Packers: Four players whose future will be determined in final five games

Green Bay Packers, Preston Smith (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Preston Smith (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers, Corey Linsley
Green Bay Packers, Corey Linsley (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Corey Linsley

Corey Linsley is having a career-year and has been simply phenomenal when healthy this season. Linsley ranks inside the top three among all centers in ESPN’s pass block and run block win rate metrics. Playing at an All-Pro level, the Packers’ longtime starter in the middle of the offensive line is making a very strong case for a new contract.

However, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Linsley is expected to miss 3-6 weeks with an MCL sprain. Elgton Jenkins has filled in for Linsley in recent weeks and been excellent.

Linsley is going to earn a big deal wherever he signs. After extending David Bakhtiari and Kenny Clark’s contracts, can the Packers afford to also give Linsley a new deal?

Along with the potential salary cap concerns, the Packers also have great depth along the offensive line. Linsley hasn’t missed much time in his career and while he has played in all 11 games this year, he’s been off the field for 15 percent of the offensive snaps, according to Pro Football Reference.

In recent weeks when Linsley has been out of the lineup, second-year star Jenkins has stepped up and, unsurprisingly, played incredibly well.

Linsley has nothing to prove. He’s one of the best centers in football. But if Jenkins steps in and the offensive line doesn’t miss a beat in the final five games, the Packers may decide they have the depth to move on.