In their third move of the day, the Green Bay Packers will release right tackle Billy Turner, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Earlier today, the Packers gave Preston Smith a four-year extension and released fellow pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith in moves that collectively saved Green Bay north of $23 million in 2022 cap space, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. According to Demovsky, the release of Turner will add another $3.14 million in cap space to team’s 2022 ledger, clearing up roughly $27 million of cap space between the three moves.
Turner, like the Smiths, was signed in the 2019 free agency frenzy that set up Green Bay’s 39-win three-year stretch. Turner, prior to release, was set to play on the final year of his four-year, $28 million contract. He started in 43 games for the Packers over three years and steadily improved during his time in Green Bay. By midseason last year, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was advocating for Turner to be recognized as a Pro Bowl right tackle while the Packers’ left tackle situation was a revolving door due to injury.
Aaron Rodgers: Billy Turner needs consideration for the Pro Bowl— Justis Mosqueda (@JuMosq) October 19, 2021
If you want to know how tight the margins are for the Packers, this is a sign. The team is losing a bookend who only saves them a special teamer’s salary on the salary cap to attempt to keep this team together, despite the fact that Turner had played well enough to earn the starting left tackle spot in Green Bay’s divisional-round loss to the San Francisco 49ers in January.
Assuming that left tackle David Bakhtiari returns to full health, it looks like there will be an opportunity for offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins to earn the full-time right tackle job in Green Bay now. Jenkins, who has spent most of his time at left guard, has played all five positions on the line and was even the team’s starting left tackle, when healthy, last season. Both Bakhtiari and Jenkins are coming off of ACL injuries, with Bakhtiari’s originally occurring in 2020 before setbacks due to a swollen knee.
As of this point, our best guess for the Packers’ starting 2022 offensive line is Bakhtiari, Jon Runyan, Josh Myers, Royce Newman and Jenkins (left to right.)