Over the next two weeks, we will take a look at each position group on the Packers and provide grades and insight on how they performed in the 2014 season. Today, we'll be looking at the offensive line position. Follow along with all of our positional breakdowns here.
To conclude our review of the offensive line, we dive into the players headed to free agency. The Packers face losing both of their options at right tackle, though such an outcome appears unlikely.
Years in the NFL: 5
Status: Unrestricted free agent
Expiring contract: Five years, $13,245,000 ($7,007,000 guaranteed)
2014 details: $2,565,500 base salary, $1,163,500 prorated signing bonus, $100,000 workout bonus
2014 stats: 15 games, 4 sacks allowed, 29 total pressures
After missing most of the previously two seasons to a hip fracture and ACL tear, Bryan Bulaga returned to have one of his better seasons. Though the year began slowly -- an unsurprising development considering his extended hiatus and the quality of Green Bay's opposing defenses -- Bulaga battled back during the second half of the season. From the Week 9 bye onward, Bulaga allowed just one sack, yielding no more than two hurries a game during that stretch. The tackle also regained his lateral movement, an important asset for protecting against speed rushers off the edge. The Packers would surely like to retain Bulaga so long as there's no hidden health concerns, but with few quality tackles on the open market the former Iowa Hawkeye expects to garner plenty of attention from other teams.
Years in the NFL: 3
Status: Restricted free agent
Expiring contract: Three years, $1,442,500 ($2,500 guaranteed)
2014 details: $570,000 base salary, $834 prorated signing bonus
2014 stats: (Spent entire season on injured reserve)
Though Don Barclay was never seriously considered for a starting job on Green Bay's offensive line in 2014, he would have been the first man up in the event of injuries at no fewer than three spots. The Packers are fortunate that the No. 1 offensive line lost only one start (Bulaga in Week 2) the entire season. Still, the team understands the value of having a versatile reserve such as Barclay and will likely return him on a one-year restricted free agent tender. The team may even try to tender him higher than necessary as a hedge against a Bulaga defection in free agency.