The Green Bay Packers need to find a way to get over the hump and into the Super Bowl. They might have to do so with a new center.
Packers center Corey Linsley said Thursday that while he doesn’t necessarily want to leave Green Bay, he feels as if his departure is coming in March.
“We’re not closing the door for anything,” Linsley told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Obviously we’d never do that for any team, especially the Packers, but yeah it definitely feels weird. Looks like all signs are pointing towards snapping the ball somewhere else next year.”
The center is hitting free agency just before he turns 30 in July, and he’ll reach the open market as the best center in football, according to Pro Football Focus’ player grades. Linsley posted the highest offensive grade among all centers, while remaining steady in both pass blocking and run blocking in 2020, per PFF.
The quarterback he snapped the ball to, Aaron Rodgers, ended up winning AP NFL Most Valuable Player, bringing sense to why Linsley might not be all that eager to leave for a new club. The Packers, though, are still tasked with finding their way back below the cap, currently sitting at roughly $11 million over the cap floor provided by the league at this point.
If Linsley does indeed leave the Packers, he’ll command a strong salary that will likely place him among the top 10 centers in the league. The only detriment to his earning power is his age. At 30 years old, a lucrative, long-term deal is less likely, but he should still be able to cash in for the next few years with a team willing to spend to improve an important position.
Linsley said no matter where he might land, his process will not change, adding he’s working toward the 2021 season per usual, even if his destination remains unknown. His departure would be a loss for the Packers, of course, but in a league designed to produce parity, every team has to find a way to account for losses somewhere.