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Packer OL Decisions

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Offline  Packer OL Decisions
#1

Posted: February 09, 2020, 10:19 AM Post
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One of the bigger decisions of the offseason is whether to resign Bryan Bulaga. He is one of the best RT in the league, but also 30 years old with a big of an injury history (though mostly healthy last year).

Corey Linsley is a decent center but has a $10.5M cap hit ($8.5M savings if cut). Lane Taylor is highly likely to be cut ($6M cap hit with $4.6M savings).

Baktiari, Jenkins, Patrick, and Turner are safe bets to be on the team next year. Madison and Light are probably the best bets to get a shot at training camp (at least) from the rest of the roster.

So, how would you reconfigure the OL?

Conventional wisdom says to cut Taylor, and find another RT/RG with Turner filling the other RT/RG position. In this case, we most likely won't resign Bulaga.

The unconventional thought in my head is to cut Taylor and Linsley, resign Bulaga for a 3-4 year deal (~$10M/year), move Jenkins to center and find another LG.

Jenkins looked excellent at LG, but I'm thinking that putting him at C would increase his value. He would improve the run game for both sides. Plus, you bookend our best OL players (Bak, Bulaga, Jenkins) around the weaker (Turner/LG).

Also, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with Turner out at RT. He was very up and down last year at RG; which was his MO when we signed him.

Obviously, it's a risk to sign BB with his age and history, but he looked excellent last year. Plus, I enjoy hearing him say "Iowa" when he announces himself. [smile]


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Offline  Re: Packer OL Decisions
#2

Posted: February 09, 2020, 11:16 AM Post
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The Packers don't ever give that 3rd contract to an OL and it seems like it always ends up being the right decision. I think they keep Linsley and let Bulaga leave, like you say they do have options and should probably draft a tackle as well. "Bryan Bulaga, Iowa" cracks me up every time.


Last edited by OldHeidelberg on February 09, 2020, 11:26 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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Online  Re: Packer OL Decisions
#3

Posted: March 04, 2020, 10:27 AM Post
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Apparently Gute has stated recently that they don't want to move Jenkins from LG. That they're happy with how he came along this past year, and don't want to move him around. He was drafted as a center, so maybe if they were to move on from Linsley, they'd change their minds. I would think with the dearth of good Offensive linemen in the NFL, you would be able to find a taker for Linsley for a ~4th round pick if you really wanted to move him. Pro Bowl alternate the last couple years and he plays almost literally every snap of the season for you. But he's also a really good fit for Lafleur's zone blocking. So if I could play GM for the Packers, I'd be looking at extending him rather than moving on from him.

Taylor, he's obviously gone. I'm guessing the Packers will make some effort to trade him before they cut him..and perhaps someone offers up a conditional 6th or 7th for him, but I think it's safe to say he's gone.

As for Bulaga...in the past, he'd probably be the easiest decision of all the Packers free agents. He's older, he'll be expensive, he's been injured. You have an All Pro LT who's going to be a FA pretty soon, you have a Pro Bowl caliber center who's going to be a free agent. But still, I cannot imagine Billy Turner holding up all year vs speed rushers and Veldheer was only available to the Packers because he said his body wasn't capable of playing a full season.

So given how close the Packers are, how the 49'ers are so loaded up front, even with the likely loss of Arik Armstead, I would definitely try to bring Bulaga back. 3/35 with 12 million guaranteed might make sense. It's not ideal, but with Rodgers turning 37 late next season, I don't think you can afford to just hope that Billy Turner can be a starter on the outside in the NFL.


If the Packers think highly of Patrick and his ability to play center, I think it'd make more sense to save money there knowing you have a guy you drafted in the 2nd round last year as a center who excelled at LG who could always move over and it's far easier to replace guards than tackles obviously.


The Packers don't ever give that 3rd contract to an OL and it seems like it always ends up being the right decision. I think they keep Linsley and let Bulaga leave, like you say they do have options and should probably draft a tackle as well. "Bryan Bulaga, Iowa" cracks me up every time.


