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How to Afford Bryan Bulaga? Make Him a Right Tackle, of Course

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How to Afford Bryan Bulaga? Make Him a Right Tackle, of Course

Sometime next week Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy will very likely make public the Packers' plans for how they plan to deploy their tackles, both left and right, while at the annual NFL owners meetings in Orlando.

As of the NFL Combine, McCarthy still hadn't decided, citing transition on the coaching staff contributing to a delay in evaluation of personnel. He also wanted to opportunity to personally speak with Bryan Bulaga and inform him what the staff decided.

Truly, a compelling argument can be made either way whether to install Bulaga or David Bakhtiari as Aaron Rodgers' blindside protector.

Bulaga is the experienced veteran, a Super Bowl champion and has the more ideal size suited for being a franchise left tackle, one inch taller and roughly 14 lbs. heavier than Bakhtiari.

On the other hand, Bakhtiari has the longer arms, quicker feet and room to improve, entering just his second year in the NFL.

The good news for the Packers is that they probably can't go wrong either way. It's an enviable position. They have plenty of options to choose from, and if Derek Sherrod can finally get healthy, he's not out of the mix at both tackle positions either.

So what will be deciding factor? Probably something that doesn't have anything with their play on the field.

With Bulaga entering the final season of his contract, the Packers can influence his earning power by switching Bulaga back to right tackle, where he spent the first three seasons of his career.

The coaching staff may not admit the financial ramifications play a factor, but they also don't have to. McCarthy can cite any number of reasons, such as not wanting to move Bakhtiari and mess up his rapport with Josh Sitton. He can also express a desire to move Bulaga back to the strong-side of the offensive line, where he can help pave the way for Eddie Lacy in the run game. Those are all perfectly legit reasons too.

Last season the Packers made the decision to slide Bulaga to the opposite edge, pairing him with Sitton on the left side of the offensive line. That was before Bulaga's torn ACL early in training camp halted such a development.

Before the Packers even consider offering Bulaga a contract extension, he's going to have to prove he can stay healthy after landing on injured reserve each of the past two seasons. In 2012, his campaign ended after suffering a fracture in the capsule of his left hip.

Assuming he does stay healthy, the Packers face the challenge of fitting Bulaga into a salary-cap structure made increasingly difficult by booming salaries league-wide.

The Packers also figure to extend the contracts of another pair of players before they hit free agency next season in wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. They represent another piece of the salary-cap puzzle and could impact what the Packers have left to offer Bulaga.

Certainly there are different ways to judge the value of NFL players, such as guaranteed dollars and length of a contract, but just a cursory look at the average per year salaries of left tackles compared to right tackles shows a significant difference.

The NFL's highest-paid right tackle, Gosder Cherilus of the Indianapolis Colts, makes $7 million per season. At that rate, Cherilus would rank 16th on the list of the highest-paid left tackles.

It's impossible to look at the Bulaga situation in a vacuum. If there's an NFL team that thinks he could be their franchise left tackle and Bulaga is dead set on testing the open market, there's a chance someone could pay him in excess of $9 million a season, especially if he has a strong bounce-back year—even if it comes at right tackle.

But as B.J. Raji found out, a bird in hand is better than two in the bush. And that's exaclty what the Packers will offer, a bird in hand.

If Bulaga proves to be the same player he's been his first three years in professional football—good but not great, solid but not spectacular—and particularly if he's slow to recover from last year's knee injury, then naming him the Packers' right tackle makes a whole lot of sense financially. And it's not as that decision would be a hindrance from a competitive standpoint either.

Bakhtiari has just as much entitlement to be the Packers' left tackle as Bulaga after being a steadying influence in 2013.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (73) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Jordan's picture

Bulaga has never looked good at left tackle in the limited time he has played there.

Bulaga will probably spend his final year on bench backing up LT and RT.

Evan's picture

"Bulaga has never looked good at left tackle in the limited time he has played there."

When has he actually played LT for the Packers?

Jordan's picture

He played left tackle in 2010 preseason against second and third stringers and looked borderline terrible.

