Lane Taylor

Packers’ Lane Taylor Done For Year

That’s a wrap on Lane Taylor‘s season. On Monday, the Packers placed the right guard on IR with a right knee injury. 

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It’s especially unfortunate for Taylor, who lost his 2019 season to a biceps tear. This year, he reclaimed his starting RG job, only to exit midway through the season opener. Taylor was playing on a reworked contract — originally set to earn a non-guaranteed base salary of $3.8MM, he agreed to earn just $1.5MM, with a $100K signing bonus. Before the revision, Taylor was viewed as a likely release candidate.

The former undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State started 45 games for the Packers between 2016 and 2018. After this year, he’ll be eligible for free agency.

After their 43-34 win over the Vikings, the Packers will turn their attention to the Lions on Sunday afternoon. Interior swingman Lucas Patrick is next in line to start and the club will likely add another blocker in support.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Bears, Packers, Tomlin, Browns

The Bears became the latest team to work out Jamon Brown, with SI.com’s Albert Breer tweeting the guard was in Chicago for an audition. The free agent guard, a Falcons cut last month, has already worked out for the 49ers. Brown was a full-time Rams starter in 2017, but a 2018 suspension derailed his momentum. The Rams waived him shortly after he returned from that ban, but he ended the ’18 season as a Giants first-stringer. The Bears are returning four starters from last season and have been trying ex-Seahawks right tackle Germain Ifedi at guard.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • The Steelers will let Mike Tomlin enter a contract year. Signed through 2021, Tomlin will not be extended this year, Art Rooney II said (via The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette, subscription required). The Steelers gave Tomlin his most recent extension last July, and he managed an eight-win season despite the largely Ben Roethlisberger-less Steelers ranking 32nd in offensive DVOA. Rooney said he plans to address the contracts of Tomlin and GM Kevin Colbert, who just signed a one-year extension, in 2021.
  • One of the league’s healthiest teams last season, the Packers may be down a starter in Week 1. Billy Turner suffered a knee injury during a scrimmage and is uncertain for Green Bay’s opener, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes. Turner played guard for the Packers last season but is competing with free agency addition Ricky Wagner at right tackle this year. Lane Taylor, who missed all of last season, is expected to play right guard opposite emerging talent Elgton Jenkins on the left side.
  • For the second time in three weeks, the Browns brought in Cody Parkey for a visit. The veteran was part of a kicker group to work out for the Browns in August, though it was reported at the time the team was organizing a COVID-related emergency kicker list. Parkey briefly kicked for the Titans last season.
  • Bears training camp coaching intern Henry Burris will stay on the team’s staff all season, Matt Nagy announced. Known mostly for his 17-season CFL run, Burris also was a Bears quarterback for a short time in the early 2000s. This will be his first NFL coaching gig.
  • Vikings linebacker Cameron Smith underwent successful open-heart surgery recently, according to the Associated Press. Mike Zimmer said the second-year defender, who landed on Minnesota’s IR list, will remain in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future to recover.

Packers Eyeing David Bakhtiari Extension

Aaron Rodgers‘ longtime blindside protector, David Bakhtiari, is entering the final year of the four-year extension he signed with the Packers just before the 2016 campaign. He has more than lived up to that contract, earning two Pro Bowl nods and one First Team All-Pro bid over the past four seasons.

He is unquestionably one of the best left tackles in the league, and as Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network observes, Green Bay would love to get an extension finalized before Week 1 (Twitter link). After all, the LT market is rapidly heating up, and Bakhtiari’s deal now places him outside of the top-10 in terms of average annual value.

When asked back in June if there were any ongoing negotiations with the Packers, the soon-to-be 29-year-old was tight-lipped. Though he did commit 12 penalties in 2019, including a career-high five false starts, he chalked that up to learning a new offensive system. Indeed, he did not commit any penalties in the final four games of the campaign, and if he turns in a typical performance in 2020, he will have every right to demand a contract similar to the monstrous three-year, $66MM pact ($50MM guaranteed) that Laremy Tunsil recently signed with the Texans.

