Bryan Bulaga

AFC Contract Details: Bulaga, Cobb, Collins

Here are the latest contract details as of Sunday night. We will focus on the AFC here.

  • Bryan Bulaga, T (Chargers): Three years, $30MM. $19.25MM guaranteed; $10MM signing bonus. Bulaga’s salaries in 2020 ($1.5MM) and 2021 ($7.75MM) are guaranteed. A $2.5MM roster bonus is due on Day 3 of the 2022 league year, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • Randall Cobb, WR (Texans): Three years, $27MM. $18MM guaranteed; $6MM signing bonus. Base salaries in 2020 ($3.75MM) and ’21 ($8.25MM) are guaranteed; non-guaranteed salary of $7.9MM in 2022. Wilson notes (on Twitter).
  • Rodney Gunter, DL (Jaguars): Three years, $18MM. $11.15MM guaranteed; $4.25MM signing bonus. 2020 and ’21 base salaries of $2MM and $4.9MM are guaranteed. Non-guaranteed 2022 base of $5.4MM, per Wilson (on Twitter).
  • Vic Beasley, OLB (Titans): One year, $9.5MM. The $9.5MM is guaranteed and includes a $6MM signing bonus. $2.5MM worth of sack-based incentives exist in the deal, Wilson adds (on Twitter).
  • Maliek Collins, DT (Raiders): One year, $6MM. $5.75MM guaranteed. Deal includes a $1.5MM sack-based incentive, Wilson tweets.
  • De’Vante Bausby, CB (Broncos): One year, $825K. The deal contains no guaranteed money, Mike Klis of 9News tweets.

Chargers To Add T Bryan Bulaga

The Chargers will make a big move to bolster their needy tackle group. They are signing longtime Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. It’s a three-year, $30MM deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Bulaga spent 10 seasons in Green Bay, but when the Packers added Ricky Wagner, it became clear their incumbent would move on. The Bolts experienced rampant trouble at tackle last season, and Bulaga will now help protect Los Angeles’ to-be-determined quarterback.

In Bulaga and Trai Turner, the Bolts have now added higher-end starters at multiple positions up front. While L.A. used Russell Okung to acquire Turner, the team’s offensive line group is undoubtedly improved going forward. With the Bolts still in the running for Tom Brady, the Bulaga addition could be significant.

Despite Bulaga going into his 11th season, he will only turn 31 next week. He has battled injuries during his career but played 16 games this past season and 14 in 2018. Bulaga graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 15 overall tackle last season. The Chargers’ primary right-side option — Sam Tevi — graded as PFF’s No. 61 tackle last season.

While the Chargers still may have a need at left tackle, they now have two eight-figure-per-year players up front in these newcomers. They and the Buccaneers are the frontrunners for Brady, and each features talented skill-position arsenals. The 20-year veteran revealed Tuesday morning he would not return to the Patriots, and with Philip Rivers choosing the Colts, this likely sets the stage for either the Bolts or Bucs’ Q rating rising immensely soon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Packers, Stafford, Bears

Bryan Bulaga did not quite make it to free agency in 2015; the Packers extended their starting right tackle at the 11th hour. This time, he could be on the move. The 10-year veteran is expected to generate immense interest, with Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com tweeting the Bulaga market should come in around $12MM per year. Bulaga signed for five years and $33.75MM five years ago, so this would mark a substantial raise for the veteran. Despite going into his 11th year, Bulaga will only be 31 come Week 1. After more injury trouble surfaced in 2017, he has played in 30 of a possible 32 regular-season games since.

Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • The Lions appear likely to have their quarterback back in time for OTAs. Matthew Stafford has healed up from the back injury that ended his 2019 season, according to his wife (Instagram link). Kelly Stafford indicated her husband has been healed for several weeks now. Kelly recently refuted a report the Staffords wanted out of Detroit, and GM Bob Quinn said the Lions are not shopping him. While this still figures to be a key year for the longest-tenured starting quarterback in Lions history, Stafford should be able to throw come April.
  • If the Raiders make Derek Carr available, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune expects the Bears to show interest. The Bears are interested in bringing in competition for Mitchell Trubisky; Carr might be overqualified for such a role. The third-place MVP finisher in 2016 posted the NFL’s 10th-best QBR last season — well north of Trubisky, whose 39.5 figure ranked third-to-last. Carr carries a non-guaranteed contract; he is set to earn $18.9MM in 2020 base salary. That price comes in $1.4MM higher than Dalton’s.
  • Do not expect a reunion between the Vikings and Mike Remmers. Even if the team makes left tackle Riley Reiff a cap casualty and moves right tackle Brian O’Neill to that spot, Chris Tomasson notes the Vikings are not expected to be interested in a low-cost Remmers deal (Twitter link). Remmers was Minnesota’s right tackle starter from 2017-18 and will not return to the Giants next season.
  • The Packers recently added to their coaching staff, with Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweeting the team hired Butch Barry as a senior assistant. A Wisconsin native, Barry was the Buccaneers’ assistant offensive line coach from 2015-18. He spent the 2019 season as the Miami Hurricanes’ offensive line coach.
  • Additionally, the Packers promoted second-year staffer Jason Vrable from offensive assistant to wide receivers coach, the team announced. Vrable has not coached a position since serving as the Bills’ assistant QBs coach for part of the 2016 season. Otherwise, he’s spent his career as an offensive assistant or a quality control staffer.

Packers Unlikely To Retain Bryan Bulaga?

Bryan Bulaga has been a stalwart on the Packers’ O-line since his rookie campaign in 2010. Though he has never made the Pro Bowl, he has been a consistently solid performer who has generally been able to keep star QB Aaron Rodgers clean, and 2019 was no exception.

The former first-round pick graded out as the 16th-best tackle in the league last year, per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics, and despite a couple of injury concerns during the season, he played a full 16-game slate for the first time since 2016. The O-line as a whole performed pretty well, and Bulaga was a big reason for that.

However, it looks like the Iowa product will be testing the free agent waters for the first time in his career. Tom Silverstein and Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report that the Packers have not had any talks with Bulaga’s camp since the end of the season, and while that could simply be a function of the uncertain CBA situation that has the entire league in limbo to some degree, the team does not appear to be interested in tagging Bulaga either.

Per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, it’s unlikely that Bulaga gets hit with the franchise tag, which comes at a value of $16.1MM. Theoretically, the slightly less expensive transition tag could be in play, but it sounds as though the Packers are simply prepared to cut ties.

Bulaga would become one of the better tackles available on the open market, and he stands to earn a sizable raise over the $6.8MM he took home in 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Lions, Stafford, Packers

Will the Lions select a quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick? Many have pondered the possibility, but GM Bob Quinn says he’s “totally comfortable and happy Matthew Stafford‘s our quarterback,” (Twitter link via SiriusXM).

He’s going to be in full health once the offseason program starts its course, he’s pretty much in full health right now,” Quinn said. “To see him in coach mode has been pretty cool because he really cares about, not only our team, but his teammates and helping those other young quarterbacks. I feel great about Matthew he’s going to come back strong and we’re ready to go for next year.”

The Lions, at least publicly, are committed to Stafford as their Week 1 starter. That won’t stop speculation about an early QB selection, however. Stafford, in theory, could be tasked with going into “coach mode” for one of this year’s top signal callers – every QB not named Joe Burrow should be there for Detroit to consider.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Packers tight end Marcedes Lewis says he wants to continue playing next year. “I felt like I got into a groove with my role in this offense,” said the 35-year-old (via Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel). “It was really fun. I love the game. I knew I still had more football to give. Being in this offense and having [Matt] LaFleur and conceptually what he wanted and then having (former Jaguars offensive coordinator) [Nathaniel] Hackett here, it all went hand in hand. I just think it was a good situation. Mentally, you were coming to a place where guys cared about you, you know?” Lewis, who played in every regular season game, is ticketed for unrestricted free agency in March.
  • Ditto for Packes tackle Bryan Bulaga, who is ticketed to reach free agency just before his 31st birthday in March. The 6’5″ bulldozer says he plans to continue playing in 2020, regardless of how the offseason shakes out.

