What Are the Odds Green Bay Resigns T.J. Lang?

T.J. Lang hasn’t heard from the Packers yet, and free agency is rapidly approaching. Green Bay has historically allowed their free agents to test the market, and it appears Lang will be no different.

On this week’s episode of Blue 58, Jon Meerdink and Gary Zilavy discussed Lang’s chances of returning to the Packers. The following is a transcript of the conversation, lightly edited for clarity.

Jon Meerdink: What odds do you put on TJ Lang returning to the Packers?

Gary Zilavy: I think it’s really low, about 20-25%. I say that because Ted Thompson doesn’t sign veterans to their third contract. We saw that in 2005, right?

JM: Yeah, we have. In 2005, the situation wasn’t that guys were coming up on new contracts, though. Guards Marco Rivera and Mike Wahle were both released by the Packers heading into that season. Both seemed to be in really good shape for at least a few years to come. You know, I had forgotten that Wahle was only 27 years old. He figured to have several good years ahead of him. Rivera goes on to sign a relatively weighty deal with the Dallas Cowboys. But he’s never the same again, and he doesn’t play out that deal. The same with Wahle. He goes on and signs with the Carolina Panthers, and he ends up making the Pro Bowl in his first year but is released a season later. He’s basically done in the NFL after that. If the past is prologue, this shows how Ted Thompson handles his guards and that doesn’t bode well for T.J. Lang coming back to the Packers. I’m with you, I’d put it at under 30%. Is there a chance you could see him go out, test the market, and then come back to the Packers on a lower deal than he’s expecting?

GZ: Absolutely. It reminds me a bit of when Chad Clifton hit free agency at the tail end of his career. He had a meeting with the Redskins, and fans were freaking out that Green Bay wasn’t going to resign him. I think you let Lang go out there and see what the market looks like. If anything else, Lane Taylor’s performance this year almost hurts T.J. Lang because the Packers’ gamble of cutting Josh Sitton worked out. Lane Taylor played well, and it gives the Packers a feather in their cap. If they’re going to move on from Lang, they’ve moved on from Sitton and it worked.

JM: And Taylor wasn’t as good as Sitton. I don’t think that’s what we’re saying. Although, now I’m putting words in your mouth, Gary. 

GZ: Correct, I agree. Taylor was good enough to where you didn’t feel Sitton’s departure as much as you would have thought.

JM: Right. The point is, he wasn’t bad. It wasn’t a trainwreck. And that proves that you can replace players. No player is irreplaceable, save Aaron Rodgers. And if you had to, you would try to figure out a way to replace Rodgers, too. I think the Sitton and Taylor situation doesn’t bode well for Lang, but I still could see him returning to the Packers.

Blue 58, powered by WTMJ Mobile, goes beyond the headlines each week to help you become a smarter fan of the Green Bay Packers. Hosted by former WTMJ newscaster Jon Meerdink and his friend Gary Zilavy, Blue 58 brings you a unique, upbeat perspective on your favorite NFL team, as long as that team is the Packers. Listen to last week's episode below: