It was another injury-hit season for Green Bay Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga.
Bryan Bulaga has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career, and 2017 was no different.
Let’s take a look back at his season, but more importantly what lies ahead for the talented right tackle in 2018.
Season in review
When healthy, there’s no denying Bulaga’s ability. But it’s difficult to place a grade on his 2017 season because he barely played. The Packers‘ longtime starting right tackle suited up just five times and had his season cut short by a torn ACL.
In eight years with the Packers, Bulaga has played all 16 regular season games just twice. He’s failed to suit up in 10 games on three occasions.
At his best, Bulaga is trusted to play on an island at right tackle. David Bakhtiari is asked to do the same on the left side. And when the two are on the field together, few teams can boast a tackle pairing as talented.
But injuries in 2017 kept Bulaga off the field.
Looking ahead to 2018 season
The Packers have a tough decision to make at right tackle this offseason. Should new general manager Brian Gutekunst look to find a new starter at the position by using a high draft pick? Or should the Packers add some late-round depth while sticking with Bulaga as the starter?
Bulaga turns 29 in March. Will he be fully healthy by the start of the season? And if so, will the injury-prone tackle be able to play at the same high level?
We won’t truly know the answers to those questions until he gets back on the field. That’s far from ideal for a player who is set for a $7.9 million cap hit in 2018, ninth-highest on the roster, according to Spotrac.
Bulaga has been hit with injuries throughout his career, and at some point it will limit him on the field. The Packers need to look to the future, even if a draft selection doesn’t immediately win the starting job.
If Bulaga is healthy in September, he’ll likely be the Packers’ starting right tackle. But Gutekunst must have one eye on the future.