GREEN BAY – It seems like every year there’s another key Packer that requires a big payday in the form of a contractual upgrade.
And right now, the Packers are headed for another adventure in 2023. Except there’s a bit of a twist involved with this scenario.
That twist comes in the form of whatever position Pro Bowl offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins decides to list himself as when it comes time to begin contract talks. Jenkins started 30 games along the Packers’ interior offensive line, earning a Pro Bowl nod form 2019-2020, but was moved to left tackle last year due to David Bakhtiari’s recovery from a torn ACL suffered in December of 2020.
Jenkins played at a Pro Bowl level at tackle through the first eight games of 2021, but suffered his own torn ACL in November.
Per Pro Football Focus, Jenkins allowed the second-fewest pressures (12), tied for the 10th-fewest sacks allowed (2), and finished with the 16th-best pass blocking efficiency rate (97.5) among all tackles with at least 496 blocking snaps (69 players). Jenkins also graded out as the 17th-best run blocker among 72 qualifying tackles in 2021.
Per ESPN‘s Jeremy Fowler, while Green Bay enjoyed Jenkins’ success at tackle, it could cost them a few million dollars in the long run:
Whether Jenkins and his reps negotiate from a tackle perspective will be interesting, because the right tackle market sits at around $19 million per year, higher than the guard number ($16.5 million). The Packers and Jenkins might not be that far down the road yet, but the multiple-position factor could slightly complicate matters.
Typically, $2.5 million (in Fowler’s scenario) isn’t a deal-breaker. Especially for a player of Jenkins’ caliber and versatility. However, we saw how the Packers’ cap issues dictated their free agency moves this year. Granted, they were able to retain several key players and would’ve even held on to Davante Adams if he didn’t prefer the Raiders. But, Green Bay is currently $7 million over the cap in 2023 and have players like Adrian Amos, Robert Tonyan Jr., Dean Lowry, and even Allen Lazard up for new deals next year. There’s no guarantee they’ll be able to pull off another offseason like they did in 2022.
Fortunately, the Packers still have plenty of time to figure everything out. But, the Packers currently have an opening at right tackle. And there’s no guarantee Bakhtiari stays healthy in 2022. Meaning, there’s a very good chance Jenkins plays tackle in 2022.
And if he plays the position well, all bets are off when it comes to his future contract negotiations.
You can check out Fowler’s full column, here.
Featured image via Dan Powers-USA TODAY NETWORK