The Green Bay Packers had signaled they were ready to make a change at right tackle next season when they signed free agent Ricky Wagner on Tuesday, but news of their former starter finding a new home confirms their offensive line will look different in 2020.
The Los Angeles Chargers have agreed to terms on a three-year, $30 million deal for veteran tackle Bryan Bulaga to complete massive upgrades to the right side of their offensive line, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Chargers are also set to add former Carolina Panthers right guard Trai Turner after trading away left tackle Russell Okung earlier this month.
Both the Chargers’ signing and trade will become official when the new league year begins at 3 p.m. CT on Wednesday.
Bulaga just completed his five-year, $33.75 million contract with the Packers and started 111 games since he was drafted in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He also played one of the most consistent seasons of his career in 2019, proving to be an elite pass-blocker for quarterback Aaron Rodgers while also battling through injuries to ensure he made every start in the regular season.
But health has long been a concern for Bulaga, who was forced to overcome torn ACLs in 2013 and 2017 and has only started all 16 games twice in his decade in the NFL. Whether his body can hold up remains the biggest question about the veteran tackle as he prepares to turn 31 this Saturday.
The Chargers have now fortified their offensive line with a pair of pass-blocking veterans who should help keep the pocket pretty clean. Now they just need to find the man who will occupy that pocket. It remains to be seen who the Chargers will bring in as their next quarterback after letting Philip Rivers walk to sign a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts.
Follow the Heavy on Packers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Packers Secure Replacement for Bulaga
While Bulaga plugs right into the Chargers’ depth chart, the Packers had already taken steps to ensure they had a replacement lined up earlier on Tuesday when they signed Wagner to a two-year, $11 million contract. He was released from the Detroit Lions on March 13 and thus was eligible to sign right away prior to the official start of free agency — as was inside linebacker Christian Kirksey.
Wagner was a cap casualty to be sure for the Lions, as they avoided paying about $6.1 million of his $11.9 million due next season, but there were other factors that also contributed to the cost-cutting move. The 30-year-old right tackle has missed eight games over his three years in Detroit and been flagged for holding more than three times as much as his first four seasons with Baltimore.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst crafted a safe contract for the Packers in regards to his health, though, and could still be looking to add another offensive tackle this offseason either in free agency or with an early-round draft pick next month. The Packers will have 10 selections in the 2020 NFL Draft with their first pick coming at No. 30 overall.