The Green Bay Packers are famously good at drafting offensive linemen. Amazingly, all of their best current linemen were drafted outside of the first round. David Bakhtiari was a fourth round pick (2013). Starting center Josh Myers was a second round pick last season. Jon Runyan Jr., the starting left guard, was drafted in the sixth round (2020). Royce Newman, the projected starter at right guard, was selected in the fourth round (2021). Of course, their other projected starting lineman, Elgton Jenkins, was drafted in the second round in the 2019 NFL Draft. Now entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract, there have been talks, especially among fans on social media, about whether or not Jenkins will get a contract extension before the season is over. According to NFL insider Matt Lombardo, no talks have begun.
Why Haven’t the Packers Engaged in Contract Talks with Elgton Jenkins?
In short, it all comes down to that ACL. While Jenkins appears to be ready to come back from the injury well ahead of schedule, the team reportedly wants to make sure that there are no setbacks with it. Before getting injured, Jenkins was projected to be an All-Pro as a left tackle. In 2020, he was named to the Pro Bowl as a left guard. That was the same season in which he appeared at each of the five offensive line positions.
Elgton Jenkins, according to an NFL evaluator that talked to Heavy.com, “may be the biggest Swiss-Army Knife along the offensive line in the league. He can play both tackle positions, and was on pace to be an All-Pro before he got hurt last year.” That versatility, though, is where there may be some questions in terms of money.
The Money Question
According to spotrac.com, Elgton Jenkins is projected to have a market value of a four-year $55.87 million contract. This is approximately $13.9 million per season. The projection is based on the assumption that the Packers will view him as a right tackle. The annual salary of this projection would make him the sixth-highest paid right tackle in the NFL. Indeed, Jenkins is expected to start at right tackle for the Packers this season.
The question, though, is whether or not the Packers will view him as a tackle going forward. As mentioned, he is already a Pro Bowl guard. Assuming both can stay healthy, a left-side made up of Jenkins and David Bakhtiari would be the best blind-side protection Aaron Rodgers (or Jordan Love) could ask for. The difference in money made between guards and tackles is significant. No doubt, Jenkins will want to be viewed as a tackle. Will the Packers agree? That remains to be seen.
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