Green Bay Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga is one of the top free agents in the NFL this offseason.
A lot of teams need help at tackle, and Bryan Bulaga is one of the best at the position set to become a free agent next month. The Green Bay Packers will have to find a new starting right tackle if they are unable to agree on a new deal with their longtime starter.
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports has ranked the top 100 NFL free agents in 2020, and two Packers make the list, including Bulaga. Bulaga is 28th in the rankings, with inside linebacker Blake Martinez at 56th.
Bulaga is the second tackle in the rankings behind Jack Conklin, who has started 57 games for the Tennessee Titans over the past four seasons.
“He is solid starting right tackle who just goes about doing his job,” Prisco wrote about Bulaga. “He has been a good pass blocker for most of his nine seasons with the Packers.”
It’s hard to predict Bulaga’s future. As Prisco points out, he’s been consistent throughout his career. The Packers’ two tackles — Bulaga and David Bakhtiari — have been so important in pass protection.
Bulaga will turn 31 next month, but many tackles have continued to perform at a high level into their 30s. Bulaga’s injury history is the biggest concern. Given the fact he should receive plenty of interest in free agency, the Packers may decide it’s time to find his replacement and use an early pick in the draft to find an upgrade.
If that’s the case, the Packers should’ve been more prepared. Maybe Billy Turner is their long-term answer at right tackle, but there would then be a need at guard. Not to mention Turner isn’t on the same level as Bulaga, who has been one of the best right tackles in the league for many years.
One option would be for Turner to shift to right tackle in the short term, with an early draft pick replacing him when they’re ready. Still, it’s a risky move for a team aiming to win now.
Bulaga can still play at an elite level, and there should be fewer concerns about his injury history as he started all 16 regular-season games in 2019. He left a couple of games early due to injury, but the only full game he missed was in the playoffs and that was due to illness. In 2018, Bulaga played 14 games, missing just two.
Since 2014, he’s played 78 of a possible 96 games in the regular season. The majority of the games he’s missed in that span came in 2017 due to a torn ACL.
The Packers should do everything they can to bring back Bulaga, but considering the need for starting tackles around the league, whether he returns is anybody’s guess.
We’ll know soon enough. Free agency begins in under four weeks.