September 18, 2019, 03:11:01 AM

Author Topic: Position look: OL  (Read 2906 times)

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Offline RT

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Position look: OL
« on: May 22, 2019, 05:06:55 AM »
The Packers took a quality unit and really beefed up the depth in this off season with a FA signing, a surprise return player and a high draft pick. Barring injuries the Packers are going to have the good problem of having more NFL caliber OLinemen than they have roster spots when the preseason ends.

Locks (6) - David Bakhtiari, Bryan Bulaga, Corey Linsley, Lane Taylor, Billy Turner, Elgton Jenkins

If they can avoid the injury bug this starting unit should again be one of the top OL units in the NFL. Adding Jenkins to the locks should be obvious to everyone.

In the Hunt (7) -  Jason Spriggs, Cole Madison, Alex Light, Yosh Nijman, Justin McCray, Lucas Patrick, Adam Pankey

The competition for the backup OL spots will probably be the most competitive position battles in training camp. If everyone stays healthy, I would expect the Packers to be able to trade some of their depth before the cut down. 

Longshots (3) - Larry Williams, Gerhard de Beer, Anthony Coyle

These 3 would seem to have a mountainous climb ahead of them to even land a PS spot, but one day at a time and one play at a time and you never know what might happen.

Where the end number of OL kept on the 53 this year will be interesting, but I do believe it will be higher then most seasons. Most seasons the number is 8 or 9 with the Packers carrying as high as 11. I think 10 this year is not out of the question if they can stay clean through training camp. But who makes up this unit? Does Cole Madison become a feel good story or is he cut before the season starts? Does Spriggs become the tackle he was drafted to be or does someone else step forward and take the swing tackle position away from him? The camp battles will be daily and fun to watch as the big men clash on the offensive and defensive lines. However it shakes out the Packers should have a quality OL unit to go to battle with this season.       
« Last Edit: May 22, 2019, 05:11:26 AM by RT »

Offline dannobanano

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Re: Position look: OL
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2019, 06:21:42 AM »
Agree with you assessment RT.

Just a guess on my part but I get the feeling the Packers try to keep just 8 OL on the 53 man roster. It might be 9, but I think they would prefer 8 because Turner can play either G/T, Jenkins can play all 5 OL spots, and Spriggs can play either T spot.

If they can roll with 8 OL, it frees up an extra roster spot for another position group that would like/need more depth.

Outside of the 6 locks you mention, my best guess would be Spriggs and Madison make up the other 2 spots of the 8 man group.

Light, Nijman, and Williams would be likely candidates for the PS.

Offline RT

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Re: Position look: OL
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2019, 07:27:27 AM »
We are all just shooting from the hip here, but as any season wears on and injuries pileup on most teams the hardest replacements to find are OL. The Packers will keep the best 53, but if it is a tossup with an OL, WR or any other position really, the call probably go's in favor of the OL simply because of the shortage of NFL quality OL league wide. IMO. 

Offline Hands

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Re: Position look: OL
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2019, 07:43:51 AM »
Taylor, and Bulaga were hurt enough last year that it affected their play. The players added this year will/can make a difference. I suspect 9 linemen make the final 53.
In the land of the blind.....the one eye man is king!

Offline SET4YRS

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Re: Position look: OL
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2019, 08:19:31 AM »
 Lucas Patrick played well at the end of last season, expect him to make the team.

Offline RT

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Re: Position look: OL
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2019, 04:55:03 AM »
Hoping the Milwaukee Bucks can win one more in Toronto so we get one more round of Bakhtiari beer chugging. Yelich gets an attaboy for a rookie effort, now as for Rodgers that was just straight up weak. Wimpy, Wimpy, Wimpy! 

Offline craig

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Re: Position look: OL
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2019, 09:31:59 AM »
Injuries abound, so while I hope it doesn't happen, it's more probably than not that at least one of your main 13 guys will be hurt, and a good chance >1. 

Backup OL aren't usually ST stars.  So they are at some disadvantage winning last spots against ST candidates.  That said, I'd rather compromise on ST than risk a rising young lineman who might become a solid starter in a year or two. 