They don't usually give that 3rd contract to any position outside of QB. And it has almost always been the right decision. And it'd likely be the right decision here if Rodgers was 30 years old in my opinion, but the older he gets, the most important a good OL is obviously.


The sticking point for me is I don't know what the hell to believe. The Packers are apparently going to aggressively pursue both Austin Hooper and Corey Littleton in free agency. I've read that both are their top targets and they'll be very aggressive in trying to sign both. And that'd be awesome, but while you can do a lot with the salary cap in terms of kinda pushing those problems down the road, you're going to be paying Clark and I'd assume Bahk in the near future(both are FA's next season I believe).


Still, I'd try and bring back Bulaga as the top priority, accommodate Veldheer and then I'd make getting a young, talented tackle a priority. If you do sign Bulaga, I think you'd do it in the same way you paid Graham. Where you can get out of it in year 3 without it costing you too much.


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Offline  Re: Packer OL Decisions
#4

Posted: March 04, 2020, 9:41 PM Post
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Extending Linsley and lowering his cap number wouldn't be too bad either.

If we can get Bulaga back at a team-friendly deal, I'd be ok with it. Otherwise, a high draft pick, Veldheer, and Turner aren't a horrible multi-tiered plan. A healthy Bulaga is the best plan, but not guaranteed.


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Online  Re: Packer OL Decisions
#5

Posted: March 05, 2020, 11:21 AM Post
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CheezWizHed said:
Extending Linsley and lowering his cap number wouldn't be too bad either.

If we can get Bulaga back at a team-friendly deal, I'd be ok with it. Otherwise, a high draft pick, Veldheer, and Turner aren't a horrible multi-tiered plan. A healthy Bulaga is the best plan, but not guaranteed.



Veldheer was really impressive last year in the short stints he took over. Again, I have zero confidence in Turner, but Gute hasn't been wrong about a whole lot thus far, so I've got confidence in him for the time being.


It does seem like a lot of people covering the Packers think Linsley could be a cap casualty this year. Which is surprising to me given how good he's been, but you signed Patrick, so who knows. If going from Linsley to Patrick allows the Packers to be able to afford an Austin Hooper or Corey Littleton...it's hard to argue with that logic.


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Offline  Re: Packer OL Decisions
#6

Posted: March 05, 2020, 11:37 AM Post
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I don't think its Linsley being bad, just being above average and paid to be pro-bowl caliber. I'd be happier to see him in the $7M cap range instead of $10M.

I'm not sold on Turner at G or T, which is why he was my third RT option. I'd be fine if they tried him at RT in ST to see how he holds up to evaluate the option. He doesn't seem to handle stunts well though and seemed to miss people in the small C-RT gap that way. Out at RT could make that a worse problem.


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Offline  Re: Packer OL Decisions
#7

Posted: March 05, 2020, 9:58 PM Post
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It's interesting that the Packers have not contacted Bulaga about re-signing so you would have to assume he won't be brought back. Is the plan to bring back Veldheer and use a higher draft pick as the future? No idea what Veldheer would command for salary.


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Offline  Re: Packer OL Decisions
#8

Posted: March 06, 2020, 7:18 AM Post
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wallus said:
It's interesting that the Packers have not contacted Bulaga about re-signing so you would have to assume he won't be brought back. Is the plan to bring back Veldheer and use a higher draft pick as the future? No idea what Veldheer would command for salary.


It isn't really surprising, though. He's at the age where the Packers typically let free agent OL walk. That practice has pretty much always been a good plan, too. When was the last time the Packers gave an O-lineman a 3rd contract? Clifton maybe?

Formerly Joey Meyer Bombs


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Offline  Re: Packer OL Decisions
#9

Posted: March 06, 2020, 9:37 AM Post
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Draft a tackle on day 2 and let Bulaga go.