The Packers certainly would like to get Bakhtiari tethered to something a little more team-friendly, so it stands to reason that they would try to lock him up sooner rather than later. That is especially true in light of the expected salary cap decrease in 2021.

In other OL news for Green Bay, offseason acquisition Ricky Wagner left practice with a left arm injury yesterday, as Tom Silverstein and Jim Owczarski of PackersNews.com write. If Wagner misses an extended period of time, look for the club to line up 2019 right guard Billy Turner at right tackle and Lane Taylor at right guard.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Notes: Rodgers, LaFleur, Bakhtiari, Taylor

The Packers’ offense lacked its usual punch in 2019 and, so far, they have yet to add a playmaker this offseason. If the Packers aren’t able to address that need between now and September, head coach Matt LaFleur believes that he can make a difference from the sideline.

It does start with the playcalling, maybe taking a few more chances to try to help generate those plays down the field,” said LaFleur (via ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky). “Typically, if you’re getting explosives, you’ve got a much better chance at scoring points.”

Last year, the Packers ranked 20th in explosive plays – passes of 20 yards or more and runs for at least ten yards. But, as Demovsky notes, it wasn’t the result of a conservative strategy. Aaron Rodgers had the league’s fifth-highest rate of pass attempts for 15+ yards and placed third in attempts for 20+ yards.

For now, the Packers are hoping that wide receiver Devin Funchess, second-round running back A.J. Dillon and third-round tight end Josiah Deguara will make a difference.

Here’s more out of Green Bay:

  • After taking a pay cut in late May, Packers guard Lane Taylor will earn just $910K in base salary this year, according to Demovsky (on Twitter). He’s now set to count for $2.4MM against the cap in his final year under contract, saving the team roughly $3MM against the cap. The Packers now have about $14MM to spend, which could give them some room to add a playmaker for Rodgers.
  • The extra cap room could also help the Packers lock up left tackle David Bakhtiari. In 2016, the Packers made Bakhtiari one of the five highest-paid tackles in the NFL with a four-year, $48MM extension. Now set to enter his final year, Bakhtiari’s value is tough to peg, as Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette writes. Bakhtiari, 29 in September, is one of the league’s best outside protectors, but he did regress slightly in 2019. Last year, he was flagged 12 times, his highest penalty total since 2015. For his part, Bakhtiari says that it was the product of adjusting to a new system. “The false starts are … I mean, that’s just unacceptable,” Bakhtiari said. “That just really comes down to thinking more about the concepts. Also just being new to a bunch of new things that are going on, So I’m taking my thought process away from the cadence. I think I kind of situated that and ironed that out.”
  • The Packers inked rookie Jon Runyan Jr. late last week, officially bringing one of Bakhtiari’s new backups into the fold.

Packers’ Lane Taylor Agrees To Pay Cut

The Packers and Lane Taylor have agreed to revise his contract, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Taylor was originally set to earn a non-guaranteed base salary of $3.8MM for 2020, but it was completely non-guaranteed. Now, the veteran guard will make less than half of that – $1.5MM, with a $100K signing bonus. 

[RELATED: Aaron Jones “Would Love To Be A Lifelong Packer”]

Taylor was a likely release candidate for the Packers, who could have cut him without much in the way of cap consequences. Taylor, a former undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State, started 45 games for the Packers between 2016 and 2018. He started the first two games of 2019 at left guard, but a biceps injury suffered in a September win over the Vikings wiped out his year.

With the reworked deal, Taylor will have a chance to stick on the roster and compete with Elgton Jenkins for the starting left guard spot, opposite of Billy Turner.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Notes: Big Ben, Massie, Rankins

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger underwent elbow surgery today, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The veteran is expected to be ready for the 2020 season. This optimism is similar to what we heard yesterday when we learned about Big Ben’s impending surgery.

Schefter adds that Roethlisberger had surgery on his right elbow. The operation was done by Dr. Neal ElAttrache (in consultation with team physician Jim Bradley) in Los Angeles. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky notes (on Twitter) that this is the same surgeon who operated on Aaron Rodgers collarbone back in 2017.

