The Green Bay Packers can now breathe easy knowing one of their two biggest free agents after the 2012-13 season is now signed. Offensive guard T.J. Lang has signed a four-year extension worth $20.8 million with a $5.5 million signing bonus.
Green Bay now has both of their talented guards signed through at least 2016 as right guard Josh Sitton recently inked a five-year extension worth $33.75 million with a $6 million signing bonus. It is great to know quarterback Aaron Rodgers will have solid protection guarding him on both sides for years to come.
Since Lang will be receiving an average of $5.2 million per season, he must know big-time expectations come with those paychecks. Like Sitton, he will be expected to play his position at the highest level, which means protecting Rodgers at all costs. Sacks are not an option and allowing defenders through the line will not be tolerated. He will also be expected to become a leader on the line and help any new players that might fill in for injuries or when the team acquires a new center after Jeff Saturday retires.
It is true Lang could have gotten more money in free agency but he understands playing for the Packers is a privilege and the chance of pocketing a couple more rings is too hard to pass up. Not to mention, the $5.5 million signing bonus is always nice to have up front.
Typically, the kind of money Lang and Sitton are receiving goes to the left tackle, which is one of the most important positions on the football team (if the quarterback is right handed). However, general manager Ted Thompson’s philosophy is that it is hard to come by athletic big men in the NFL and if it is possible to acquire them across the entire offensive line, then the team must do whatever it takes to keep them for the long haul.
It is no secret the Packers have a window of opportunity that will close at some point in the near future. This means they must capitalize on every season as long as they have Rodgers and the rest of the young, talented core intact. Speaking of which, now that Green Bay has signed Lang they can now turn their attention to inking an extension with Greg Jennings before he hits free agency. Jennings is arguably one of the best wide receivers in the game and is someone the Packers cannot lose.