhill. The television contract is going up ,not down and Packertown will raise ticket prices and concessions enough to cover margins lost. Not an issue.

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PhantomII's picture

February 22, 2021 at 08:04 pm

When things normalize in stadiums the cap was suppose to go up over 20 million. I wouldn't totally bank on that, but it was suppose to happen prior to Covid-19.

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PF4L's picture

February 22, 2021 at 07:28 pm

Russ Ball is the same guy who gave Nick Perry an undeserved winning lottery ticket.
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Russ Ball is the same guy who gave Mike Daniels an underserved winning lottery ticket.
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Russ Ball is the same guy who gave Jimmy Graham a winning lottery ticket.
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Russ Ball is the same guy who gave Preston Smith a winning lottery ticket.
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Just because someone can make it happen, doesn't mean it should happen.

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 22, 2021 at 07:55 pm

Yes, let's balance the scales. Ball is just another accountant, not a free wheeler.

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PhantomII's picture

February 22, 2021 at 08:11 pm

If we can sign a #2 WR, good starting DL next to Clark and Good CB opposite Alexander, get it done.

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HankScorpio's picture

February 23, 2021 at 05:33 am

You and I are on the same page in terms of weaknesses to shore up before the draft. I would not mind them giving Allen Robinson another crack at signing to play with a decent QB. I don't really know enough about the quality of player available at DL and CB to throw out a name.

And that is how you do it. Fill holes in FA and then draft the best player without chasing a need. Every draft pick is for the future. The rook that can step in at a high level is rare. If they prove capable, that should be a bonus. rather than a requirement

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jannes bjornson's picture

February 24, 2021 at 04:48 am

Robinson will be franchised.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

February 25, 2021 at 07:56 pm

Russ is only doing what he is directed to do.

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Alex_W's picture

February 23, 2021 at 08:10 am

If Stepaniak is heathy he's gonna be at least the 1st backup choice at G this season. The guy is strong as hell - 37 reps (1 more than Linsley, 13 more than Runyan) and experienced at the position, 6th rounder just because of injuries, the real talent is much higher. Don't be surprised he wins the starting job this offseason.

Taylor seems to be a good guy and player. But his time is running out at this point. If he is in there this summer means something went wrong with those bunch of picks invested in IOL.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

February 25, 2021 at 07:59 pm

It is fun to think about the possibilities with some of these young OL.

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hobowilly's picture

February 25, 2021 at 02:09 pm

Great discussion everyone, esp Tabin & Hank and thanks to Paul for the topic.
I happen to disagree with jannesbjornson claiming Russ Ball is an avg accountant*. IHMO, GB has done very well since MM left; further, Gutey & MLF have done an outstanding job for CAP bingo is quite a challenging sport needless to share. * Gutey and Murphy always speak highly of him, unless fans have a dislike for the "front office". I'll take back to back NFCCG's any day. I like Lane Taylor for the warrior/competitor he is, always the underdog he has risen to staring G when healthy. If GB sawbones give him a thumbs up for a physical pass then why not sign him on a discount basis....won't be the first time he's risen up.

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