The Green Bay Packers have lost another one of their starting offensive linemen.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, tests confirm that starting left tackle Elgton Jenkins suffered a torn ACL during their Week 11 game against the Minnesota Vikings. Jenkins will be out for the remainder of the 2021 season.
Jenkins went down without contact early in the fourth quarter and was carted off of the field. The 25-year-old was already filling in for starting left tackle David Bakhtiari, who has been sidelined himself after suffering a torn ACL at the end of last season.
Jenkins posted his first Pro Bowl campaign in 2020 as the Packers’ starting left guard. During his first season as the team’s starting left tackle, Jenkins has posted an 82.3 offensive grade as a blocker (according to Pro Football Focus), ranking eighth in the NFL among all tackles.
With Jenkins out, the Packers will likely gravitate towards Yosh Nijman to start at left tackle. Nijman started two games earlier this season.
If Bakhtiari’s recovery length is any indication, it would be a surprise to see Jenkins suit up at the start of the regular season for the Packers in 2022.
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Bakhtiari Could Return in December
While the Jenkins injury is a major blow to the Packers — especially in regards to blocking Aaron Rodgers’ blindside — there is some good news on the horizon.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Packers hope that Bakhtiari will return at some point this season, hopefully in December.
After beginning the season on the PUP list, Bakhtiari was activated off of the reserve/physically unable to perform list on November 10. He was eligible to return in Week 10 versus the Seattle Seahawks, but has yet to do so.
As Chase Goodbread of NFL.com notes, the presence of Bakhtiari has led to the Packers protecting Rodgers better than most offensive lines protect their own quarterbacks.
“Jenkins has been charged with left tackle duty, protecting Rodgers’ blind side, since the preseason,” Goodbread says. “In Bakhtiari’s absence, Green Bay has held up remarkably well in pass protection, allowing pressures on 22.6 percent of dropbacks, one of the lowest rates in the NFL.”
During the 2020 season, the five-time All-Pro selection agreed to a four-year extension worth up to $105.5 million, including a $30 million signing bonus — a record for an offensive lineman. At $23 million per year, the 30-year-old is the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history.
Rodgers’ Turf Toe Injury Leads to Early Exit
It appears Aaron Rodgers’ turf toe injury is a little more severe than he originally led on.
Rodgers completed four touchdown passes while nearly leading the Packers to victory in a 34-31 loss to the Vikings on Sunday. However, he did exit for the tunnel prior to halftime and did not take the kneel-down to end the first half due to the turf toe injury.
“Gonna have to get to the bye and hope I can get some some healing over the bye week,” Rodgers said following the game.
The Packers will play the Los Angeles Rams in Week 12 before going through their bye in Week 13.