GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Wherever Elgton Jenkins lines up for the Green Bay Packers, he will be one of the highest-paid players at either guard or tackle after he signed an extension with the team on Friday.
The four-year deal, which includes a $24 million signing bonus, is worth $68 million and could reach up to $74 million with incentives, a source told ESPN.
The deal will keep Jenkins with the Packers through the 2026 season at an average of $17 million per year.
"We are very excited to be able to come to an agreement that keeps Elgton with the Packers," general manager Brian Gutekunst said in a statement. "Since the moment he walked into the building, Elgton has been a core member of this franchise while displaying an uncommon versatility, unselfishness and toughness. He's a tremendous leader and teammate and he has earned everything that has come to him."
If Jenkins stays at guard, he will be the second highest paid at the position behind only the Colts' Quenton Nelson ($20 million per year). If he moves to left tackle, where he played last season in place of David Bakhtiari, he would be among the top-10 highest paid.
The Packers still believe Jenkins can play any position on the line even though left guard has been his best spot.
"I think he's shown that, right?" coach Matt LaFleur said Friday after Jenkins signed the contract. "He's shown the ability. I don't think there's a position up front that he can't play. Certainly the more people you have like that, obviously it allows you to put the best five guys out there."
Jenkins would have become a free agent in March. The Packers could have put a franchise tag on him, which would have been around $17 million -- about the same as the average per year on his new contract. Had they done that, the Packers would have had to absorb the entire tag total on their 2023 salary cap. With the extension, his cap number for next season now will be significantly lower.
The Packers drafted Jenkins in the second round of the 2019 draft, and he started the final 14 games of his rookie season at left guard. In 2020, he started all 16 games but played multiple positions -- left guard for 12 games, center for three and right tackle for one. He then played left tackle in 2021 when Bakhtiari was out because of a torn ACL, but Jenkins suffered the same injury in November of that season.
Jenkins returned from that injury in Week 2 of this season and played five games at right tackle before moving back to his original left guard position. He was a Pro Bowl selection at that spot in 2020 and was named as a Pro Bowl alternate this season.
After a sluggish start at right tackle in his return from injury, he has approached his previous form with his return to left guard in Week 9.
"I feel like in the last month I've played well, for sure," Jenkins said recently. "I feel like there's more stuff I can get better at, obviously. It's going to take probably the offseason and something like that just to get back into my groove and get better than what I was before the injury."
The Packers have several other key players who would become free agents after this season, including receivers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, tight ends Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis, defensive Dean Lowry, safety Adrian Amos, kick returner Keisean Nixon and kicker Mason Crosby.