After cutting multiple key veteran starters last week, the Chargers will use some of those funds to make a big addition on their offensive line. They are signing longtime Packers center Corey Linsley, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.
The deal, which will reunite Linsley with former Green Bay O-line mate Bryan Bulaga, is expected to make Linsley the NFL’s highest-paid center. Linsley expected to hit the market, and after the Packers prioritized Aaron Jones just before the legal tampering period began, his Wisconsin exit appeared a near-certainty.
Linsley broke through in his contract year, becoming an All-Pro blocker. Pro Football Focus slotted him as far and away the No. 1 overall center. The Bolts have battled issues up front for years, and their investments in Mike Pouncey and Trai Turner did not end up working out especially well. Pouncey retired after missing all of last season, and Turner saw his run of Pro Bowls stop after an injury-plagued 2020. The Chargers cut Turner last week.
This will give Justin Herbert a high-end offensive lineman to work with as well. Linsley and Bulaga were also teammates from 2014-19. The Packers signed Linsley to an extension that ran through 2020 but could not strike a deal to keep him off this year’s market. The 2021 season will be Linsley’s age-30 campaign.
Linsley will represent a key free agency loss for the Packers, who cut 2020 starter Ricky Wagner last month. The Jets were also interested in Linsley, likely joining several other teams, but the Chargers moved quickly to secure his services. Los Angeles still has holes on its offensive front, however, so Linsley might not be their last big upgrade here.
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