Bulaga Charges to Los Angeles

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Bryan Bulaga has a new home but a familiar coach.

The Green Bay Packers’ veteran right tackle has signed a three-year, $30 million free-agent contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, NFL Network reported. With the Chargers, he’ll be reunited with his longtime position coach, James Campen. Campen was Bulaga’s line coach from 2010 through 2018.

A first-round pick in 2010, Bulaga is coming off perhaps his best season in the NFL. First and foremost, he started all 16 games for the second time in his 10-year tenure. Facing perhaps the best slate of pass rushers in his career, Bulaga was excellent. Of 57 offensive tackles to play at least 50 percent of his team’s offensive snaps, Bulaga ranked 17th in ProFootballFocus.com’s pass-protection metric. It charged Bulaga with four sacks and 26 total pressures. According to STATS, Bulaga allowed 3.5 sacks and was flagged twice for holding. He’s a tremendous run blocker, as well. According to Sports Info Solutions, Bulaga allowed only one stuff (a tackle at or behind the line of scrimmage vs. the run).

How important was Bulaga to Green Bay’s success? In 10 seasons, he played 750-plus snaps four times. In 2010, the Packers won the Super Bowl. In 2014, 2016 and 2019, they reached NFC Championship Games.

Injuries, of course, have been a considerable issue for Bulaga, with trips to injured reserve in 2012 (hip), 2013 (knee) and 2017 (knee). Even while starting all 16 regular-season games, he played only 83 percent of the snaps.

Thus, general manager Brian Gutekunst acted preemptively and signed Rick Wagner away from the Lions. Wagner isn’t nearly as good as Bulaga. He ranked 42nd in PFF’s pass-protection metric and gave up five stuffs, his stuff rate of 1.8 percent being second-worst among offensive tackles. But his total price of $11 million over two years is almost as much as Bulaga’s annual and the injury history is less worrisome.

Nick Korte of OverTheCap.com projects the Packers to be in line to receive fourth-round compensatory picks for losing Bulaga and linebacker Blake Martinez to the Giants and a sixth-round pick for losing Kyler Fackrell to the Giants.

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