Bulaga is worn and expiring.  Taylor's contract is also at issue following this season.  So there's a chance that one or both might be replaced for 2020 and beyond.  So I'm really prioritized on depth OL who *MIGHT* have potential to develop into good, solid starters. 

I'm no scout, but I don't see Pankey, Patrick, or McCray as guys we'll want starting from 2020 to 2023 or whatever. 

So my preference (all wishing and hoping, no basis for actually expecting this) is that all three of Light, Madison, and Nijman look absolutely impressive in camp.  So good that they look like very viable potential starters, in a post-Bulaga/Taylor 2020 roster.  So good that you can't even risk exposing them to practice squad. 

Of course that isn't very likely, but position groups that end up being really good, and rosters than end up being SB contenders, often have developmental guys develop well and become good players, against the odds. 

I'm actually quite curious and interested in Light.  I assume with a year of experience and strength, that he's probably going to be ahead of Madison or Nijman. 

I also assume that practice squad is available for all three of those young guys.  **IF** they look so good that you don't want to risk them, and think they might get snagged, then keep them 53.  But otherwise PS seems like a very appropriate place to stash developmental lineman who aren't going to play at all barring injury, and who aren't going to be ST and 45-man active anyway.  **IF** injuries necessitate, a guy can be called up from PS as needed. 

So being an optimist and a hope guy, I'm really curious and hoping that those three young unknown guys will look good and be on their way to being good NFL players that may be good starters someday, or very capable subs if not. 

The Bulaga/Taylor status I think also makes Spriggs a question.  I've kinda felt like he lost the speed/quickness that he was drafted for in order to gain the size and strength that he needed.  So I'm hesitant to believe he's likely to be a very good Bulaga replacement for 2020.  But I'm no scout and know nothing.  **IF** he could look better and better, both as a next-man-up injury-replacement-option this year, but then as a perfectly-fine Bulaga-replacement starter at RT for 2020, that would be really wonderful.  I hope he looks really good in camp and looks like he's really ready to be a good starter, whenever opportunity opens that possibility for him. 

Offline RT

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Re: Position look: OL
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2019, 02:42:33 PM »
Well thought-out posting craig.

Agree with the hope with Light, Madison, and Nijman and I will also add Jenkins to that trio.

Don't agree that Taylor's contract is an issue after this season, he has 2 years left at a salary of 2.6M and 3.8M. I think those are very manageable numbers for the Packers to keep on board until the end of his contract. Taylor's contract also is one that is probably very affordable to trade, if Jenkins or someone else steps forward and looks like they can anchor the LG spot and do an equal job as Taylor, the Packers may trade Taylor because of all the young depth on the roster.

Taylor, McCray and Patrick are all affordable contracts to trade if the Packers should chose to move someone.     

Offline dannobanano

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Re: Position look: OL
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2019, 03:31:46 PM »
I read that Light was the starting LT for OTA's, as they keep Bak out (like Tae) for precautionary reasons.

Nice to hear that about Light.

Offline craig

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Re: Position look: OL
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2019, 11:21:27 PM »
..Don't agree that Taylor's contract is an issue after this season, he has 2 years left at a salary of 2.6M and 3.8M. I think those are very manageable numbers for the Packers to keep on board until the end of his contract. ...

Taylor's cap hit will be $5.925 for 2020, per Spotrac.  Not crazy high, of course, and if you cut him there is still $1.25 dead cap anyway.  So basically it would save ~$4.7 in cap to cut him.  I hope he has a great year, and that the Packers' cap situation is better than I understand it to be, and that they don't need to be pinching pretty good starters over $4.7 savings. 

But with the Rodgers contract and the huge spikes in cap hits for the four pricey free agents this year, I'm thinking they are going to be considerably pressed for cap $$ next offseason.  Clearing $4.7 may get some consideration?

Offline RT

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Re: Position look: OL
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2019, 06:42:08 AM »
..Don't agree that Taylor's contract is an issue after this season, he has 2 years left at a salary of 2.6M and 3.8M. I think those are very manageable numbers for the Packers to keep on board until the end of his contract. ...

