It definitely feels like a wrong place, wrong time scenario for Green Bay Packers guard Lane Taylor. After three straight seasons as the starter, Taylor suffered a bicep injury that landed him on injured reserve at the beginning of last season. This occurred right after an offseason in which the team spent a high draft pick on an interior lineman and signed a starter in Billy Turner. Taylor is expected to enter next season healthy, but his job may be long gone, and his days in Green Bay could be numbered.
Taylor is easy to root for, unfortunately, it’s not always that simple when it comes to building the best roster. The former undrafted free agent won the starting job after three seasons in development. The move was somewhat controversial considering the team cut former All-Pro Josh Sitton to hand the job to Taylor. The next few years, Taylor never exactly wowed anyone, but in large part, he remained reliable. In 2017, the Packers felt comfortable signing him to a three-year contract extension worth $16.5 million.
Taylor is not an imposing presence nor a great athlete. However, he’s more than held his own, even showing the ability to play tackle when injuries put the offensive line in a pinch.
Then, when the Packers signed Turner, it was initially unclear what role he would serve. Green Bay handed him starting-caliber money, but his most comfortable position is right guard opposite of Taylor. Meanwhile, the team drafted interior lineman Elgton Jenkins within the top 50 picks of the 2019 draft.
Once Taylor went down just two weeks into the start of last season, Jenkins was the next man up entering week three against the Denver Broncos. Throughout the season, Jenkins more than held his own. Showing why the team thought so highly of him.
The second-rounder out of Texas A&M did not allow a single sack during his entire rookie campaign. Jenkins is one of the best young guards in the NFL, and his current trajectory probably makes Taylor the odd man out.
Many thought Taylor would be a cap casualty this offseason, but it is mid-July, and he’s still hanging on. Taylor provides great depth, however, he will count for at least $2.4 million against the cap. Green Bay could still trade Taylor though it will be difficult to get much in return. Taylor has the experience most teams would want out of a potential starter, but at 30 years of age, he is no spring chicken.
If Taylor doesn’t request a trade outright, his best shot will be to beat out Turner. Unfortunately, that would mean Turner is on the bench after being handed $28 million over four years in 2019. Turner is also younger (27) and more athletic than Taylor.
While Taylor has been a great story, his days as a Packer might soon be over.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. Brandon graduated from Longwood University in 2016 with a degree in mass media. He has covered the Packers for over two years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.