For the first time since 2008, Josh Sitton will not be one of the Green Bay Packers starting guards when they open the season. That’s as a result of the team releasing the veteran on Saturday, a surprising move that caught his teammates by surprise.
“Nobody’s safe, I guess,” guard T.J. Lang said of what the move signaled. “I’ve been here eight years now, and it’s one of the most surprising cuts that I’ve seen.”
Sitton signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Bears on Sunday, but many are still wondering why Green Bay allowed him to go in the first place. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that there was some tension between Sitton and the team over his contract status. Sitton was set to be a free agent after the season, and the former fourth-round pick was upset that the Packers were apparently concentrating on extending other players before him.
“There’s a lot of things that go into this decision,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “This was not just one thing.”
When he met with the media in Chicago, Sitton didn’t have an explanation for why he was let go, but maintained his signing with a divison rival wasn’t an effort to get back at Green Bay for anything.
“Honestly, it didn’t have anything to do with sticking it to the Packers,” he told reporters. “More familiar with the division, close to where I was.”
While many still wonder what happened, the Packers are moving on and getting ready for their season opener against Jacksonville on Sunday. And they’re doing so with the plan of starting Lane Taylor at left guard, Sitton’s old spot. Taylor, a former undrafted free agent that’s been with the team since 2013, has started a pair of games in his career.
“He’s prepared for this,” McCarthy said. “We have all the confidence in the world in Lane and really our offensive line group.”
For Taylor’s part, he’s not looking at is as he’s replacing Sitton, who he said was vital to his development as a player.
“The business can be cutthroat at times and tough decisions have to be made,” he said. “I’m not a part of that. I just show up to work, try to get better and help out this football team.”