Two big question marks for Packers offensive line entering free agency and draft
The offensive line of the Green Bay Packers could be one of the most stable position groups on the team’s roster entering the offseason, but the starting five isn’t without question marks, and how general manager Brian Gutekunst approaches the group in free agency and the draft should provide some clues.
Here are two big questions the Packers need to answer along the offensive line this offseason:
Who plays center?
Josh Myers, a second-round pick in 2021, is the likely starter here, right? The 24-year-old is entering Year 3 after starting at center each of his first two seasons. But consider this: among centers that played at least 300 snaps at the position last season, Myers ranked 27th in overall PFF grade, mostly because of poor run-blocking grades. Would the Packers consider playing Zach Tom at center? The team still feels center could be his best position, and the Packers need to find a way to get Tom on the field in a full-time role in 2023. Maybe an open competition at center between Myers and Tom this summer is the way to go. Don’t rule it out.
Who plays right tackle?
The options here are many, and the decision-making process begins with Yosh Nijman, who is a restricted free agent. The Packers can give Nijman the second-round tender at around $4 million and lock him in as the likely starter at right tackle. Then again, Nijman looked shaky at times (especially in Week 18) after moving from left tackle to right tackle last season, and the Packers will have other options, including Zach Tom, Rasheed Walker, Caleb Jones, Luke Tenuta or a top pick in the draft. Ideally, Nijman would return, take another developmental step forward and provide a highly capable right tackle starter in 2023. But the Packers have other young players they want to develop already on the roster, and Tom needs a starting spot next season.
The other spots
David Bakhtiari is likely locked in at left tackle, especially if the team figures out a restructure this month. Elgton Jenkins was excellent down the stretch at left guard and locked up long-term, and Jon Runyan Jr. is a starter at right guard. It’s certainly possible the Packers see Josh Myers as the unquestioned starter at center, too, which would leave right tackle as the lone question mark. And fortunately for the Packers, there are several intriguing options and easy ways to ensure the depth at the position is solid.