Why do you think he wasn't shifted to LT earlier? Just a coincidence? Don't you think the Packers would have moved him to play on Rodger's blind side much sooner (than 2013) if they had confidence he could play left tackle?
:sigh:

Guisado's picture

Bulaga got stuck out at RT. After his draft in the first round, the buzz was he was questionable as a T in the NFL. The Packers had Tausch and Clifton and were set at both LT and RT. So Bulaga did most of his reps at LG in pre-season. Then Tausch got hurt mid season, so he took over at RT. He was dominant. Then Tausch retired. In 2011 Clifton came back to man the LT, so Bulaga stayed at RT. But Clifton got hurt early and Newhouse looked pretty good at LT as a young guy with upside. So in 2012, the Pack (after much debate) rolled with Bulaga at RT and Newhouse at LT. That didn't work too well, and Bulaga ended the season on IR with a hip injury. Newhouse was in over his head. To start out 2013, Bulaga was the LT, but got hurt in preseason.

That's why he they didn't move him sooner.

Jordan's picture

So in 2012, after much debate, they decided to go with Newhouse. Right, because Newhouse looked good in pre-season and when he played LT in 2011. Bulaga looked borderline terrible in 2010 pre-season.

They went with in inexperienced 5th rounder instead of an experienced 1st rounder with a Super Bowl ring to protect Rodger's blind side. What more is there to say? <<rhetorical>>

Stroh's picture

Dude seriously... You are misinformed! Packers had Bulaga at RT from mid rookie season till just this past offseason. They had Newhouse at LT becuz Bulaga and Sitton had developed a very good working relationship. Same to a lesser extent w/ Newhouse and Lang. They didn't want to disrupt that experience working w/ each other and Newhouse had better tools to play LT. Newhouse it was believed at the time had the tools to develop into a good starting LT. They weren't convinced so they drafted Sherrod the following year and he got tried at LG since Newhouse had looked decent and they thought he might develop.

Bulaga was switched last offseason w/ the rest of the OL and that was the first time he actually was being looked at as a LT since early in his rookie year!

You couldn't be more wrong!

Jordan's picture

Lol. The packers don't just evaluate the offensive line when the media writes a story about it. If they were comfortable sliding their number 1 pick (Bulaga) who was drafted to replace Clifton in to the left tackle spot, they would have done it immediately. They have a vested interest in protecting arod's blindside. You don't put your second best left tackle to protect arods blindside.

HankScorpio's picture

"Bulaga will probably spend his final year on bench backing up LT and RT."

I've not seen anyone express anything remotely like this before. I get why you'd say he's not going to start at LT. But I don't get you saying he'd even back up the RT.

Who do you think starts at RT ahead of Bulaga? The follow up is whether you think that is due, in part or whole, to lingering effect of Bulaga's injury.

Jordan's picture

Hank,
Bulaga wasn't looking real good at right tackle right before the injury. Yes, I believe the combination of him not looking good before the injury and now after the injuries.........doesn't look good for him starting.

Maybe he had other nagging injuries that slowed him down. Maybe his thyroid was acting up again. I don't know. Hopefully he makes a great comeback. I'm just basing my prediction on what I saw on the field. And based on what I saw on the field before injury, I think he'll be the backup at both RT and LT.

If you have a DVR or hard drive with old packers games or NFL Rewind subscription, go back and watch Bulaga and see what you think.

HankScorpio's picture

Jordan,

I have don't have old Packer games available for viewing but I do have some vague recollections that Bulaga wasn't playing great football when we last saw him. I remember it more as maddening inconsistency mostly. But again, I can't review to confirm or deny that recollection.

I guess what I'm really curious about is who you think would be the starting RT if not him. I've seen enough of Barclay at RT to conclude he's better suited to the inside. I have no confidence in Sherrod at all. I'm hopeful I'm wrong about that but will need to see it first. Bulaga has played at a high level at RT in the past so he seems like the best guy for the job--at least given the current roster.

Jordan's picture

I expect to see Barclay at right tackle. But I wouldn't spend too much time thinking about it. Injuries can re-shuffle the entire offensive line in the blink of an eye.

I would predict bhaktiari at lt, sitton at lg, tretter at c, Lang at rg, and Barclay at rt.

Whether it's Barclay, Bulaga, or Sherrod at RT, I expect there to be a short leash no matter who is in there.

There will plenty of time to watch them pass block and run block in pre-season. It's a good problem to have. Competition will certainly help.

