I’ve never been a fan of Green Bay Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga. He’s just… a guy.
Guys aren’t worth the $6.75 million per season the Packers decided to throw at Bulaga on the eve of free agency last offseason. It was a classic case of the Packers overpaying to keep one of their own guys.
And now the Packers are stuck with Bulaga and his gigantic contract for at least a few more years. If the Packers were to decide to release the guy, which we know won’t happen, they would be forced to suck up substantial dead money into their salary cap.
That number is $6.4 million this season and $4.8 million, $3.2 million and finally $1.6 million over the remaining years of the deal. Only in that final season does the amount of dead money become somewhat palatable.
We bring this up because in 2015, Bulaga was the weak link among the Packers starters on the offensive line. We bring it up because the Packers have been talking up backup J.C. Tretter, who has done time at both center and tackle.
In fact, Tretter was the only capable fill-in the Packers were able to find for left tackle David Bakhtiari in 2015.
Am I saying Tretter should have a shot at replacing Bulaga in the staring lineup? Well, since I know the Packers would never consider that, I won’t even bring it up.
What I will bring up is how bad Bulaga was in 2015. Coach Mike McCarthy has a ready-made excuse for his play, however.
“Frankly, Bryan was beat up this year. He didn’t have his best year. The key to your offensive line is those guys playing 16 games a year. When your line plays together that statistic right there will tell you a lot.”
Beat up. Isn’t Bulaga always beat up?
Hell, isn’t the entirety of the line pretty much always beat up?
Some guys — Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang — play through pain all the time and you don’t notice significant drops in their play.
Perhaps that’s just because they were better players to begin with.
Pro Football Focus gave Bulaga the lowest grade — by a fairly wide margin — among the Packers’ starting offensive linemen in 2015.
Will a healthy Bulaga — if that’s even possible — be able to turn things around in 2016? We’re certainly going to find out. When you pay a guy that much money, he’s going to be a starter for your team regardless of his level of play.
Personally, I have my doubts we’ll ever see anything other than mediocrity from Bulaga.
Let’s all gather around the campfire and listen to old man Monty tell us how much the Packers overpaid for Bulaga (even though he took a pay cut to stay in Green Bay). Tomorrow he’ll tell us how Randall Cobb is overrated or why the Packers should cut Bakhtiari cause he makes too many penalties. Then we’ll all pull out our dicks and have a circle jerk while we cry, “Fire Thompson!”.
Actually, yes I DID notice a decline in Sitton’s play this year, particularly vs. the Broncos and Panthers, as well as an increase in holding calls. I thought Lang had arguably his best year as a pro but he too had his low points.
You need to take your expectations down a notch or two. Not every player on the team can be a play-making star. Fact is the majority of NFL players are ‘just guys’. And injuries will always be there. I think the Packers have it better than most teams.
Fuck that Bahk is the weakest link on the line. Bulaga is a better RT than LT and now he’s positioned where he needa to be, if we find a decent LT we won’t be seeing Rodgers have to escape the pocket. Every. Single. Play
Not everyone can be a Pro Bowl caliber player? Weak. That should be the goal…draft and develop… And never over pay for free agents, including your own. But you always need good drafts and quality vet signings to reach the pinnacle of your sport. Every fricken team sport out there does that. Does it always work? Absolutely not but not trying is a far greater crime.
Here’s to another season of just a bit better than mediocre!