Since 2014, the Packers have had the Luxury of Choice at the Center Position

For the last two decades, the Packers have been gifted at a multitude of positions.

There's the age-old narrative pertaining to how spoiled fans are to see the franchise go from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers — one Hall of Fame quarterback to a future colleague in the hallowed shrine. The Packers have also been consistent with fullback as well, going from William Henderson to a brief stint with Korey Hall and ultimately John Kuhn. Whether Aaron Ripkowski continues the current trend in Green Bay is yet to be seen, but if his bruising running style is any indication, he should fit the mold with ease.

Long-snapper is one of the more lesser-talked about positions that have graced the Packers with a steady uniform. From 1997 through 2007, Rob Davis was the primary special teams snapper, calling it a career after spending 11 seasons perfecting his craft on place-kicks. Whether it be snapping the ball to Craig Hentrich, Josh Bidwell, B.J. Sander or even Bryan Barker, Davis gave the Packers a sense of solidity at the position. One less roster hole to fill is always nice.

Davis serves now as a Director of Player Development in the Packers front office, a position he's held since 2008. 

In that same span of 2008 to now, Brett Goode picked up precisely where Davis left off. After tearing his ACL near the end of the 2015 season, it was unclear whether Goode would return to the team the following season, and by all accounts, the Packers were ready to move on without him and proceed with Rick Lovato who was once upon a time working in a sub and pizza shop in Lincroft, New Jersey when the Packers called. Goode ended up returning to the team in September and now remains as the only unrestricted free agent the Packers have yet to address.

More significantly, for the first time since 2014, the Packers won't have the luxury of having two serviceable centers on their roster.

Essentially the cousin to the long-snapping position, the Packers have had both Corey Linsley and JC Tretter on their roster to swap back and forth between for the last three seasons. Whether it be Tretter who suffers an injury and has to be replaced by Linsley or vice versa, the Packers haven't had one of their centers start a full 16-game season since Linsley did it in his rookie year, 2014.

Tretter, who was heavily valued for his versatility along the offensive line this off-season, hit the market expecting to cash in on a big payday. Soon enough, the Browns gave him exactly that with a three-year deal worth $16.75 million. Tretter had been with the Packers since being drafted by the team in 2013 but missed a majority of his rookie season due to being placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. He started 10 games for the Packers through the course of the next three seasons.

The departure of Tretter left the Packers with Linsley, which definitely isn't a downgrade, but it doesn't offer as much promise as the Packers once had at the heart of their offensive line. Allowing Tretter to test the market and ultimately leave the team was by no stretch of the imagination a questionable move - it was the smart one. The only problem now is that behind Linsley, there's Jacob Flores, an undrafted free agent who spent most of his 2016 season on the practice squad. 

If a situation arises that puts the Packers into a drastic bind with their hands tied, there's little doubt that an interior offensive lineman can assume center duties with the proper preparation. 

After spending two months out of last season on the PUP list with a hamstring injury at a position that requires excessive movement and brute force, Linsley may be more prone to an unfortunate outcome than the next guy. It's evidently all the more reason why the Packers may need that depth at center that Tretter once offered.

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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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Comments (13)

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The TKstinator's picture

April 06, 2017 at 06:36 am

Luxury of choice or choice of luxury?

"If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice."

Anyone? Anyone?

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CJ Bauckham's picture

April 06, 2017 at 08:10 am

*insert neil peart drum solo here*

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The TKstinator's picture

April 06, 2017 at 11:35 am

Ding ding ding!!!

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dobber's picture

April 06, 2017 at 09:30 am

I will choose not to decide, I will choose...

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The TKstinator's picture

April 06, 2017 at 11:35 am

Free will!

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Since '61's picture

April 06, 2017 at 06:36 am

Zach - this is the very reason why I was concerned when we first learned that we would be losing both Lang and Tretter to FA. Both of them were able to backup the center position. I also think that is why TT re-signed Don Barclay. Barclay allegedly has experience at Center probably similar to his alleged ability to play Guard or Tackle. I expect that TT will either draft a Center in a middle to later round or sign an UDFA. In any case we need a legit backup for Linsley. As for LS I see no reason not to re-sign Goode unless his asking price to too high. Competition between him and the recently signed Hart would be a good thing during TC. Thanks, Since '61

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

April 06, 2017 at 06:51 am

I expect a swing C-G to be picked by the 4th round at latest and as early as the 1st round. I think it is as much a need as ANY position on the roster.

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Nick Perry's picture

April 06, 2017 at 07:48 am

I think you're right, 4th round is probably the latest. In Al's Mock Draft for the CHTV Draft Guide he has the Packers taking Guard in the 3rd round, an actual Guard who PLAYED Guard in college. Part of his reasoning was because the Packers have lost two Guards in a very short period of time (Sitton & Lang). IMO this is a great reason for taking a Guard opposed to a LT like TT prefers. Hopefully you draft a kid worth his salt and you have a plug & play player. Many of the Guards drafted nowadays could play Center as well so hopefully you've filled the vacant RG position and have a guy who could be the #2 Center in a pinch.

Maybe it's just me but I get anxious anytime I think of Barclay playing anywhere on the OL. I actually got anxious just now while typing!

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egbertsouse's picture

April 06, 2017 at 07:09 am

I think that TT will go with Barclay for the back-up center. After all, he has versatility.....he can suck at either C or G.

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PatrickGB's picture

April 06, 2017 at 08:01 am

Its quite clear that Barky is NOT a tackle. However, he seemed to be Campens choice for back up in the middle. He will never be a starter but is valuable as a vet who can step in mid--game. Our Oline has been good for a long time. The others play so well that he seems worse than he is. He is a vet who can help teach those up and (hopefully) coming youngsters.

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croatpackfan's picture

April 06, 2017 at 09:00 am

Zach, there is 2 LS on the Packers roster. It is not hard to check. Just go to packers.com/team/players.html and you'll find both listed. What is missing is their jersey numbers only...

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dobber's picture

April 06, 2017 at 09:32 am

My question is: how many games have both Tretter and Linsley both been active (uninjured) over the last three seasons? Last season, the answer was NONE.

The illusion of choice...

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The TKstinator's picture

April 06, 2017 at 06:11 pm

Did GnR record "Use Your Illusion" or "Choose Your Illusion"?
Had no idea Zach wanted to provoke such a rock and roll discussion here. Well done, ZJ!

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