Stroh's picture

You lose all credibility when saying that Barclay will be the RT over Bulaga... Or Sherrod for that matter. No chance in H E double hockey sticks. Barclay is overmatched at RT and needs to be moved inside where his strengths are accentuated and his weaknesses are mitigated!

Birney the baker's picture

This one is a tough one to call. Bak deserves to be the starter at LT this year. Bulaga like Sherrod has alot to prove again. I do like Bulaga at right tackle though if I had a choice.

I was always wanting to see how Sherrod and Bulaga would play together and both be 10 year studs now Bak has changed that with his solid rookie year.

If this damn team could JUST ONCE!! have a relatively injury free year it would be nice to see all these guys play together at the same time.

The battle of the century will be Bulaga vs. Sherrod. Who starts? I just can't see them benching Bak at this point. One of those two others will have to sit the pine and be the 6th man. Nice problem to have though.

Evan's picture

"The battle of the century will be Bulaga vs. Sherrod."

I don't know how much of a battle that'll be. I think they're going to go into training camp with Bak at LT and Bulaga back at RT.

I think a lot would have to go wrong with Bak/Bulaga for Sherrod to sniff a starting spot. But I'm excited that he's finally healthy and look forward to seeing what he can do.

Stroh's picture

I'm sorry but I don't see how Bahktiari has done anything to prove he is the answer at LT. Everyone is over estimating his play last year cuz he was a rookie and faired better than Newhouse. Bahktiari has NOT in anyway locked the LT job down.

I expect Bulaga to move back to RT permanently and LT will be a fierce competition between Sherrod and Bahktiari. IMO that's a competition Sherrod should win! Sherrod is every thing that Bulaga and Bahktiari aren't for a LT.

Sherrod has better foot quickness than BOTH, he has the long arms (35 1/2 in) of a LT. Sherrod also played in the ultra competive SEC as compared to a step below big 10 and another step down Pac 12. Sherrod just has to show he's over the injury and is back where he was pre-injury. If he does that, he'll be the starter.

Birney the baker's picture

"Sherrod has better foot quickness than BOTH"

Really Stroh? This is based on what? How quick he was standing on the sidelines in crutches for the past two years. Come on man!! I know you are in love with the guy but Sherrod has proven NOTHING!! Bahk goes into camp as the starting left tackle and he won't lose that position until 2026 I predict.

As we speak Bahk is working out and putting 20 lbs of muscle. He'll be a lean mean fighting machine by the time training camp starts. Bahk got thrown in the fire immediately on day one of training camp and dominated everyone in practice including Mr. Matthews. This was as a green rookie.

Elite players sort of stand out immediately as rookies. The great ones usually do. We saw it with Jennings, Matthews, Lacy and now Bahktiari. I'll bet you a 6 pack of ice cold Schlitz that Bahk is the starting left tackle in game one in Sept. As far as Sherrod goes, at this point I don't even care. It's like waiting on Justin Harrel. We've all been there and done that. Time to move on. If he comes back fine. He's a luxury at this point.

Stroh's picture

Sherrod's combine numbers were better. Yes it was a couple years ago and pre-injury. But we have no reason to believe that w/ a full year to regain his conditioning that he won't still have that foot quickness. You have to remember that your comparing Bahktiari to the closest LT you remember which was Newhouse. Mike Flanagan had the same injury and he returned to form and became a Pro Bowl Center. So its hardly unprecedented, and that was nearly 20 yrs ago.

Bahktiari putting on 20 lbs would mean he's getting too big too fast. If he puts on 10 quality lbs of muscle in one year he's doing very well.

I have never said that Sherrod has proven anything. Only that he is talented, he does have the perfect LT traits that Bulaga and Bahktiari lack. Sherrod does have issues w/ being top heavy and lacks an aggressiveness. So he has to improve on some things too.

But in the NFL the #1 job of a LT is pass blocking and Sherrod is very well suited to pass block in the NFL. More so than either Bulaga and Bahktiari.

I would say that Bahktiari did well, but certainly wouldn't say he Stood Out in any way! Don't make the mistake of believing that he is a stand out LT! He was better than Newhouse... That's not saying much... IIRC he had the worst rating of the Packers OL last year, worse than Barclay, for whatever you chose to put into PFF.

