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An Insurance Policy at Center May Be in Order for Packers

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An Insurance Policy at Center May Be in Order for Packers

Free agent center Kyle Cook started 66 games for the Cincinnati Bengals the past six seasons. Photo by  Andrew Weber—USA TODAY Sports.

Free agent center Kyle Cook started 66 games for the Cincinnati Bengals the past six seasons. Photo by Andrew Weber—USA TODAY Sports.

Good thing for the Green Bay Packers, they don't need both J.C. Tretter and Corey Linsley to be stars in the NFL. It would be nice if they did, but it's also unlikely.

The Packers will be happy if just one of the two steps up and becomes a reliable starter and exchange partner to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, arguably the most valuable player in the NFL.

Unfortunately, there's also a possibility that both players flop.

Thankfully, there was no indication during the recently completed offseason program that either Tretter or Linsley aren't up to the task. But they also have yet to don pads in an NFL environment and won't until the start of training camp in late July.

The reality of the situation is, this is a pair of players that have yet to play a single snap in a professional football game, preseason included.

Potentially, neither player will be up to snuff. Maybe Tretter suffers from the lingering effects of a broken ankle last season, and perhaps Linsley is just overmatched and overwhelmed in his rookie season.

This isn't the Packers testing out a new punter; this is a player tasked with protecting the most-expensive investment in the entire league and opening up holes for Eddie Lacy.

After releasing injured running back Johnathan Franklin two weeks ago, there's one spot open on the 90-man offseason roster.

Maybe it's time for the Packers to bring in a veteran center, just in case.

The risk involved in signing a player like a Kyle Cook or a Samson Satele or a Fernando Velasco is minimal. All three aforementioned players are 30 years old or younger and all have at some point started all 16 games in an NFL season.

Seeing as they're all free agents as of July 1, none is likely to command a contract above the NFL minimum salary nor do they have the leverage to ask for any guaranteed money.

In addition to other available free agents such as David Baas, Brad Meester and Ryan Cook, each player brings some baggage be it age or injuries or merely mediocre play.

But at least each of these veterans has been there, done that. They've been in the trenches before. They've been around the block and other clichés. That's worth something, especially considering the uncertainty at center in Green Bay.

If the Packers happen to sign say, Kyle Cook, and he doesn't pan out, so be it. Or if Tretter or Linsley are the real deal, great.

There's a reason teams get a 90-man roster in the offseason. The Packers have two months until the start of the regular season, plenty of time to figure out Plan B, even Plan C.

The Packers should have learned a year ago that going into a season with an unproven safety backfired. M.D. Jennings didn't pan out and the defense suffered as a result.

Signing a veteran center isn't the long-term solution. Undoubtedly, it's a stop-gap, a band aid.

But it might be a better scenario than Rodgers getting banged around because Tretter and Linsley aren't ready for prime time.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (22) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Evan's picture

Been saying this for months - no harm in bringing in a cheap, veteran center just in case.

I fully expect Tretter to take the job and not look back, but you never know.

RC Packer Fan's picture

yeah, there is no harm in that.

I could see them doing something like that, but probably will wait to see how Tretter and Linsley look in a couple of preseason games first.

The part that I am ok with starting a 1st year player is that they have 1 pro bowl guard and 1 very good guard next to him. If they were starting young guards I would be very skeptical of a new starting center.

It should be a good battle to see which one starts.

Tarynfor12's picture

"The Packers are under no obligation to either clear Jolly or sign him, however, they do have one spot open on their 90-man offseason roster after injured running back Johnathan Franklin was released a little over a week ago."

"After releasing injured running back Johnathan Franklin two weeks ago, there's one spot open on the 90-man offseason roster.
Maybe it's time for the Packers to bring in a veteran center, just in case."

Just how many open 90th roster spots does this team have...LOL

Stroh's picture

4 words.... Not Going To Happen! Nor should it..

