As Packers fans' attention has turned from Randall Cobb to Bryan Bulaga, the question of his market value surfaces as we try to determine whether the Packers can and will re-sign him to man the right tackle position.
Unfortunately for the Packers, the dearth of offensive tackles in this year's free agent market is driving up prices significantly. Doug Free of the Cowboys recently re-signed a deal for $5 million annually, but his backup, Jermey Parnell, is getting an even longer, more lucrative deal that will set the market for Bulaga:
Former Cowboys OT Jermey Parnell to Jax for five years at roughly $6.5 per year, per source. Big man got paid. He is a backup no more.— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) March 9, 2015
Yikes. That's a lot of money for a career backup. Parnell started seven games in 2014 for the Cowboys, including the team's two playoff games against Detroit and Green Bay, when Free was out with an injury. Yes, he played well, but the Jaguars are apparently giving around $32 million for five years to a player with nine career starts. Nine. Bulaga started more games than that in his rookie year alone.
Yes, the Jaguars have a ton of salary cap space, and yes, they will be spending a lot of money this offseason. But few if any people will argue that Parnell deserves more money than Bulaga, and you can bet that his agent, Tom Condon, will be using this deal as a negotiating tactic as he tries to get his client a contract worth more than $7 million annually. Making the comparison to Parnell, it's not inconceivable that Bulaga could get closer to $8 million per year.
Will the Packers bite the bullet and pay him that kind of money? Stay tuned over the next few days as we wait and see.