Taylor's cap hit will be $5.925 for 2020, per Spotrac.  Not crazy high, of course, and if you cut him there is still $1.25 dead cap anyway.  So basically it would save ~$4.7 in cap to cut him.  I hope he has a great year, and that the Packers' cap situation is better than I understand it to be, and that they don't need to be pinching pretty good starters over $4.7 savings. 

But with the Rodgers contract and the huge spikes in cap hits for the four pricey free agents this year, I'm thinking they are going to be considerably pressed for cap $$ next offseason.  Clearing $4.7 may get some consideration?

The 2020 cap hit includes his prorated signing bonus and that money counts against the cap if he is on the roster or not, it is water over the dam. If he is traded, his new team is looking at his base salary and the prorated portion of the signing bonus stays with the Packers (dead cap). The 2.6M and 3.8M base salary are very affordable numbers for a starting guard in a trade. If the Packers keep him, the 4.7M includes him reaching all of his bonuses on top of his 3.8M base salary. Of course if they keep him they would probably hope that he would achieve all of his bonuses and end up costing them 4.7M. Still not a bad number for a starting LG.
   

Offline dannobanano

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Re: Position look: OL
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2019, 07:55:31 AM »
..Don't agree that Taylor's contract is an issue after this season, he has 2 years left at a salary of 2.6M and 3.8M. I think those are very manageable numbers for the Packers to keep on board until the end of his contract. ...

Taylor's cap hit will be $5.925 for 2020, per Spotrac.  Not crazy high, of course, and if you cut him there is still $1.25 dead cap anyway.  So basically it would save ~$4.7 in cap to cut him.  I hope he has a great year, and that the Packers' cap situation is better than I understand it to be, and that they don't need to be pinching pretty good starters over $4.7 savings. 

But with the Rodgers contract and the huge spikes in cap hits for the four pricey free agents this year, I'm thinking they are going to be considerably pressed for cap $$ next offseason.  Clearing $4.7 may get some consideration?

Currently OTC shows the Packers with just over $16M in cap space for 2020, and that does not include the current $9M+ they have in cap space as roll over (although some of that could be used during the course of the 2019 season).

The Packers will likely move on from Jimmy Graham next year, which would add an additional $8M in cap space in 2020.

So the way that it could be viewed is that Gute could possibly have around $27M-$28M to work with for signing the key free agents that the Packers want to keep rather than lose to FA.

Here's a list of the Packer 2020 UFA's that are possible players that will receive a strong bid from Gute to keep.

1st tier targets: (Core players that it would hurt to lose)
Blake Matinez
Geronimo Allsion
Dean Lowry
Mason Crosby
(JMHO, but I think they could extend all 4 of these players, if they choose to, and structure the 1st year cap hit to be a total of around $18M, or less)

2nd tier targets: (based on how they play in 2019)
Kyler Fackrell
Jason Spriggs
Danny Vitale

UFA's that will likely be allowed to leave in UFA next year.
Mike Daniels
Brian Bulaga
Tramon Williams
Marcedes Lewis
Trevor Davis (provided he makes 2019 team)
Kapri Bibbs (ditto)

Of the tier 1 group, the one that would hurt the most to lose would be Martinez, if they can't extend him. But how they structure contracts make all the difference in the world. Take, for instance, this years top 3 FA signings (The Smith Bro's and Amos). First year cap hit for them is as follows...……..Z. Smith-$7.25M, P. Smith-$6M, A. Amos-$5.9M.

So if Gute has around $27M to work with next year, I think it's very likely they will be able get done what they want to get done. Also have to remember that they have already agreed to pick up Kenny Clarks 5th year option. No hard numbers for that yet, but comparing to 2019 numbers, that 5th year option will likely fall in the $6M-$8M range.

Another consideration could be that **IF** the young players in the Packers secondary look to be competent as camp progresses, the Packers could release Tramon Williams prior to Week 1 of the season and gain an additional $6.375M in cap space immediately. But if he's on the roster as of week 1, than that full amount is charged to the 2019 cap. It's at least something to be an eye on.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 07:56:57 AM by dannobanano »

Offline RT

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Re: Position look: OL
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2019, 08:22:36 AM »
Very good stuff danno and thanks for the work.

