The Packers could be more aggressive than usual in free agency this year, but one of their best players, guard T.J. Lang, might not be among the beneficiaries of their spending. With the market set to open in less than a month, Lang told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday that he “hasn’t heard a word” from the Packers and is preparing to explore his options around the NFL (via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com).
“If Green Bay calls and we can get something done, that would be awesome,” said Lang. “But if not, I’m sitting a good spot here, too, coming off a pretty solid year and making my first Pro Bowl, which was a great honor. It’s been so long since I was in this position to choose who I want to play for, since college when I picked Eastern Michigan.”
Lang underwent hip surgery after the Packers’ loss to the Falcons in the NFC title game – a contest in which he was carted off the field – but he classifies it as a “pretty common procedure” that shouldn’t hurt his earning power. While injuries did keep the 29-year-old out of three games in 2016, he has otherwise made no fewer than 15 regular-season appearances since 2010. Dating back to 2011, his first year as a No. 1, Lang has started in all 91 of his appearances.
Despite his track record of durability and productivity (he ranked eighth among Pro Football Focus’ 72 qualified guards last season), Lang could go the way of fellow guard and ex-teammate Josh Sitton and leave Green Bay. The Packers surprisingly released Sitton, who’s now with the NFC North rival Bears, prior to Week 1 last year, and they subsequently didn’t engage in extension talks with Lang during the season. Thus, general manager Ted Thompson could be primed to use the club’s $40MM-plus in cap space on other players.
Barring a 180 from the Packers, Lang will reach the market March 9, when he’s slated to join the Bengals’ Kevin Zeitler and the Cowboys’ Ronald Leary atop this year’s class of unsigned guards. PFR’s Zach Links placed Lang just outside the top 10 of all pending free agents in his latest rankings.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.