Last chance: Packers with expiring contracts in 2020

Green Bay Packers, Mike Daniels (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Mike Daniels (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Bryan Bulaga

Switching to the offensive side, right tackle Bryan Bulaga is a polarizing player to invest in for only one reason – his health. Bulaga is the longest tenured offensive lineman on the Packers’ roster, and it shows.

Bulaga’s ability to play effectively, hurt or not, seems to change week by week. His inability to remain consistent and healthy has occasionally led to creating a position of weakness where the Packers are typically strong.

How he can earn an extension

Stay healthy and perform up to his abilities. Right now, the Packers have too many holes on the offensive line to afford to let a former first-round pick walk out the door.

It stands to reason that the Packers are going to prod around the offensive line pool in the draft, but it’s a long shot that they would hit on another fourth-round pick as effectively as they did with All-Pro LT David Bakhtiari. Jason Spriggs has appeared to be the wrong answer to succeed Bulaga, as he has struggled against many different pass rushers and defensive fronts.

It’s hard to find a great pass-protector in today’s NFL, with how much of a premium is placed on pass rushers. Bulaga is the best of a bad situation currently, but he will only continue into 2020 if he completes a healthy, productive season in 2019.

Trevor Davis

Primarily a return specialist with limited action at WR, Trevor Davis is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Drafted in the fifth round out of Cal in 2016, Davis came from a program that still prominently featured Jared Goff before he was drafted first overall the same year.

Davis’ career has not seen as much action as many fans would hope though, as he’s only amassed 37 returns for 448 yards (averaging 12.1 yards a return).

Similarly to Bulaga, Davis has been afflicted with injuries on and off, having played in 29 of a possible 48 games. Being a return specialist, durability is one of the few things that can reasonably be asked of Davis, leaving another element to be desired in his game that he is lacking.

How he can earn an extension

Nothing short of an All-Pro return man season should be required of Davis to earn an extension. With the emergence of Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown, it’s clear Davis isn’t needed in the passing game, so his talents will be relegated to punt and kick returns only.

Such a role will mean that Davis needs to embrace it immediately, stay healthy, and regain some of the explosiveness that saw him an opportunity to be drafted by Green Bay in the first place.

Jason Spriggs

At this point, it would be an absolute blessing if Jason Spriggs would turn out to be a late bloomer. Drafted 48th overall out of Indiana in 2016, Spriggs’ size and NFL Combine workout made him look like an excellent pick at the time.

The problem with Spriggs is that he can’t match up against most, if any, edge-rushers in the NFL. Spriggs’ latest action was against the Bears in Week 15, where Khalil Mack used a spin move to work back towards Aaron Rodgers, and made the sack with his back.

Spriggs’ frame and athleticism are both great for an offensive lineman, but there’s very little that can be done to justify a contract extension if proper footwork and strong instincts can’t be taught to him. Reviewing any game in which Spriggs is the starter, even during offensive highlights it’s commonplace to see Spriggs get pushed around, knocked down, outplayed, and out-hustled.

How he can earn an extension

Optimism for Spriggs to be given an extension is currently lukewarm at best. Being given three seasons already to pick up the pace and contribute, Spriggs hasn’t done much with those opportunities.

That being the case, it may be time to look outside the box for other possibilities (or rather, further inside the so-called “Tackle box”). While Spriggs has long been a stand-up right tackle, experimenting with a switch to guard may be best for both him and the team.

It is true that the Packers are hurting at tackle, but the carousel of bodies between the tackles and steadfast center Corey Linsley needs to stop before 2019 gets underway. Spriggs could solve a few problems at once if he can effectively transition down to a guard spot, where he can be assisted by the seasoned Linsley in a pinch.

However, the downside of this suggestion is that Spriggs will need to continue to build upper body strength. One of the largest criticisms of Spriggs was that he didn’t have much pop to his frame, and was just a big body that could move well, a criticism that still stands when reviewing his tape.

In terms of what needs to be done for each of these players, Spriggs’ list of boxes to check is the hardest to achieve. Get stronger, get more technical, and learn a new position is a lot to ask, but a lot is always asked of second-round picks, it’s just come three years into his career.

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Green Bay has endured a lot of turbulence the past two seasons, going 3-7-1 against NFC North opponents and 13-18-1 overall. With a new head coach, new offensive coordinator, another year in free agency as well as the draft with Brian Gutekunst at the wheel, these players are heading into their last chance to make the roster for the Packers of the future.