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‘Mutual interest’ in free agent OL Jon Runyan Jr. returning to Packers

The expiring contract of 50-game starter Jon Runyan Jr. does not mean the 2020 draft pick is certain to depart Green Bay this offseason. According to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic, Runyan’s reps met with the Packers during the NFL Scouting Combine and there is “mutual interest” in Runyan returning on a new deal in 2024.

Runyan, a sixth-round pick in 2020, has started 50 of the Packers’ last 51 regular season games, plus three playoff games. Between 2021 and 2023, he played over 3,000 snaps on offense.

Runyan battled through injury and inconsistency during the 2023 season and eventually settled into a rotation with Sean Rhyan, a 2022 third-round pick, at right guard. Over the final four regular season games, the split between Runyan and Rhyan was nearly 50-50.

The emergence of Rhyan as a starting option and Runyan’s expiring contract might have set the stage for the Packers to transition at right guard and Runyan to explore a starting opportunity elsewhere. But Schneidman’s report underlines the team’s desire to keep Runyan, who turns 27 in August, if the price is “right” for both sides.

According to PFF, Runyan allowed 22 pressures and two sacks while committing a career-high six penalties across 19 games (including playoffs) in 2023. Among guards with at least 600 snaps played, Runyan’s overall grade ranked 41st. His pass-blocking efficiency ranked sixth.

Runyan’s career pass-blocking efficiency is 98.1, highlighting his ability to prevent pressures in the passing game from either the left or right side.

Although the cost to retain Runyan wouldn’t likely be significant, the Packers must also factor in a strong offensive line class in the 2024 draft and the team’s 11 draft picks when determining whether or not to allocate cap dollars to a veteran player who has been solid but occasionally inconsistent for much of his first four seasons.

Among the Packers’ unrestricted free agents entering the new league year, Runyan played the most total snaps last season.

Runyan’s four-year rookie deal paid him a little over $5.2 million. He earned a Proven Performance Escalator in 2023, the final year of his rookie deal.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire