While the Green Bay Packers were able to keep Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones on the eve of free agency, All-Pro center Corey Linsley signed with the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday. The veteran center was scheduled to make $8 million this season with a cap hit of $9 million. He'll make just over $1 million in 2019 before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Linsley's departure leaves the Packers with no experienced backups behind starter Ted Larsen. Second-year player Ethan Westbrooks will likely be the favorite to win the job if he can stay healthy after missing most of his rookie season with a knee injury. The team also has second-year man Patrick Lewis available as a reserve/flexibility candidate.
It's been reported that the Packers will not be pursuing any other centers this month. They could look to add depth at another position or try to move some of their cap space over from Linsley by trading for someone in advance of the NFL draft in April.
Linsley was one of Green Bay's best players during its run to Super Bowl LII. He started every game at center for the Packers during the regular season and played all but two minutes of their playoff game. His absence will be felt greatly by an inexperienced group that includes both rookies in Westbrooks and Lewis.
The Los Angeles Chargers According to NFL Network, veteran center Corey Linsley has agreed to terms on a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, leaving the Packers to become the NFL's highest-paid center and Justin Herbert's newest AFC West guardian. The deal will pay Linsley $30 million over the course of the agreement.
Linsley, 30, started all 16 games for Green Bay in 2017 after signing with the team as an unrestricted free agent following nine seasons with the Chicago Bears. He was named to his first Pro Bowl this past January after registering his second consecutive 100-tackle season.
In 216 career games (16 with Green Bay, 200 with Chicago), Linsley has 1,079 tackles, 36 sacks, eight interceptions and two touchdowns. He's also thrown four passes in his career for another touchdown.
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said after Wednesday's practice that Linsley will be replacing Russell Bodine at center. Bodine suffered a neck injury during the third quarter of last week's loss to the Oakland Raiders and was placed on injured reserve.
Bodine is expected to remain sidelined for several weeks, so the Chargers are looking to Linsley to provide some stability at the position while they search for his replacement.
Packers center Corey Linsley departs after signing a free agency contract with the Los Angeles Chargers. The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports that the team will receive a 2018 seventh-round draft pick if Linsley plays one game for the Chargers this season.
Linsley started all 16 games at center for the Packers in 2017 and was selected to his first Pro Bowl. The Green Bay, Wisconsin native signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State in 2013. He has played every offensive line position during his career with the Packers except for guard where he has only appeared once. Linsley is expected to compete with Andrew Norwell for the starting center job in San Diego.
In 2016, Linsley started 13 games at center for the Packers and helped protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers' blind side while he recovered from a broken collarbone. He received multiple awards in 2017 including being named to his first Pro Bowl. Linsley entered the NFL as a potential future star at center but due to injuries suffered early in his career, he was forced to play left tackle instead. However, since moving back to center, he has become one of the best in the league at that position.
Running back Aaron Jones has officially signed his new contract with the Green Bay Packers, thirteen days after the initial agreement. On Friday, the club confirmed his re-signing. Jones, who will make his first Pro Bowl in 2020, has signed to a four-year contract with the Packers. He will make $933,333 in cash plus another $3 million in bonuses and incentives.
He joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and was immediately named the starter at running back after Eddie Lacy was traded to Seattle that year. In 2017, he became just the third rookie in NFL history to have more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage when he finished with 997 yards and nine touchdowns. In 2018, he topped those numbers again with 1,410 rushing yards and ten scores. Jones also caught 43 passes for 397 yards and three TDs.
The 25-year-old from Aledo, Illinois, made the Pro Bowl last season after recording 1,124 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. He also had 44 catches for 394 yards and two scores.
In 2019, Jones set a single-season record for most 100-yard games by a Packers player with nine. He also had five rushes of 60 yards or longer, second only to Jim Brown's six in 1957. His nine total touchdowns were one off the league lead.