“Once Ben returns to Pittsburgh, he immediately will begin working with the Steelers’ medical staff on his rehabilitation, and he is expected to make a full recovery and return to the field for the 2020 NFL season,” the Steelers said in a statement (via Schefter).

We learned yesterday that the procedure would repair a muscle tear, and it didn’t involve any ligaments or tendons. Roethlisberger is expected to begin throwing by the spring, and it sounds like he should be good to go come next season.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Bears right tackle Bobby Massie was forced to sit out tonight’s game against the Redskins due to a bout with vertigo, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (via Twitter). The illness apparently popped up today, and it’s uncertain if this is a temporary or long-term issue for the 30-year-old. After starting each of his 46 games during his first three seasons in Chicago, Massie added another two starts to his resume this season.
  • On Saturday, the Packers placed offensive guard Lane Taylor on the injured reserve with a biceps injury, and we now have a bit more clarity on his outlook. Demovsky reports (via Twitter) that the 29-year-old will ultimately need surgery on his left bicep. While the veteran could return from the injured reserve in late November, the operation may sideline him for the rest of the season. Taylor started a pair of games this season before suffering the injury.
  • There’s a chance that Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins sees this field next Sunday night, but Nick Underhill of The Athletic tweets that the 25-year-old is more likely to return in Week 5 or Week 6. The 2016 first-rounder has yet to play in a game this season as he recovers from his Achilles injury. After compiling a career-high eight sacks during the 2018 regular season, Rankins suffered the injury during the divisional round of the playoffs.

Packers Place OL Lane Taylor On IR

Lane Taylor is out for at least the next eight games. The Packers announced that they have placed the starting offensive guard on the injured reserve with a biceps injury.

Taylor, a former undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State, started 45 games for the Packers between the 2016 and 2018 seasons. He started the first two games of 2019 at left guard before suffering the biceps injury during last weekend’s win over the Vikings. The 29-year-old will be eligible to return to the field in late November.

With Taylor sidelined, the Packers will now turn to rookie Elgton Jenkins. The rookie second-rounder out of Mississippi State saw only a pair of snaps during the season opener, but he garnered 21 snaps in Week 2. If the rookie struggles, the Packers could also turn to versatile lineman Alex Light.

In a corresponding move, the Packers signed offensive lineman Adam Pankey off the Titans practice squad. The 6-foot-5, 313-pound was signed by the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He appeared in one game as a rookie before moving on to the Titans practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Hunt, Steelers, Lions, Packers

It turns out Kareem Hunt‘s suspension won’t be as significant as it originally seemed. The Browns’ running back is suspended for the first eight games of the season, but he would’ve missed the first handful of those games anyway. Hunt underwent sports hernia surgery on Thursday, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. The injury will likely sideline Hunt for the next 4-6 weeks, according to a tweet from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The Browns announced in a tweet of their own that a “full recovery is anticipated prior to his return to action in Week 10 of the regular season.” Hunt will be eligible to return from his suspension on November 10th against the Bills. Until then Cleveland’s backfield will still be in good hands, as they have Nick Chubb holding down the fort. Once Hunt returns, the Browns will have a potentially scary one-two punch. Hunt was one of the best running backs in the league before Kansas City cut him last year, scoring 14 touchdowns in just 11 games.

Here’s more from the league’s North divisions:

