Bryan Bulaga

RT Bryan Bulaga To Retire

Bryan Bulaga‘s Chargers tenure ended in March of last year. After not playing in 2022, the longtime right tackle will not attempt to return. Bulaga is set to retire as a Packer on Friday, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein.

Spending his career in Green Bay and Los Angeles, Bulaga will be best remembered for his work with the Packers. The 2010 first-round pick started 122 career games; his 111 with the Packers are the eighth-most by a tackle in the 103-year-old franchise’s history.

Injuries slowed Bulaga, 34, at various points during his career. He rehabbed from two ACL tears to make continued contributions with the Packers, but a core muscle injury sustained in September 2021 ended up closing out the Iowa alum’s career. Bulaga missed 16 games in 2021. The Chargers used Storm Norton as their starter that season but have since seen Trey Pipkins establish himself at that spot.

In Green Bay, Bulaga represented a core component of the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers-era offensive lines. Bulaga and David Bakhtiari provided long-term tackle bastions for the all-time QB great, teaming up as starters from 2013-19. Bulaga, however, made a name for himself before Bakhtiari’s arrival. The No. 23 overall pick in 2010, Bulaga established himself as a rookie-year starter — for a Packers team that closed the season with a Super Bowl XLV win. Bulaga started all four Packers postseason games that year.

Bulaga missed all of the 2013 season due to his first ACL tear but returned for a pivotal 2014. Not only did the Packers venture back to the NFC championship round — the second of four NFC title games Bulaga started — the fifth-year blocker used the season as a springboard to a lucrative second contract. Bulaga ended up hitting free agency but re-signed with the Packers, who also retained Randall Cobb in March 2015. Bulaga agreed to stay in Green Bay on a five-year, $33.75MM deal. He played out that contract.

The second ACL tear occurred in Week 5 of the 2017 season, but Bulaga returned in time to start the ’18 season. Injuries did end up playing a significant part in Bulaga’s career; he missed at least six games in four separate seasons. The Chargers added the veteran on a three-year, $30MM deal in 2020. Bulaga missed six games that season but began the Justin Herbert era in L.A. After two injury-plagued seasons, the Bolts released Bulaga to pick up cap savings ahead of free agency in 2022.

While no Pro Bowl nods came Bulaga’s way (right tackles are regularly overlooked due to the Pro Bowl format), he made substantial contributions to the Packers and ended up collecting more than $63MM during a 12-year career.

Chargers To Release T Bryan Bulaga

Bryan Bulaga did not hold up for long with the Chargers last season, playing in just one game. He is now back in free agency. The Bolts are releasing the veteran tackle, via’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter).

This move will save $10.7MM for the Chargers, who entered free agency among the leaders in cap space. The Bolts have already been busy bolstering their defense, headlined by the additions of Khalil Mack and J.C. Jackson. The team’s cap-space figure bumps back up beyond $20MM with the news of the Bulaga release.

The longtime Packers right tackle signed a three-year, $30MM contract with the Chargers in 2020 to be their right-edge protector. He ended up missing six games in 2020 and 16 last season, making this cut widely expected.

The Chargers used Storm Norton as their replacement right tackle. Norton remains under contract, but it would not surprise if Los Angeles attempted to upgrade. The team also has a hole at right guard, where Oday Aboushi and Michael Schofield are free agents.

Bulaga’s career is at a crossroads after this Bolts decision. He will turn 33 next week and has now missed more than 10 games in three seasons — 2013, 2017 and 2021. The former first-round pick underwent core muscle surgery in October. The Iowa product has made 122 career starts, breaking in for Green Bay’s Super Bowl-winning team as a rookie in 2010 and signing an extension to stay with the Packers in 2015.

Chargers’ Bryan Bulaga Undergoes Surgery

Bryan Bulaga‘s return from injured reserves does not appear likely to take place in the near future. The veteran right tackle underwent core muscle surgery Tuesday, the Chargers announced.

Bulaga has been on IR since Week 2. He has played 45 snaps this season, his second with the Chargers. The 12th-year lineman’s timetable is still being determined. This is a bit of a blow to a Chargers team that just lost starting guard Oday Aboushi for the season with a torn ACL.

Groin and back injuries dogged Bulaga during training camp, and he aggravated his back issue in the Bolts’ opener. This moved former UDFA Storm Norton into the starting lineup. Norton has played every snap since replacing Bulaga, who signed a three-year, $30MM deal to fortify the Chargers’ right tackle spot in 2020.

Pro Football Focus rates Norton outside the top 60 among tackles this season, though the Bolts have certainly not felt the effects of Bulaga’s absence much. They are 4-1 behind MVP-candidate quarterback Justin Herbert, who played without multiple starting O-linemen — including Bulaga — several times as a rookie.

The longtime Packers right tackle missed six games last season and has seen injuries wipe out a full season (2013) and force him to miss more than six games twice (in 2012 and ’17). While he has still managed to secure two lucrative free agency deals, the first a Packers re-up in 2015, the 32-year-old blocker has trended in the wrong direction during his Los Angeles stay.

Chargers Place Bryan Bulaga On IR

The Chargers have placed starting tackle Bryan Bulaga on the injured reserve list, per a club announcement. To take his place on the roster, they’ve added guard/tackle Michael Schofield III.

Bulaga spent ten seasons in Green Bay, up until 2020 when he joined the Bolts. The 32-year-old stepped into the right tackle role last year, starting in all ten of his games. He resumed his role for Week 1, but his hip flexor hasn’t cooperated.

It’s just more discomfort than anything. The MRIs are negative,” head coach Brandon Staley said recently (via the Associated Press). “We’re trying to give him adequate rest and the mobility recovery that he needs so he can go into this game feeling good.”

The 12th-year pro has battled injuries throughout his career, though he did manage 16 games in 2019 and 14 in 2018. The Chargers hope he’ll be back soon and healthy in the long-term as well. His three-year, $30MM deal runs through the 2022 campaign.

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 tweets. It’s a three-year, $30MM deal, Ian Rapoport of 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.

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 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 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.

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 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 notes. Kenny Clark, however, missed practice with a back injury. The contract-year defensive lineman played all 16 Packer games this season.