Well, color me disappointed. The Green Bay Packers appear stuck with Bryan Bulaga for another year.
General manager Brian Gutekunst suggested the Packers expect Bulaga to remain with the team, following the draft. That likely means he’s the starter at right tackle in 2018 once he’s able to return from the torn ACL he suffered last November.
“He’s doing excellent; he’s way ahead of schedule,” Gutekunst said. “Those are big injuries. He’s fought through those things before, we expect him to do that again. But yeah, we expect him to be a part of our team.”
There was some question as to whether that would be the case. The Packers reportedly asked Bulaga to take a pay cut this offseason. He declined.
Now the Packers don’t really have any negotiating power. The only lineman they drafted was Washington State’s Cole Madison in the fifth round. While he played tackle in college, he’s being projected as a guard in the pros.
The main problem with Bulaga is he’s always injured. This is his second torn ACL. He’s played a full 16-game slate just twice in his career. The other problem is he’s overpaid. His cap hit this year is $7.9 million. It’s $8.35 million next year.
The savings of releasing Bulaga now would be a bit more than $2 million. However, he is almost surely gone in 2019, when his cap savings will be north of $6 million.
The current problem for the Packers is lack of a clear replacement. A couple of other tackles — Kyle Murphy and Jason Spriggs — are coming back from season-ending injuries. Murphy has looked like the better of the two, but he’s returning from a broken foot.
I took a quick look at the still-available OT free agent market, and… we might as well just ride-or-die with McCray and whatever walking-dead version of Bulaga we get back at some point.
On a somewhat related note, how many times does it seem like we hear about these players coming back from torn ACLs and they are always “ahead of schedule.” Every time, it never fails. At what point do we change the timetable of returning from a torn ACL?
Another player outsmarting the Packers brain trust.
For a change of pace, i’d like to hear about the Packers proposing a pay cut, to someone not earning their bloated pay.
The key issue is health only. When healthy he earns that paycheck. But definitely, if you ask a player to take a paycut, you have to have some leverage. If there is no suitable replacement around, and the player is at no risk of being cut, the whole thing is kinda pointless.
-Hey, Bryan, since you have been injured half the time, how about you give us a little refund?