Jason Vrable

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 Add Two Coaches To Staff

The Packers coaching staff continues to take shape. The Packers have hired Kevin Koger as their offensive quality control coach and Jason Vrable as an offensive assistant, according to Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com.

Koger has spent the past three seasons as the wide receivers coach at Eastern Kentucky, and he also served as the special teams coordinator during the 2018 campaign. The 29-year-old also had coaching stints at Michigan and Tennessee.

The former tight end was a standout at Michigan between 2008 and 2011, but a torn Achilles tendon seemingly ended any chance he had of making the NFL. Now, he’ll have a chance to make his mark as a coach under Matt LaFleur.

Vrabel has spent six seasons coaching in the NFL, including the past two years as an offensive assistant with the Jets. He was previously the offensive quality control coach for the Bills, and he had a brief stint as Buffalo’s running backs coach. Vrabel will now play an important role on offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett‘s staff.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

QB Jay Cutler A “Possibility” For Jets

The Jets have hired Jeremy Bates as their new quarterbacks coach, the club announced today. While Bates’ addition seems fairly innocuous, the fact that he previously served as QBs coach in Denver with Jay Cutler, who is expected to become a free agent soon, has already provided a possible link between Cutler and Gang Green. Indeed, Cutler is considered a “possibility” for New York, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link), who notes that any union would be dependent on an appropriate price tag.Jay Cutler (Vertical)

[RELATED: Jets Have Interest In Deshaun Watson]

Cutler is expected to be released by the Bears in the coming weeks, and he could make for an interesting bounceback candidate under Bates and new New York offensive coordinator John Morton. With Bates’ assistance, Cutler posted perhaps the best season of his career in 2008, passing for more than 4,500 yards and 25 touchdowns while managing a Total Quarterback Rating of 67.09. Those numbers are a far cry from Cutler’s disastrous 2016 campaign, when mounting injuries limited him to five starts.

The 33-year-old Cutler is just the latest quarterback to be linked to the Jets this offseason, as the club has also been tied to draft prospects Deshaun Watson and Mitch Trubisky and pending free agent Mike Glennon. New York has two signal-callers already on its roster, but the team’s front office reportedly has doubts that either Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg will develop into more than a backup-caliber passer.

In addition to Bates, the Jets announced the hiring of three other coaches: offensive assistant/assistant quarterbacks coach Mick Lombardi, offensive assistant Jason Vrable, and assistant strength coach Joe Giacobbe.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.