IMHO, I think that Martinez is the only core player there. Because of the young depth at WR, Allison will probably be allowed to go elsewhere. Same with Lowry. And Crosby is probably in his final season as a Packer, I look for Gute to replace him in the draft next year. Just think it would be a real longshot for any of the others to be back in GB in 2020.

I don't believe the cap is going to be any issue in 2020.

Offline craig

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Re: Position look: OL
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2019, 12:45:46 PM »
..he has ... a salary of ...3.8M. ...

Taylor's cap hit will be $5.925 for 2020, per Spotrac.  Not crazy high, of course, and if you cut him there is still $1.25 dead cap anyway.  So basically it would save ~$4.7 in cap to cut him.  ....

The 2020 cap hit includes his prorated signing bonus and that money counts against the cap if he is on the roster or not, it is water over the dam. If he is traded, his new team is looking at his base salary and the prorated portion of the signing bonus stays with the Packers (dead cap). The 2.6M and 3.8M base salary are very affordable numbers for a starting guard in a trade. If the Packers keep him, the 4.7M includes him reaching all of his bonuses on top of his 3.8M base salary. Of course if they keep him they would probably hope that he would achieve all of his bonuses and end up costing them 4.7M. Still not a bad number for a starting LG.

I'm not sure I'm following your point, RT.  You basically repeated what I'd already said, that $1.25 in prorated signing bonus is dead cap towards the $5.9 cap hit, and that it's the other $4.7 that's at issue for the Packers cap, and likewise for any potential trade partner.

You repeatedly cite the $3.8, I'm not sure why, since I think you are well aware of bonus structure.  When discussing keep or cut/trade, $4.7 is the number, not $3.8.  (Other than a few slivers of $4.7 in case he missed games due to injury).  Listing the $3.8 repeatedly seems somewhat more like trying to win an argument or to persuade, than to objectively consider the choices the Packers will evaluate. 

It's well possible that the Packers will find him worth the $4.7. I hope that they do.  This year he was hurt a lot and I don't he played that well, but in previous years he's been a very solid performer, at $4.7 a good value. 

I'm just saying that it's possible that they won't.  That becomes increasingly possible **If** BOTH Jenkins and Madison both look really good, for example; if so, they may hypothetically feel they can let Taylor's $4.7 go, and replace him internally.  Whether by cutting; or if somebody else wants to trade something for Taylor and $4.7 of cap hit. 

That's also a possibility if Taylor as a well-used, well-worn player stacks another year compromised by more injuries.  He'll be 30 this season, and the clock ticks on.  So, he wouldn't be the first NFL guy who doesn't look as worth $4.7 in his 30's as when he was younger.  He's only a few months younger than Bulaga, for example, who many posters want to write off.   (Obviously Bulaga's had more injuries than Taylor, and is 6 months older besides, I'm not suggesting they're in the same boat.  Just that some of the age/wear-based considerations that apply to Bulaga may also increasingly be part of the Taylor decisions.) 

We may have plenty of cash.  Taylor may have a strong, healthy, very productive season.  Madison may not even make it out of camp, I have no idea. 

I emphasized that to even consider letting Taylor go after this season, I'd really want BOTH Jenkins AND Madison (or some other interior line guy, maybe Light?) to look really good.  A temptation is to say that as a 2nd rounder, you'd sure hope that Jenkins could take Taylor's spot, so why not save the $4.7?  But *IF* you simply replace Taylor with Jenkins, then you've lost the depth and injury-insurance that you just burned a high 2nd-round pick to obtain.  I think it's absolutely essential to have an extra bench interior lineman that you really like, and that won't compromise much if he injury-replaces a starter.  I get the common "what do you expect from a backup, it's hard enough to get good starters, how many teams have good starters?" argument.  But when real games are played, defensive coordinators don't give you any special mulligan for playing subs who aren't very good.  I want to keep four interior guys who are pretty much starter-quality good.  So *IF* that appeared or projected to be true for both Jenkins and Madison, (or somebody else currently on the bench, Light or somebody maybe....), Gute could perhaps allow Taylor to go, and STILL have the extra inside depth guy that I want.  But if none of Madison or Light or other IOL guys look too hot, then *if* you just replace Taylor with Jenkins a year from now, you're right back to being one injury away from playing guys like Bell or Barclay or Patrick or McCray or whomever.  Not the end of the world, but I'd rather not.  If that makes sense? 

