The Green Bay Packers got only limited contributions out of veteran offensive guard Lane Taylor in 2019. After starting at left guard for the previous three years, Taylor lost his grip on the job in training camp, with rookie Elgton Jenkins coming for it.
Taylor still started in the first two games of the season, but week two saw Jenkins working his way on the field at that position in Taylor’s place. The following week, Taylor went on injured reserve with a biceps injury, and his 2019 season was done, but it was a fait accompli that Jenkins was going to start sooner rather than later. The injury may have simply put a less-embarrassing face on Taylor’s inevitable benching.
Entering the final year of his contract in 2020, Taylor was scheduled to have a cap hit of $5.4 million, a large number for a player without a starting job. That led to wide speculation about Taylor being released this offseason for cap purposes, but he remained on the roster throughout free agency and the NFL Draft process.
Now, we have an idea why. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Taylor has accepted a pay cut, dropping his total compensation and cap hit by $3 million. The new deal leaves him set to earn just $1.5 million this year. Due to past signing bonuses and cap rules, that leaves him with just a $2.4 million cap hit. With that said, Taylor can earn back another $1.5 million this year through incentives, according to Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Based on this news, it appears that the Packers have a role in mind for Taylor, or at least one that he can compete for in training camp. He could be a candidate to back up both guard positions, or the Packers could consider putting him and Billy Turner in competition for the starting right guard job.
Of course, the Packers could still release Taylor in training camp and take only a modest cap hit. Based on signing bonus and workout bonus money that would be paid out at that point, the Packers would have $1.44 million in dead money if they cut him before the regular season starts, saving them just under a million dollars.
Time will tell whether Taylor sticks around for another year in Green Bay, but this is a big step towards that happening.