The Green Bay Packers paid up to retain running back Aaron Jones ahead of 2021 NFL free agency, but now they're saying goodbye to another staple of their NFC title-contending offense. As NFL Network reported Monday, longtime center Corey Linsley has agreed to terms on a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, departing the Packers to become the NFL's highest-paid player at his position and take over as Justin Herbert's newest protector in the AFC West.
Linsley, who spent the first seven seasons of his career in Green Bay, will get $62.5 million over the course of the five-year deal, for an average of $12.5 million per season, per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. Both the total figure and average annual value are record numbers for a center, with Linsley surpassing the Colts' Ryan Kelly and Raiders' Rodney Hudson as the most lucrative player at his position entering 2021.
A fifth-round draft pick of the Packers out of Ohio State in 2014, Linsley was a model of durability for much of his time in Green Bay, playing all 16 games in four seasons, earning PFWA All-Rookie Honors as a first-year starter and drawing All-Pro recognition in 2020. A knee injury sidelined him for three games late in 2020, but he returned for the Packers' run to the NFC championship.
In Los Angeles, the 29-year-old will replace Mike Pouncey, who retired this offseason after three seasons as the Chargers' center. He'll be charged with keeping Herbert upright after a promising rookie season at quarterback.