The Green Bay Packers once again fell well short of winning a Super Bowl title. Unfortunately for the NFC North franchise, salary-cap issues will likely lead to several key contributors taking their talents elsewhere this offseason.
And with Aaron Rodgers facing an uncertain future of his own, the superstar quarterback recently received some ominous news about Corey Linsley’s future with the Packers that reflects just how dire of a salary-cap situation Green Bay is actually in.
Corey Linsley has developed into a top-flight center since entering the NFL in 2014
Although the Packers have earned warranted criticism for refusing to spend early-round picks on weapons for Aaron Rodgers, they have done well to unearth key contributors in the later rounds of the NFL draft.
In 2014, Green Bay used the 161st selection on Corey Linsley. Spending a fifth-round pick on the former Ohio State standout has paid off tremendously.
The 6-foot-3, 301-pound pivot man has held down the starting center role since his rookie season and has never looked back. Although Linsley experienced injury issues the next two years, he never missed a game from 2017-19.
Entrusted to man one of the most important positions on offense, the tough, intelligent lineman finally got recognized for his high level of play in 2020. Despite missing three games with a knee injury, Linsley received first-team All-Pro honors in his age-29 campaign.
But after earning $8.5 million in the final year of the three-year, $25.5 million contract extension he signed in December 2017, the Ohio native needs a new deal in order to remain in Green Bay.
Aaron Rodgers receives ominous news about his All-Pro teammate’s future in Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers has spent seven years taking snaps from Corey Linsley. But on Thursday, the future Hall of Famer—along with Packers fans—received some ominous news about the All-Pro center’s future in Green Bay.
Linsley appeared on SiriusXM NFL Radio and spoke about his impending free agency. And based on his own words, it sounds like Rodgers will lose a valuable teammate next month.
“We’re not closing the door for anything,” Linsley said. “Obviously we’d never do that for any team, especially the Packers. But yeah, it definitely feels weird. Looks like all signs are pointing towards snapping the ball somewhere else next year.”
Considering Pro Football Focus graded Linsley as the NFL’s top center in 2020, the soon-to-be 30-year-old will surely garner interest on the open market. While he may not score a record-setting contract, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rodgers’ battery mate sign a two- or three-year deal that places him among the top-10 highest-paid players at his position.
And based on the their current salary-cap situation, Linsley won’t be the only Packers player wearing a different uniform in 2021.
Can the Packers improve their roster given their salary-cap issues?
With Aaron Rodgers facing an uncertain future of his own, what happens over the course of the next few months in Green Bay will have a major impact on the historic NFL franchise.
The Packers have a number of key players set to hit free agency, including Corey Linsley, Aaron Jones, and Jamaal Williams.
However, bringing back critical contributors will be a significant challenge given Green Bay’s atrocious salary-cap situation.
Already an estimated $11 million over the cap, the Packers clearly have major decisions to make about how they will allocate their financial resources. Giving Rodgers an extension would free up some cap room. But after trading up to draft Jordan Love a year ago, it remains to be seen whether Green Bay will commit more years and more money to keep the reigning NFL MVP around even longer.
Ultimately, general manager Brian Gutekunst faces arguably the most important offseason in franchise history. Will he re-do Rodgers’ deal? Will he let the team’s longtime center walk? And can he find a way to keep Jones in Green Bay?
Depending on how things unfold in free agency and the 2021 NFL draft, we may no longer view Aaron Rodgers’ team as a legitimate Super Bowl contender by the time the regular season begins.