The Green Bay Packers have been shuffling around a bit of money in the past few weeks, and now the reason for that has become clear. On a frigid Friday morning, news has broken that the Packers have locked up offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins to a new contract.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the contract extension will run for four years and carry a base value of $68 million, with incentives that could increase the value up to $74 million. That base value equates to $17 million per year, a deal that makes him the second-highest-paid interior offensive lineman in the NFL behind only the Colts’ Quenton Nelson.
UPDATE: According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, the deal has a signing bonus of $24 million.
Jenkins was set to become a free agent in the offseason. A second-round pick in 2019 out of Mississippi State, he has started at nearly every position on the offensive line for the Packers, largely settling in at left guard. However, he has also started games at center, left tackle, and right tackle as an injury replacement for key starters at those spots.
After a Pro Bowl season in 2020 that saw him mostly playing guard, Jenkins played left tackle in 2021 due to David Bakhtiari’s ACL tear. Jenkins tore his own ACL after playing eight games, however, and was eventually able to return to the field for week 2 of this year. He slotted in at right tackle, with David Bakhtiari still on the recovery track and Yosh Nijman playing on the left side, but Jenkins moved back to his familiar left guard position at midseason when Bakhtiari returned and Nijman shifted to the right side.
Although his 2022 started out rough as he returned from injury, Jenkins’ play has been steadily improving of late and he appears to be much closer to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro caliber player that he was in his second season. That may be a reason for the Packers’ willingness to extend him now to avoid having to negotiate with Jenkins’ team during free agency in the spring.
While this team will still face some questions about the rest of their line moving forward, the interior appears solid with starters Jenkins, Josh Myers, and Jon Runyan, Jr. all now under contract for at least 2023.