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Offline  Re: Packer OL Decisions
#10

Posted: March 06, 2020, 1:27 PM Post
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Ron Robinson's Beard said:
wallus said:
It's interesting that the Packers have not contacted Bulaga about re-signing so you would have to assume he won't be brought back. Is the plan to bring back Veldheer and use a higher draft pick as the future? No idea what Veldheer would command for salary.


It isn't really surprising, though. He's at the age where the Packers typically let free agent OL walk. That practice has pretty much always been a good plan, too. When was the last time the Packers gave an O-lineman a 3rd contract? Clifton maybe?


I was trying to think of non QB/Crosby's who they gave the 3rd contract to and Clifton came to mind, not sure if it was his third but it was a disaster, I think he just played a couple of games. Others were Jordy who tore his knee up 10 minutes later and Woodson(not the Packers 3rd contract but a big late career deal) who was also released after an injury plagued season. So I can see why they stay away from them. Sorry to hear they aren't even talking to Bulaga but some tackle needy team will outbid anything they will offer I am sure, only hope is Bulaga just wants to stay.


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Online  Re: Packer OL Decisions
#11

Posted: March 06, 2020, 4:23 PM Post
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CheezWizHed said:
I don't think its Linsley being bad, just being above average and paid to be pro-bowl caliber. I'd be happier to see him in the $7M cap range instead of $10M.

I'm not sold on Turner at G or T, which is why he was my third RT option. I'd be fine if they tried him at RT in ST to see how he holds up to evaluate the option. He doesn't seem to handle stunts well though and seemed to miss people in the small C-RT gap that way. Out at RT could make that a worse problem.



That is exactly the issue I have with Turner. I know he played RT with the Bronco's and he was very good as a run blocker or just vs a bull rush, but he did not look anywhere near quick enough to handle the more athletic pass rushers.

As for Linsley, I think he's closer to a Pro Bowler than an average or just a regular starter. He's been a Pro Bowl alternate the last couple seasons for what it's worth. If anything I think he's exceeded expectations since signing that 3/25 extension, but who knows. It sounds like Gute's going to hold off on making some roster decisions until he knows how free agency is going. Maybe if he can sign Hooper and Littleton for example, he decides it's worth it to go with Patrick over Linsley at center and save the money.


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Online  Re: Packer OL Decisions
#12

Posted: March 06, 2020, 4:57 PM Post
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Ron Robinson's Beard said:
wallus said:
It's interesting that the Packers have not contacted Bulaga about re-signing so you would have to assume he won't be brought back. Is the plan to bring back Veldheer and use a higher draft pick as the future? No idea what Veldheer would command for salary.


It isn't really surprising, though. He's at the age where the Packers typically let free agent OL walk. That practice has pretty much always been a good plan, too. When was the last time the Packers gave an O-lineman a 3rd contract? Clifton maybe?



I would think just about all contract extensions would be on hold at the moment given the restrictions with the CBA. Because it's the last year of the CBA, there are rules on how much of an extension you can give to players. The "30 pct rule." So I would guess if the new CBA gets ratified by the players the Packers would almost certainly talk to Bulaga about an extension. No clue how that works out, how they view Turner or Velheer's future. Though when you have to kinda coax a guy back from retirement, at best you're hoping he plays for one more year.


As for the Packers not giving a guy a 3rd contract, there are a lot of reasons for that. Obviously by a guys 3rd deal he's going to be 8-10 years into the league. When we say "the Packers," that's pretty much Ted Thompson didn't.

But again, I don't think signing Bulaga is something that would have been the best decision maybe 5-6 years ago, but at this point in Rodgers career, I think it's a bigger priority and the Packers may be more willing to buck the trend.

We'll have to see, but the Packers not talking to Bulaga, I'm skeptical that's because they don't want him back. It wouldn't surprise me to see them sign him a few days before free agency as they've done with guys in the past.


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Offline  Re: Packer OL Decisions
#13

Posted: March 07, 2020, 10:14 AM Post
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Another consideration to sign/not-sign Bulaga is that Clark, Linsley, Bakhtiari, Aaron Jones, and King are all FA in 2021. There are our priority FAs.


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