Packers 2020 offseason position review: Offensive line

Green Bay Packers, David Bakhtiari (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, David Bakhtiari (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers’ offensive line played at an elite level in 2019, but there are some important questions ahead of free agency.

Changes were made along the offensive line during the 2019 offseason with the addition of versatile free-agent signing Billy Turner and second-round pick Elgton Jenkins.

The aim was to strengthen the interior positions along the offensive line, an area of need following the 2018 season.

Let’s take a look back at a strong season for the offensive line.

2019 season review

A strength of the Packers offense in recent years has been the play of the offensive line. Led by the play of tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga, this was no different in 2019.

Bakhtiari was named an All-Pro for the fourth consecutive season and also ranked first among tackles in the NFL in ESPN’s pass block win rate metric. Bakhtiari continues to show why he’s one of the best in the league at his position.

And the entire offensive line played their part in pass protection.

Center Corey Linsley also ranked first at his position in pass block win rate. Among guards, first-year Jenkins ranked eighth. The Packers offensive line was first in the NFL in the same metric.

Jenkins was by far the Packers’ rookie of the year. He got his opportunity in Week 3 against the Denver Broncos following an injury to starter Lane Taylor. It’s fair to assume Jenkins will be the Packers’ starter at left guard for many years following his excellent rookie season.

Overall, the Packers’ offensive line played at an elite level. Pro Football Focus ranked the line sixth in the NFL following the regular season.

What’s next in 2020?

Four of the five starters along the offensive line are under contract: Bakhtiari, Jenkins, Linsley and Turner.

The biggest question is the future of Bulaga. He’s still very close to the elite tier of tackles in the NFL, but he’ll turn 31 in March and has a long injury history. If a team is willing to pay more than the Packers, he might have played his final game in Green Bay.

If so, tackle would rise up the list of needs for the Packers this offseason. Turner could be the short-term solution, which could maybe result in Lane Taylor taking Turner’s current role at right guard.

It’ll be interesting to see the Packers’ plans with Taylor. If Turner doesn’t move to tackle, Taylor likely won’t be a starter. But he’ll have a salary cap hit of just under $6 million in 2020, according to Spotrac, which is a lot to pay for a backup. Green Bay could make a cap saving of over $4 million should Brian Gutekunst decide to release Taylor.

The futures of Bulaga and Taylor will be key talking points as we move closer to free agency. Whether Bulaga returns will determine how big of a need tackle is this offseason.