Both Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod head into the 2014 season with dollar signs in their eyes. Though the amount of money in question may vary, the path both of these young tackles have taken is similar.
Bulaga and Sherrod were selected in the first round in back-to-back years by the Green Bay Packers (2010 and 2011). Both players had promising rookie seasons, with Bulaga being selected to the NFL All-Rookie team.
While Bulaga finished out his rookie season by earning a Super Bowl ring in 2010, Sherrod finished his rookie campaign on the injured reserve.
Sherrod’s injury went from bad to worse, as his surgically repaired broken leg did not properly heal, resulting in Sherrod missing the entire 2012 season.
The injury bug also struck Bulaga in 2012. During a week 9 game against Arizona, Bulaga’s awkward step left him with a fracture of his hip. The injury also landed Bulaga on season-ending injury reserve.
2013 started off with a pop for Bulaga. The only problem was the pop was a torn ACL during the famed “Packers Family Night.” The Packers had planned for Bulaga to be the future at left tackle, but the injury subsequently led to another trip to the IR.
Sherrod started the 2013 season on the PUP list and eventually saw the field for the first time since 2011 against the Giants. Sherrod was finally able to finish a season healthy for the first time in his NFL career.
Now both players enter the 2014 season at a career crossroads.
If Bulaga can manage to stay healthy for an entire season, he could have a healthy payday. Bulaga will only be 26 when his contract officially runs out and plays a desirable position.
Unlike Bulaga, Sherrod’s future isn’t as clear. The opportunity to contribute in any way this season will hinge on his health and the health of the Packers line. Sherrod and Don Barclay will be backups at tackle for Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari.
It will be interesting to see what the Packers will do with either player this offseason. The Packers have already declined to pick up the 2015 option on Derek Sherrod’s contract.
Tags: Green Bay Packers