Offline craig

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Re: Position look: OL
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2019, 01:05:19 PM »
..Currently OTC shows the Packers with just over $16M in cap space for 2020, and that does not include the current $9M+ they have in cap space as roll over (although some of that could be used during the course of the 2019 season).  The Packers will likely move on from Jimmy Graham next year, which would add an additional $8M in cap space in 2020.

So the way that it could be viewed is that Gute could possibly have around $27M-$28M to work with for signing the key free agents that the Packers want to keep rather than lose to FA.

Here's a list of the Packer 2020 UFA's that are possible players that will receive a strong bid from Gute to keep.

1st tier targets: (Core players that it would hurt to lose)
Blake Matinez
Geronimo Allsion
Dean Lowry
Mason Crosby
(JMHO, but I think they could extend all 4 of these players, if they choose to, and structure the 1st year cap hit to be a total of around $18M, or less)

2nd tier targets: (based on how they play in 2019)
Kyler Fackrell
Jason Spriggs
Danny Vitale

UFA's that will likely be allowed to leave in UFA next year.
Mike Daniels
Brian Bulaga
Tramon Williams
Marcedes Lewis
Trevor Davis (provided he makes 2019 team)
Kapri Bibbs (ditto)

....So if Gute has around $27M to work with next year, I think it's very likely they will be able get done what they want to get done. Also have to remember that they have already agreed to pick up Kenny Clarks 5th year option. No hard numbers for that yet, but comparing to 2019 numbers, that 5th year option will likely fall in the $6M-$8M range.

Another consideration could be that **IF** the young players in the Packers secondary look to be competent as camp progresses, the Packers could release Tramon Williams prior to Week 1 of the season and gain an additional $6.375M in cap space immediately. But if he's on the roster as of week 1, than that full amount is charged to the 2019 cap. It's at least something to be an eye on.

Thanks super much, danno.  Really helpful.  Bottom line would seem to be that there is some cash to work with.  So, that's pretty encouraging and helpful to know. 

I agree with RT, if the worst of our problems are questions about retaining cats like Crosby, Lowry, and Allison, we're in a really good spot. 

I agree with RT, Crosby's contract is ready to be replaced. 

RT, you seem to be pretty confident that Taylor is a good, safe, sure $4.7; but that Allison and Lowry are pretty surely gone.  You may well be right.  I guess I see all three of those guys being in a somewhat analogous world: three guys who have played a lot; three guys who will play a lot; three guys who aren't great; three guys who might be replaced by rising younger guys; and three guys who might actually be pretty solid team guys whose younger replacement wannabe's might perhaps not be actually able to replace what they give; and three guys who won't be free, but neither are they so exciting that they are likely to command big contracts on the free market and thus won't be that costly for us to keep. 

Maybe Jenkins, Maddison, and Light will all be as good or better than Taylor?  Or maybe not?
Maybe ESB, MVS, Moore, and Kumerow will all be as good or better than Allison?  Or maybe not?
Maybe Keke and Adams will both be as good or better than Lowry?  Or maybe not?

I have no idea.  But I don't think any of those three are going to break the bank.  If Gute and MLF think "maybe not" on their replacements, it's possible that offering them fair-value contracts might make sense. 

Obviously Taylor differs in that he'll be on a last year, 1-year $4.7/1 contract.  If Lowry and/or Allison have good seasons, they might instead require 2- or 3-year commitments to resign.    So obviously always easier to accomodate 1-year commitments.  As Danno notes, of course it's also in a different way easier to accomodate a 2- or 3-year deal, in that the first-year cap hit for a multi-year-with-signing-bonus is trivial, a disproportionate fraction of the cap hit defers to years 2 etc..