The Los Angeles Chargers didn’t win the Tom Brady sweepstakes, but they did land offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga to one of the top value contracts of this offseason for any team at any position.
Bulaga, a first-round pick of the Green Bay Packers, reportedly agreed to a three-year, $30 million contract with the Chargers. Bulaga started 111 contests across 10 seasons in Green Bay and was a pillar of the offensive line for quarterback Aaron Rodgers over the last decade.
Over the time that Bulaga anchored the right tackle spot in Green Bay, the Chargers have featured four different primary starters with a revolving door of options along the interior offensive line. Whether it has been injuries or failed draft picks, offensive line stability has too long been an issue for the Chargers.
At 31 years old, Bulaga isn’t likely to replicate the longevity he enjoyed in Green Bay but he’s a significant upgrade over Sam Tevi, who was a liability as the starting right tackle in 2018 and 2019.
Tevi yielded an astounding 101 pressures on the quarterback over the last two seasons, according to Pro Football Focus. By comparison, Bulaga has allowed a total of 100 pressures on the quarterback since 2016.
While Bulaga shines in pass protection, he’s a balanced blocker that is a reliable performer in the run game. He will pair wonderfully with the newly acquired Trai Turner to produce one of the most formidable right sides of the offensive lines in football. Turner, a Pro Bowler in each of the last five seasons, represents a notable upgrade from Michael Schofield who was the previous starter at right guard. Los Angeles has done an incredible job of fortifying that right side of the offensive line by adding Turner and Bulaga this offseason.
The quality of talent Bulaga offers in making the right tackle position better for the Chargers is exciting, but a $10 million average annual salary makes him a total steal. That places Bulaga at the 20th highest-paid offensive tackle in football.
Bulaga should have no issues fitting in with the Chargers where he joins former position coach James Campen. Campen coached Bulaga every year in his career aside from last season. The two are reunited and set to make sure whoever the next quarterback for the Chargers is receiving better blocking than what Philip Rivers experienced in recent years.
If the Chargers would have gotten more serious about fixing the offensive line sooner than this offseason, perhaps Rivers’ 16-year tenure with the franchise wouldn’t have ended with a 5-11 record where he tossed 20 interceptions and fumbled eight times.