The Los Angeles Chargers’ biggest need outside of quarterback this offseason is help on the offensive line and Bryan Bulaga could be that help.
The Los Angeles Chargers are moving into a new era at the quarterback position and are going to need to bolster the offensive line to make sure the transition to a new quarterback is as seamless as possible.
General manager Tom Telesco has already made a massive improvement to the offensive line, trading tackle Russell Okung for five-time Pro Bowl guard, Trai Turner. Okung hardly played last season anyways and it was clear that he was not part of the team’s long-term future.
That naturally opened up a hole at tackle that the Los Angeles Chargers now have to fill. Trey Pipkins might end up getting one of the tackle jobs as he showed a lot of potential in his rookie season in 2019. Even if Pipkins is trusted with a starting job, the Chargers need at least one tackle.
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And the perfect fit is available in free agent Bryan Bulaga.
Bulaga was an anchor of the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line all last decade, starting every single season at right tackle. Although Bulaga does not have a Pro Bowl under his belt, he has been well above-average his entire career and would be a huge improvement to the Chargers’ O-line.
When Pro Football Focus did their Week 15 offensive lineman rankings they ranked Bulaga as the ninth-best tackle in the league based on his 2019 performance. Despite being a seasoned veteran, Bulaga will only be 31 this upcoming season and, at the very least, has four more productive seasons in him.
Bulaga is much more than a hypothetical great fit for the Chargers, though, as the chips are beginning to fall for Bulaga to come to Los Angeles. The Green Bay Packers just signed tackle Rick Wagner to a two-year, $11 million contract.
Bulaga won’t get that small of a contract but it is not like he is going to get a massive one, either. Spotrac estimates Bulaga’s market value to be $10.8 million per season, so a three-year, $30 million contract is absolutely in play for the Chargers.
The team can afford it as well, assuming they do not break the bank on signing Tom Brady.
According to Spotrac, the Chargers have just under $52 million in cap space, and while they have big-name free agents such as Joey Bosa and Keenan Allen in upcoming offseasons, they could still afford a $10 million lineman, especially considering the team will naturally free up money via the likes of Melvin Ingram and Tyrod Taylor.
There is also a natural connection to the Chargers that some fans may not know about. James Campen is the Chargers’ new offensive line coach after being the offensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns last season. More importantly, Campen was the Packers’ offensive line coach from 2010 to 2017.
Could the Los Angeles Chargers draft a tackle in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft? Sure, if they sign a free-agent quarterback. But if the plan is to draft Justin Herbert or roll with Tyrod Taylor for a year, then signing Bryan Bulaga is an opportunity the team cannot miss.