The NFL can be a fickle business, one with little room for sentiment. Few players have had as enjoyable a sentiment for Green Bay Packers fans who live in or near Green Bay itself than when the Packers drafted Cole Van Lanen in the 6th round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Van Lanen grew up in Green Bay and attended Bay Port High School. He went on to play for the University of Wisconsin, where he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior in 2020, graduated with a degree in personal finance, and made 19 total starts at left tackle. The Packers selected him with the 214th overall pick in last year’s draft, and although he did not make the 53-man roster last season, he spent the year on the practice squad, being activated to the expanded gameday roster three times late in the season.
This summer, however, after the Packers drafted three offensive linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft, Van Lanen found himself in a difficult battle for a backup spot on the line. He has been running with the second-string line, primarily at left guard, but with the returns of David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins from the PUP list, spots on the line are growing thin.
On Tuesday, with the Packers facing a cut-down to 80 players in the afternoon, Van Lanen finds himself on the move. According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, the Packers are trading Van Lanen to the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for an undisclosed draft pick.
In trading Van Lanen, the Packers are giving him a chance to latch on with another NFL team, while also getting back some minimal compensation. The draft pick is likely a conditional 7th-rounder that may be based on whether he makes the Jaguars’ roster in 2022.
UPDATE: The trade is officially listed on the transaction wire on Tuesday afternoon, and the draft pick coming back to Green Bay is the Jaguars’ 7th-rounder in the 2023 NFL Draft. The draft pick is not conditional.
This move effectively locks in roster spots for eight linemen: Bakhtiari, Jenkins, Yosh Nijman, Jon Runyan, Jr., Josh Myers, Royce Newman, Sean Rhyan, and Zach Tom. The Packers seem likely to keep guard/center Jake Hanson on the roster as well, with the only major question being if they will keep a tenth player on the unit.
The Packers now sit at 82 players and will need to make two additional moves to get down to 80 by 4:00 PM Eastern.