We figured it would play out this way. There were signs of it before the 2016 season even began. The Green Bay Packers do not value right guard T.J. Lang.
Lang is on his way toward free agency and it appears, at least thus far, that the Green Bay Packers have no intention of re-signing him. Although he wants to return, Lang said he hasn’t heard a word from the Packers since the season ended.
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) February 13, 2017
We first began to suspect the Packers wouldn’t re-sign Lang just before last season began. During the much-talked-about divorce with left guard Josh Sitton, it came out that the Packers told both Sitton and Lang they would not be a priority for new contracts.
The subsequent release of Sitton, despite his lengthy resume, showed how little the Packers value the guard position. Sitton’s replacement, Lane Taylor, played well enough during the 2016 season that the regime’s stance was validated.
The situation with Lang ultimately comes down to money. The Packers have now invested heavily in the tackle positions. Paying three players on your offensive line top dollar decreases your financial flexibility elsewhere. Lang will get a top dollar offer on the open market and the Packers likely feel that they can’t afford to give him that kind of money.
Besides that, they clearly also feel they can plug just about anyone in at guard and they’ll be just fine.
The question is who that might be. Although he was a tackle in college, 2016 second-round pick Jason Spriggs isn’t getting into the lineup at that position. He’s an option. Don Barclay and J.C. Tretter are also options, if they’re re-signed.
The Packers are looking to go cheaper at guard and that means we’ve probably seen the last of T.J. Lang.