  • Ben Roethlisberger has a new backup. Second-year player Mason Rudolph has won the competition to be the Steelers’ backup in 2019, sources told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Pittsburgh drafted Rudolph 76th overall last year, and he spent the 2018 season as the third-string passer behind Roethlisberger and Joshua Dobbs. During the preseason Rudolph impressed by completing 65 percent of his passes while throwing four touchdowns and only one interception, and some think he’s a potential heir to Roethlisberger. He hasn’t been cut yet, but it looks like this could be the end of the line for Dobbs, a 2017 fourth-rounder, in Pittsburgh.
  • The Lions gave defensive tackle Damon Harrison an extension last week, and now we have the full details, courtesy of Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. In addition to getting an extra year tacked onto his deal, Harrison also received a $2MM raise for the 2019 season. He also got a $7.5MM signing bonus. His contract now runs through the 2021 season, with an option on the final year that must be exercised by the final day of the 2020 league year.
  • Speaking of Lions contract details, punter Sam Martin had his deal reworked, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Martin had a non-guaranteed base salary of $2.4MM for 2019, which was bumped down to a guaranteed $1.7MM. Yates adds that 2020 is now a voidable year in his contract. Martin took a pay-cut for 2019, but he’ll now get the chance to reach free agency sooner and cash in as a result of the 2020 year becoming voidable when it was previously just non-guaranteed salary.
  •  The Packers have settled on their starting left guard. After a training camp battle between veteran Lane Taylor and rookie Elgton Jenkins, the team has opted to go with Taylor, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “It’s going to be a competition throughout the season, but right now Lane Taylor is the starter,” head coach Matt LaFleur said. Taylor signed with Green Bay as an UDFA back in 2013 and has been with the team ever since. He’s started at least 14 games each of the past three seasons, although his play has been underwhelming at times. The Packers drafted Jenkins 44th overall out of Mississippi State back in April.

Packers, G Lane Taylor Agree To Extension

The Packers announced that they have agreed to an extension with guard Lane Taylor. It’s a three-year, $16.5MM extension, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The deal includes a $5MM signing bonus and gives him $7.8MM overall in 2017. Lane Taylor (vertical)

This time last year, Taylor was thrust into a starting job after the Packers surprised everyone with the release of Josh Sitton. He did well in the new role, grading out as the league’s No. 41 guard among 72 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. In May, he earned a $400K raise for 2017 thanks to performance escalators.

Taylor was one of three Packers offensive linemen to start every game last year, along with David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga. Thanks in part to Taylor and the rest of the O-Line, the Packers’ offense finished top ten in points, yards per game, and first downs in 2016.

Taylor’s previous deal called for him to reach unrestricted free agency in March. Under the terms of the new contract, Taylor will have another opportunity to cash in again at the age of 30.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Redskins, Packers, Cowboys

The Redskins auditioned Josh Norman’s older brother, Marrio Norman, as Nora Princiotti of the Washington Times writes. “Josh has been touting him pretty hard for the last year and a half, so we wanted to give him a shot and give him a look,” head coach Jay Gruden said. “You know, he’s got a skill set. I’ll tell you what, he’s a good player. He’s played in a couple different leagues and runs around out there good.” The elder Norman, who also plays cornerback, last spent time on an NFL roster in 2014 (Baltimore), and also boasts three stints in the Arena Football League.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Lane Taylor has earned a $400K raise for the 2017 season after reaching performance escalators last year, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Taylor, who became the Packers‘ starting left guard after the club surprisingly released Josh Sitton, will now take in a base salary of $2.25MM. Scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next spring once his two-year deal runs out, Taylor graded as the league’s No. 41 guard among 72 qualifiers in 2016, per Pro Football Focus.
  • The Cowboys will officially gain $14MM in cap space on June 2 when Tony Romo‘s release becomes official, and Dallas could use that savings to ink guard Zack Martin to a long-term extension, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com speculates. Martin, 26, is currently signed through the 2018 season thanks to the Cowboys exercising his fifth-year option, but executive VP Stephen Jones has called a Martin deal a “big priority.” As Archer details, Dallas could conceivably frontload Martin’s next contract in an attempt to fully realize the benefit of quarterback Dak Prescott‘s cheap rookie deal.
  • The Texans could find it difficult to replace executive Brian Gaine, whom the Bills hired as vice president of player personnel on Monday, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com details. Gaine had acted as something of a liaison between Houston’s coaching staff and front office, a critical role in an organization where decision-makers haven’t always “been on the same page,” per Breer. In Buffalo, Gaine will oversee the Bills’ pro and college scouting departments.