It will be an interesting competition.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agree completely. Bakhtiari was a gem to find in the 4th round, but he was a well-below average starting LT, though better than Newhouse. And he might get stronger and develop. Time will tell. Sherrod was a consensus 1st round talent. The only knock on Sherrod was that despite his size and measurables, some analysts suggested he played with too much finesse. Both are prototypical left tackles. Bulaga played with power, and when drafted there was some question whether he could play LT, but most analysts thought he could. I suspect that Bulaga will be the RT, and Bakhtiari and Sherrod will battle it out at left tackle. A fair amount of players drafted as tackle taken late in the first round turn out to be busts, and Sherrod has not yet shown much, mostly due to injury and being moved to guard, but I certainly hope that a fierce battle erupts between Sherrod and Bakhtiari to start at LT because it should mean that GB gets improved play.

As a note, with Bulaga entering a contract year and GB having a fairly expensive option on Sherrod after next year, I suggested that TT might surprise fans by taking a tackle in round 2 or 3, since this draft is loaded with right tackle prospects. I thought it was possible, not probable, but with EDS gone, it is less likely. GB will probably draft an offensive lineman at some point since they almost always do.

PackerBacker's picture

"I suspect that Bulaga will be the RT, and Bakhtiari and Sherrod will battle it out at left tackle."

This is exactly what I was thinking. Let Sherrod and Bakhtiari battle it out for the LT spot.

However, I disagree with your thoughts on Sherrod's contract after next year. I think they're in a good position to keep a physically gifted young player for a lower cost because he's been injured and hasn't been able to prove that he's worth a high LT price. The only exception would be if he won the starting job this year and blew everyone's minds. I could see him making a run for the starter position, but doubt he blows minds in his first year as a starter (if that were to happen).

If Bakh wins it, then they keep Sherrod as a backup and, again, don't have to pay him a mindblowing new contract.

Win-win.

Nick Perry's picture

I agree with many of the points you made Tom. I think Bahk makes that jump from year one to two that the Packers always hope for. I think he'll gain some weight, proper weight from a off season in a NFL weight room and be much stronger than last year. The fact he was thrown out there and won that job in TC and then held it down speaks volumes about that man. I agree, I think we have our LT of the future in Bahk.

Bulaga hasn't played in what, 23 games? He made a good RT and was on his way to being one of the better RT in the NFL. But he hasn't played a down in the NFL since week 9 of 2012! We all want Bulaga to come back and play and obviously stay healthy, but it will be at RT if he does.

Sherrod is the wild card. No one except the Packers have a clue where this guy really is. Personally I could care less about what he did in the combine at this point, who cares, it was 3 years ago in his undies. Sherrod is on the Packers because he was a 1st round pick and the Packers have invested a large chunk of money in him. This is the year he either shows up and does something, or he'll sit on the bench as a backup until his contract is up. Hell, can he play Center?

Barclay should be moved inside. I'm sick of watching DE treat him like a turnstile. He'll either be a Guard, Center, or backup RT.

Birney the baker's picture

Excellent points Nice Perry!! Agree with them all!!

MarkinMadison's picture

I have to agree, Bulaga at RT is a no-brainer. I think the Packers would be making a mistake by letting him go after next season, assuming he is healthy, but what do I know.

As far as Sherrod goes, I am where I was.

Evan's picture

Speaking of Bulaga being 15 pounds heavier than Bakhtiari, I'm really curious to see what Bahk weighs come training camp. Kid better be living in the gym right now.

Jordan's picture

Why? What has Bulaga ever done to prove he can play LT in NFL?

Evan's picture

Uhhhh....what?

Jordan's picture

nevermind, i thought you were talking about something else.

GBjohnny's picture

Way off topic, but is there a way to shrink this new banner at the top of my screen? Takes up half my viewing area

Guisado's picture

Totally agree. It's obnoxious. Also, the edges of my screen are wasted on empty space. Between the white banner and the empty space, it's 33% of my screen being wasted.

Not complaining, Corey! Just trying to provide some feedback. Overall, you've done a great job with the new site!

Stroh's picture

I agree, and while we're at it... Be nice to be able to comment on my phone. That issue still isn't resolved as far as I can tell.

Gotta get the issues resolved. Please...

PackerBacker's picture

I think Corey said that the option to comment on the phone will be out on the second rollout. Not sure when that's happening, but it is in the works.

coreyb's picture

You know what else would be nice?