Injury Notes: Ingram, 49ers, Thielen, Fuller

With every team booked into divisional-round action having now begun practice, here is the latest from the injury front going into Round 2. We’ll start with a midweek Vikings setback:

  • Stefon Diggs has missed two Vikings practices because of illness this week, but Mike Zimmer expects him to suit up in San Francisco. However, Adam Thielen suffered an ankle injury at practice and was limited on Wednesday as a result. Thielen was not on Minnesota’s Tuesday injury report. The Pro Bowl wideout missed much of this season with a hamstring injury. He caught seven passes for a game-high 129 yards against the Saints.
  • The NFL’s other purple-wearing team will likely go into its second-round game with backfield uncertainty. Previously expected to return for the Ravens‘ playoff opener, Mark Ingram has missed both Ravens practices this week. Ingram experienced a setback with his injured calf last week, leading to the Ravens to shut him down for a bit, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). The Ravens are indicating there is a “realistic chance” Ingram plays. Baltimore backup Gus Edwards‘ 5.2 yards per carry ranked third in the NFL this season.
  • 49ers linebacker Kwon Alexander has been cleared for game action, per Rapoport (video link), meaning it’s now Kyle Shanahan‘s call on whether to redeploy the high-priced defender Saturday. The 49ers used their second IR-return spot on Alexander, who is attempting to return from a midseason pectoral tear, but have not activated him yet.
  • Winding down an oft-injured season, Dee Ford is back at 49ers practice and appears ready to return at a key juncture. The veteran defensive end has dealt with a few maladies, his most recent being a hamstring issue that he aggravated in December. Ford’s gone through limited practices the past two days.
  • One of the NFL’s most important No. 2 wideouts, Will Fuller is trending in the right direction for the Texans‘ divisional-round rematch in Kansas City. The Texans expect their deep threat to return against the Chiefs, Rapoport tweets. Fuller was limited Wednesday. Deshaun Watson‘s QBR figure is 16 points higher when Fuller is on the field compared to when he’s not. The injury-prone wideout missed six games this season, the latest because of the groin injury he sustained in December.
  • Among the healthiest of the divisional-round teams, the Packers will have their right tackle back in the mix. Bryan Bulaga suffered a concussion in Week 17 but passed the protocol Wednesday, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes. Kenny Clark, however, missed practice with a back injury. The contract-year defensive lineman played all 16 Packer games this season.

Packers RT Bryan Bulaga Returns To Practice

Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga returned to practice on Thursday, according to Tom Silverstein and Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Bulaga left Green Bay’s loss to the 49ers last Sunday with a right knee injury and did not return. Bulaga took part in all of the team’s pre-practice drills with the starters, which generally suggests he played in 11-on-11s (reporters were not allowed to watch that portion of practice). While he was listed as just a limited participant in practice, he is already ahead of schedule.

Green Bay made a series of roster moves early in the week that suggested they were skeptical Bulaga would be able to play. After Alex Light-Bulaga’s replacement-was dominated by San Francisco, the Packers promoted offensive tackle Yosh Nijman from the practice squad and claimed veteran Jared Veldheer off waivers. However, per the report, those moves may end up superfluous.

Bulaga has been a key part of the Packers offensive line since they drafted him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. When healthy, he has started nearly every game for Green Bay, but injuries have allowed him to play in at least 13 games just four times in his nine-year career. Those limitations have not been due to toughness though. Bulaga showed that by playing through a right shoulder injury earlier this season. Now Packers fans will just have to wait and see if he can take the field on Sunday against the Giants.

Tackle Notes: Saints, Bulaga, Bolles, Eagles

The Saints have encountered more offensive line injury trouble, and it comes at a bad time. Left tackle Terron Armstead is believed to have suffered a high ankle sprain, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The standout blocker will miss Thursday’s game against the Falcons, and while New Orleans’ subsequent mini-bye would give the seventh-year blocker a chance to return against the 49ers, these are usually multi-week injuries. With left guard Andrus Peat sidelined with a broken arm, the Saints may be missing the left side of their high-end offensive line when they face the 49ers’ dominant pass rush in Week 14. Journeyman Patrick Omameh, whom the Giants cut after his short run as one of their guard starters, replaced Armstead on Sunday.

