For three years, Lane Taylor was a critical backup on the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line. Taylor was a starter for three more seasons before suffering back-to-back season-ending injuries and giving way to a younger player.
Now, he is headed out of Green Bay, signing a free agent contract with a team closer to home. Taylor, a native of Arlington, Texas, is returning to his home state on a one-year deal with the Houston Texans, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. In doing so, he will rejoin his former offensive line coach in Green Bay, James Campen, who currently holds the same position in Houston.
Taylor’s career saw him exceed all expectations. He signed with the Packers as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2013, then made the 53-man roster out of training camp as a backup guard. After three years backing up Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang, Taylor inherited the starting left guard job when the Packers abruptly released Sitton just before final cuts at the end of training camp in 2016.
The next three years would see Taylor start all but three possible games, primarily at the left guard spot. Taylor did not miss a single offensive snap in 2016 and was a steady presence on the interior through 2018. Taylor even made a memorable (and highly successful) start at left tackle in a 2017 Thursday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears that saw David Bakhtiari out with an injury.
In 2019, the Packers changed coaching staffs and selected Elgton Jenkins in the second round of the NFL Draft. Taylor earned the starting job for week one over the rookie, but Jenkins played a few snaps in weeks 1 and 2 before Taylor suffered a torn biceps muscle, ending his season. He then moved to the right side and earned the starting job in camp for 2020, but tore his ACL in week one and spent the remainder of the season — the final year of his contract — on injured reserve.
With Green Bay losing center Corey Linsley to free agency and facing the prospect of moving a young guard like Jenkins or Lucas Patrick to center, bringing a veteran like Taylor back on a veteran minimum contract seemed a decent option to provide some stability and depth. However, there has been no significant sign of interest on the team’s part, despite Taylor’s clear desire to continue his playing career.
Now Taylor will do so in Houston, playing for a coach with whom he is very familiar.