COW's picture

pass

Bearmeat's picture

The problem with this idea Brian is that every rep that is taken from a young guy is one less rep for them to improve. The veteran guys have already hit their ceilings (and IMO all three currently are descending players).

I understand the risk (a la McMuffin and the Dr. last year) but the preseason is 5 weeks long. So I agree with RC.

IF both Tretter and Linsey bomb (not likely), then about 2 weeks in you bring in the old vet for 1 year at the minimum, teach him the playbook, and give the young uns 1 more year to grow.

Not a bad place to be.,

Evan's picture

My thinking is being a vet, they won't need many reps.

But this would be valuable time they could be learning the playbook in case disaster strikes.

Clay Zombo's picture

They are 3 deep at center so from a numbers standpoint adding to the position is unnecessary but Tretter, Linsley and Gerhart could all benefit from them bringing in a veteran center even if they have no intention of letting him compete for the job.

Stroh's picture

How is wasting a roster spot on a player they have no intention is letting compete much less earn a roster spot worth anything? They could pick up a young player they think has potential and work w/ him to find out. Kinda like Boykin who is now, basically a starter? Doesn't that make A LOT more sense?

Packers will hold onto the roster spot till they find a young player they like. They won't bring in a guy they have no intention of even letting compete for a job. The only caveat is if they are waiting for Jolly to pass the Packers medical to sign him.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Sounds like a good idea to me. I think we should learn from McMillan and Jennings not panning out and GB had a much longer look at them ( and they played in actual NFL games) than they have had with Tretter and Linsley. I agree with Clay that bringing in a veteran center might help the rookies. I do not think the 90th spot on the roster is a giant deal. That being said, on another site this topic was discussed (prior to the draft - it was when Chicago signed De la Puente) and the vast majority of commenters did not think signing a vet center was a good idea. At the least I think GB should keep an eye out on the availability of veteran centers that they think might be serviceable.

ben's picture

Center Depth Chart:

1.Tretter 2.Barclay 3.Linsey 4.Lang (Bulaga 2 RG, Sharrod 2 RT)

We're fine

We need to trade a WR, preferably Adams.

WR: 1.Cobb, 2.Jordy, 3.Boykin, 4.Abbrederis, 5.Jeff Janis, 6.Harper

Tolzien, Adams, 2015Round2 } 4 { Cleveland's: 2015Round1

Evan's picture

You're adorable.

Stroh's picture

If adorable=idiotic, I agree

Stroh's picture

Put Abbrederis o the PS where he belongs (and needs to be) and there's room for Adams. Even Janis probably needs a yr on thr PS.

4thand1's picture

Put him on the PS and he'll be gone. Book it.

Stroh's picture

That just doesn't happen very often. I don't think its a given. Even if he gets picked up... Big Deal! He's a career backup at best. Would be more bothered losing Janis. Get over the Badger Homerism.

ben's picture

BOOK IT U DUMAS. How do you think we got Harper?

Jared is legit, Stroh is full of shit.

Stroh's picture

WOW you proved me wrong w/ ONE example, and I'll give you a 2nd w/ Charles Johnson, now give me a few more w/o looking it up?

Like I said.... So we lose a career backup! Big Deal! Its not like Abbrederis is going to F'in beat out Cobb for the starting slot WR job. And he certainly isn't an outside WR! At this point I would MUCH rather lose Abbrederis than Janis and Harper.

He shouldn't even be the returner unless we're desperate. Harris at KR and Cobb/Hyde at PR.

jmac34's picture

Jeez let's at least see these guys in pads before we say they are practice squad bound or should be traded away.

Aeric's picture

Dear Cow,
Please fucki&g forgo comments like for example: "pass". I mean how much of a butthole do you have to be to run that into the conversation? How about if you're not going to be a total asshat like usual you just shut up?

COW's picture

nah.

aManOfTheNorth's picture

wow...fewer and fewer commenters saying stranger and stranger things.... Training camp can not come soon enough.

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