The Green Bay Packers have a handful of key players hitting the open market this offseason. That list includes Pro Bowl right guard T.J. Lang, who just completed his eight seasons with the team. While Lang could in during free agency, the veteran says he wants to remain in Green Bay.
"I think everybody in this locker room knows that this is where I want to play," Lang told Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "I've been saying that since the beginning. I love this team, I love Green Bay, I love everything about being a Packer. I love representing the city and the team. I want to be back. It's not up to me. This is where I want to be."
Lang has played as well as all but a few guards across the league over the past few seasons and could almost certainly command one of the larger salaries for a player at his position should he seek it out. However, he has also increasingly dealt with injuries over the last few years, undergoing multiple shoulder surgeries after the 2015 season along with foot and hip scopes scheduled for the coming months. Lang also turns 30 at the beginning of next season, making him one of the older starting guards in the NFL.
At the same time, the Packers don't have a clear succession plan should Lang depart in free agency. Don Barclay and Jason Spriggs played the position at times this year, but neither did so at a high level. Furthermore, Spriggs projects better at tackle. Green Bay could shift Bryan Bulaga inside to guard, but that appears highly unlikely given the caliber of his 2016 season.
The Packers could also start JC Tretter at guard, a position under which they list him on the team website. However, Tretter has also dealt with a number of injuries and recently had surgery performed on his knee. Like Lang, he becomes a free agent this offseason.
So while the Packers often choose to let older players like Lang depart, they might reconsider given the alternatives. The team can roll over nearly $8 million of cap space from 2016, which gives them plenty of flexibility with which to work out a deal.