The Green Bay Packers haven’t been very good at guard this season. Obviously, the days of an in-their-prime tandem of Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang are long gone.
The Packers highest-graded guard on the season is Justin McCray at 69.2. He hasn’t played since week 3, first because of injury and then because of Mike McCarthy’s infinite wisdom. Lane Taylor (63.4) has been average and Byron Bell (50.0) has been substandard.
In hindsight, the move to these two guys — or two guys just like them — was inevitable.
Sitton is 32 and was put on injured reserve by the Miami Dolphins in September. This was after getting released by the Stink Chicago Bears this past offseason. Now, 31-year-old T.J. Lang has suffered the same fate.
The Detroit Lions put Lang on IR this week. He only played in six games this season because of a concussion and back, neck and hip injuries. He only finished one game.
Sitton played in only one game for the Dolphins. He missed six in his two years with the Bears.
That perhaps wouldn’t be notable, except these were regular 16-game starters in their Packers’ tenures.
There was no doubt furor when the Packers — when Big Ted — unceremoniously released Sitton in 2016. There was much furor when the Packers let Lang sign with the Lions in 2017.
Now those moves don’t look so bad. Yes, these were two beloved Packers. They always will be. These are two guys who played through injuries on the regular.
Maybe that’s why they are where they are now. And I couldn’t tell you if the Packers broke them or they broke themselves, so I won’t get into that.
Sitton got a two-year deal with Miami for $13.5 million. The Dolphins would save $5 million by releasing him after the season.
Lang got a three-year, $28.5 million deal with the Lions. They would save $9 million by releasing him after the season.
That’s likely how things are going to go for both players.
It’s not as if Lane Taylor and, first Jahri Evans, and now Byron Bell have replaced Sitton and Lang very well. It’s clear the Packers don’t really value the guard position. But they probably need to find another quality guard, if not two, going forward.
However, it is clear they thought both Sitton and Lang were going to break down sooner rather than later. That has happened. So they look pretty smart about it now.