Having money to develop this site.

It will be in phase 2.

Evan's picture

"You know what else would be nice?

Having money to develop this site."

http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view4/3363474/simpsons-awkward-collar-pull-o.gif

Ruppert's picture

Don't worry, dude. When I get done picking my tournament bracket perfectly, I'll hook you up with some of the KEESH!

coreyb's picture

Guys - you know what you can do?

Get a bigger screen. :)

- I will be tweaking the banner (making it smaller) to help but I don't plan on changing the header anytime soon.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Create a bookmarklet ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bookmarklet ) by making a bookmark of any page and edit it by replacing the url part with this...

javascript:(function(x){x.parentNode.removeChild(x);})(document.getElementById('header'));

It will delete the floating header from the page when you click the bookmark. If you want the header back to click a link or something just reload the page and it will come back. You can edit the name as well, I named mine cutTheCheez

Guisado's picture

Wow, that just blew my mind. Thank you. I really prefer less noise on my screen.

coreyb's picture

Great workaround Jeremy.

Ruppert's picture

Awesome. Thanks.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Someone dislikes the fact that you've found this useful. How dare you!

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Ha ha, people dislike this? Don't use it then.

ben's picture

I'd say the battle is at Center. I've always liked Barclay and thought his game translates to center. But his value backing up almost the entire line makes him the top candidate to win the 6th man award.

2014 Offensive Line Depth Chart:

David----------Sitton----------Tretter---------- Lang---------- Bulaga
Sharrod-------Barclay--------Barclay----------Barclay--------Barclay
Barclay---------[ 2014 4th-5th Round Draft Pick ]---------Sharrod

Top 4th-5th Round C/G Prospects:
Bryan Stork (4-5) / Tyler Larson (5-6) / Trai Turner (5) / Russell Bodine (6)

Jordan's picture

You never know, but Sherrod would have to look really good in training camp and preseason for them to trust him at LT. Too hard to predict now. But just from an overall NFL experience thing, I suspect they would trust Bulaga more at backup LT than Sherrod if the season started tomorrow.

Hard to say how things will shake out this early.

L's picture

From my understanding Barclay had trouble with the "exchange" to the QB when he was given ample opportunities at Center last year in training camp and pre-season and it's also why TJ.Lang was given run there during the season.

Hopefully, D.Barclay has taken the time this off-season to really focus on improving his ability to exchange the football to the QB as well as improve his knowledge of the O-Line calls/responsibilities from Center because I would like to see him become the primary back-up to all 3 interior positions w/ the ability to push JC.Tretter for the starting position at Center.

However, as of right now based solely on how the team ended the season last year and what we have retained the O-Line Depth Chart probably looks more like this...

RT: B.Bulaga/D.Bakhtiari/D.Sherrod, D.Barclay

RG: TJ.Lang, D.Barclay/L.Taylor, JC.Tretter, G.Gerhart, B.Bulaga/D.Bakhtiari, D.Sherrod

C: JC.Tretter/G.Gerhart, TJ.Lang/D.Barclay, L.Taylor/D.Bakhtiari

LG: J.Sitton, TJ.Lang, D.Barclay/L.Taylor, JC.Tretter, G.Gerhart, B.Bulaga/D.Bakhtiari, D.Sherrod

LT: D.Bakhtiari/B.Bulaga/D.Sherrod, TJ.Lang

...with the team having to decide between D.Barclay, G.Gerhart, L.Taylor (maybe), and if they draft a player for a 7th and maybe 8th O-lineman spot on the 53.

Honestly, G.Gerhart will have to seriously outplay JC.Tretter at Center in training camp and the pre-season, plus JC.Tretter will probably have to show little improvement along the way in order for G.Gerhart to earn a spot on the 53 (but it would probably be as the starter for the beginning of the season) or D.Barclay will have to of demonstrated that he took major steps back during training camp/pre-season. If G.Gerhart makes the 53 that'll leave the team with a very tough decision of possibly carrying 8 O-linemen because of the likely value in keeping both JC.Tretter (for development purposes) and D.Barclay (a guy who'll likely be looked too for being a very versatile back-up lineman -- covering multiple or most positions in order to allow for the best continuity along the line should injury occur).

