After getting just five games out of their starting right tackle last season, the Green Bay Packers reportedly asked Bryan Bulaga to take a pay cut this spring. That news comes to us from Bob McGinn, who reported the situation in the lead-up to his mock draft on Thursday morning.
Here’s McGinn’s discussion of the situation:
According to a source, the Packers attempted to negotiate a pay cut from Bulaga in the off-season but were rebuffed and talks went nowhere. Bulaga has two years left on a five-year, $33.75 million contract that he signed in March 2015. His base salaries are $5.85 million this year and $5.8 million in 2019.
Bulaga has often been criticized for his inability to make it through a full season without significant injury, but the three years prior to 2017 were the best stretch of his career in that regard. He missed just a total of five games from 2014 to 2016, and he played all 16 games in that 2016 season; that was the first time since his rookie year that he had suited up every Sunday.
As McGinn mentioned, Bulaga’s base salaries are just shy of $6 million each of the next two years. Based on the calculation of roster bonuses, he is currently slated to have a $7.9 million cap hit this season and cost $8.35 million against the cap in 2019.
The fact that the Packers approached Bulaga suggests that there may be other factors in play as well and that Bulaga could end up off the team this fall. The team traded up to select Jason Spriggs in the 2016 draft and although he failed to impress early last year, he put together a few decent games late in the season. There is also a small group of intriguing tackle prospects in this year’s draft, and the Packers could make a run at one of them. If that is the case, cutting Bulaga would be an option.
One other nugget from McGinn’s post is that he suggests Mike McGlinchey as a significant possibility for the Packers with the 14th pick of the top defensive prospects are off the board. That would make more sense if Bulaga were on his way out.
If the Packers do choose to cut Bulaga, they could take on $3.2 million in dead money this year by doing so before June 1st, saving about $4.7 million in cap space. A post-June 1 cut would cost the team $1.6 million each in 2018 and 2019. Still, there are no clear signs as yet that the Packers are seriously considering releasing Bulaga.
Still, Bulaga’s situation and that of the offensive line warrants monitoring over the next three days and the few weeks beyond that.