A lot of news affecting tackles around the league has emerged. Here is the latest:

  • Bryan Bulaga‘s knee injury appears to be a minor issue. The Packers‘ longtime right tackle left Sunday night’s game in San Francisco, but Rapoport notes (via Twitter) he is believed to be battling an MCL sprain instead of ACL trouble. Bulaga will likely miss some time but looks to be able to return this season.
  • As an Eagles season with Super Bowl aspirations veers closer to one of the more disappointing campaigns in recent NFL history, Philadelphia at least will likely have its Pro Bowl right tackle back this week. Lane Johnson expects to be cleared from concussion protocol on Tuesday, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Johnson missed Sunday’s loss against the Seahawks.
  • Vic Fangio appears ready to either bench underwhelming left tackle Garett Bolles or minimize his playing time. The Broncos’ first-year coach said Monday he’s going to shake up left tackle, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. This will be contingent on right tackle Ja’Wuan James‘ availability. Fangio said the seldom-seen free agent signing has been cleared from his latest injury, but it doesn’t look like James is a lock to return to action. He would likely play right tackle, with current right tackle Elijah Wilkinson shifting to the left side. If James returns, Bolles may be set for the first benching of his three-year career. The former first-round pick has not come especially close to living up to expectations, and the Broncos are unlikely to pick up his fifth-year option.
  • The Bears will be without their right tackle for a bit. Bobby Massie suffered a high ankle sprain against the Giants and will miss a few weeks, Rapoport tweets. This is Massie’s fourth season as Chicago’s starting right tackle; he re-signed this offseason on a four-year extension. Massie has only missed two games in his Bears tenure.
  • After their third straight 34-point game, the Jets are likely to have to again reconfigure their offensive line. Rookie right tackle Chuma Edoga suffered an MCL sprain, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (on Twitter). Adam Gase confirmed the 2019 draftee is dealing with an MCL issue and is week-to-week. The Jets have made numerous changes on their offensive front this season. Benched right tackle Brandon Shell, who came in for Kelvin Beachum after he suffered an ankle malady Sunday, may be called upon to re-enter the lineup. Beachum suffered a sprained ankle but may not miss any time.

Bryan Bulaga Cleared To Return To Practice

Sidelined since tearing an ACL midway through last season, Bryan Bulaga received clearance to return to practice, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reports.

The Packers took Bulaga off the PUP list Friday, though Mike McCarthy said the 29-year-old tackle will be taking part in limited practices in the near future. But this week’s brought some pleasant news for the longtime Packer blocker.

Green Bay’s ninth-year right tackle has impressed the team during his recovery, and his roster spot is no longer considered to be in doubt. McCarthy is optimistic Bulaga, who suffered his most recent injury in early November of last year, will be ready to go by Week 1. This came after an uncertain offseason.

Jason Spriggs, Byron Bell and Kyle Murphy have split time at right tackle during Bulaga’s absence.

Bulaga’s suffered multiple severe injuries as a pro — the other coming when he tore an ACL during camp in 2013 — but has started 81 games for the Packers since his 2010 rookie year. He’s in the fourth season of a five-year, $33.75MM contract and denied a rumor the Packers approached him about a pay cut this offseason, Demovsky adds.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Packers OT Bryan Bulaga

Given that he ended the 2017 season on injured reserve, Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga wasn’t considered a lock to earn a spot on Green Bay’s roster for the upcoming campaign. However, Bulaga’s recovery has reportedly been “impressive,” tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, and the 29-year-old offensive lineman is no longer on the Packers’ roster bubble.

Bulaga has been no stranger to poor injury luck during his NFL career, and his 2017 ACL tear was the second of his pro tenure (he missed the entire 2013 season with same injury). Indeed, Bulaga has only appeared in all 16 games twice during his eight-year run: once during his rookie year in 2010, and again in 2016. Due roughly $8MM in cap charges in each of the next two seasons, Bulaga could have also been viewed as a potential cap casualty, as Green Bay would save more than $6MM in both 2017 and 2018 by cutting him now.

At his best, Bulaga is one of the league’s top right tackles. A former first-round pick, Bulaga received top-seven tackle grades from Pro Football Focus in both 2014 and 2016. And while he slipped to No. 39 in PFF’s rankings a season ago, a multitude of injuries — even before the campaign-ending ACL tear — likely contributed to Bulaga’s ineffective play.

Although Bulaga is currently on the active/physically unable to perform list, he’s expected to be ready for Week 1. If he’s not available at any point during the season, the Packers would turn to veteran Byron Bell, Jason Spriggs, or Kyle Murphy to play right tackle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.