Outside of a shocking step-up from L.Taylor I also don't think he'll make the 53, but again it probably depends on disappointments from D.Barclay in comparison to vast improvements from L.Taylor.

4thand1's picture

Going into TC it will be
LT-Bahktiari
LG- Sitton
C-Tretter
RG- Lang
RT-Bulaga
End of story, no more arguments.

Birney the baker's picture

... I agree BUT!! two days into training camp it will be:

LT - Bulaga - Bak out for season with ACL in first practice
LG - Sitton
C - Barclay - Tretter breaks other ankle in 2nd practice
RG - Lang
RT - Some undrafted rookie- Sherrod is still not ready yet. Packers taking it easy on him.

L's picture

**Knocks on wood**

This better not occur.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Asshole...

4thand1's picture

There was a lot of talk about Chris Clemons from Miami before FA started. WTF is there something wrong with this guy? Seems like nobody wants him. Last I heard, the Steelers were interested , but they're not going to offer much. He's still sitting there. Seems like a good deal could be made for him.

Stroh's picture

Seems kinda curious doesn't it... Would seem that the NFL GM's don't rate Clemons very highly at all. I agree the timing is right to get a deal done for him. Probably get him pretty cheap at this point too. I wonder if teams are looking at the draft and thinking the options there are better than Clemons?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Over the Cap is listing Peppers Cap hit for 2014 at $3.5 million confirmed. It calculates GB's cap room at $17.5 million, but they don't have Guion's and Starks' contract information. Guion is around $700K with $100K guaranteed. IDK the numbers for Starks. Still, it looks like TT could sign more FAs, even a mid-tier guy, if he sees value. Possibly a Clemons (I am not saying Clemons is a mid-tier guy given the lack of movement for Clemons) or someone else. I am still thinking TT signs Flynn at or near vet minimum.

PackerBacker's picture

I think they'd have to get the mid-tier for 2 mill or less on this year's cap if they did that.

More likely is that they keep thier cap room for this:

5-6 mill for rookies
10 million to extend Cobb and Nelson
anything leftover they roll into next year.

That's more TT's style. I just don't see them signing any more FA's who cost more than 1-2 million against the cap.

L's picture

Not to mention, keep room available for the future considerations of signing their other free-agents-to-be next year if they prove themselves during the 2014 season; such as BJ.Raji if he proves to be his effective 2010 self again by being played primarily as the NT, Bryan Bulaga if he's able to bounce back from his injury and prove to be a very good Tackle for the Pack during 2014, Tramon Williams if he's able to put together a full season like the way he ended the 2013 season (and sort of matching his 2010 season), Davon House if he demonstrates he has obviously improved his comfort and ability to play a very physical style of corner and especially if he's thrust into major playing time and responds extremely well, DuJuan Harris if he ends up reclaiming the starter role or a share of it because of his ability and performances on the field, Sean Richardson if he demonstrates that he's a viable player for the Pack at safety whether that's as a back-up or as a challenger for a starter spot, Don Barclay if he's able to prove that he can be the versatile back-up lineman the Pack probably hope he can become or if he ends up becoming the starter at Center through earning it outright over JC.Tretter, Jarrett Boykin if he continues to demonstrate that he's a legitimate #2-3 WR in the NFL, Jamari Lattimore if he continues demonstrating that he's a valuable future piece for the Pack in leading their special teams and at backing-up multiple linebacker positions, Scott Tolzien if he proves he can be the clear cut back-up QB behind Aaron Rodgers, Letroy Guion if he proves to be quite effective as part of their d-line rotation, Chris Banjo if he becomes an integral special teams member and a valuable back-up safety. I mention this because these are also some of the thoughts to keep in mind when thinking about the team's cap space beyond just this year and when talking about the need to keep space available for extending Jordy Nelson and Randle Cobb because there's others who may earn mentioning too as the season plays out.

Stroh's picture

Just a comment on the article... Bahktiari and Bulaga have identical numbers in the foot quickness tests in the combines/pro days. Both 7.70 in the 3 cone and 4.75 and 4.74 in the shuttle.

Sherrod was significantly better at both posting 7.43 and 4.63. Sherrods arms are about 3 in longer than Bulaga and 1.5 in longer than Bahktiari.

Of the 3 Sherrod is easily the best equipped to play LT. He also went against the higher level of competition in the SEC and was All Conference.

If Sherrod shows he's recovered from the injury, which I think he will, he will have a very strong chance of winning the LT job.

Bulaga is best suited at RT, Sherrod best suited at LT. Be an interesting competition between Sherrod and Bahktiari for the LT job. But I wouldn't discount Sherrod winning it.

I haven't seen anything from Bahktiari to suggest he has the LT job locked down. He was only better than Newhouse, he wasn't the answer. He could develop, but they thought Newhouse would too.

Jordan's picture

You haven't seen anything to suggest Bhaktiari has the LT job locked down? That's because you don't what to look for. Bhaktiari is the starting left tackle. End of story.

Hint: you're spending way too much time looking at combine numbers.....rather than looking at NFL game film.

Watch and learn grasshopper. ;)

Birney the baker's picture

lol... Thank you!! for saying it for me. I get the feeling Stroh carries a stopwatch with him at all time. Probably times how long it takes for his wife to cook his dinner than complains if her foot speed and hand coordination is not as fast as his ex wifes. lol

Stroh's picture

Trust me I know what I'm seeing! He played well, not good, not great. I saw some ability that could translate to a good starter, but he's hardly a proven commodity and he's going to be battling 2 1st rd picks that have more natural talent. I'm not saying that I'm sure Bulaga and Sherrod are all that, but they have tools to be good to quality starters.

Don't be too surprised in Bahktiari is the swing tackle a la Lang a couple years ago.

Jordan's picture

What part of bhaktiari will be the starting left tackle don't you understand? The Bulaga left tackle ship has sailed. Bulaga may get one more chance to prove himself at right tackle, but if his pass blocking is as bad as it was before his injury, he'll be taking a back seat to Barclay. Barclay can run block. This isn't the 2011 packers. Run blocking is important now.

The only way sherrod is going to get an decent opportunity to prove himself is if somebody gets injured. He would have to put together an incredible camp and pre-season. It's possible but unlikely.

The train has left the station.

Grasshopper, just sit back and watch.....and learn.

Stroh's picture

Dude I've been watching and studying this game longer than you've been alive! Besides that in my career I worked w/ athletes every day. I'm nearly 50yrs old now and still a good athlete, as opposed to some young punk like you sitting on your fat ass eating doritos.

I don't know what you've been watching but your glasses need adjustment if you think Bahktiari showed last year he was a quality starting LT. He showed SOME things to indicate he could become that, but he didn't show enough to make the job his.

Last year, even tho he was better than Newhouse, he was a below average starting LT. They aren't going to just hand the job to a rookie who played below average LT! Get your head out of your F'in Ass Son!

Birney the baker's picture

Trust you? lol I don't think so. I'll trust what I see and I see one hell of a football player in Bahktiari. He already has proven his value to me as our future left tackle. You are a numbers man. You love your numbers and that stop watch of yours.

So little Bahk just wasn't up to snuff with you and your high standards but Sherrod is the perfect guy as long as he's healthy which we all know he's not and probably never will be.

So Sherrod and Bulaga were no. 1 picks to you. Well guess what Stroh? Bahk left early as a junior I believe. Had he stayed guess where he would be drafted this year? Yep, he'd be a number one pick so the way I see it Bahk is on an even playing field with Bulaga and Mr. Sherrod. We're talking three no. 1 picks and only one of the three (Bahk) has shown to the world and especially McCarthy that he's "accountable and available".

Remember McCarthy saying that? Being able to practice and play are very important to McCarthy and Bahk like Hawk is one of those guys you can count on. Bulaga and definitely Sherrod are not.

As I said, I will bet you a 6 pack of ice cold Schlitz as to who wins the starting left tackle. I say Bahk and you say Sherrod. Can't wait to pop my first can. It's always tastes a little better when it's free. lol

Stroh's picture

A lot of Jr's come into the draft and still get drafted in the 1st rd! Well over 1/2 of the 1st rd picks will be Jr's or rSo's! Just staying a year longer is in no way a ticket to being a 1st rd pick! Hell the highest rated OT in this draft is a redshirt Sophomore!

My point isn't that Sherrod WILL be the starter, its that Bahktiari hasn't got the job locked down. Haven't you been reading a thing I've said?! Pay attention a little you WILL learn something.

Bahktiari is going to have stiff competition from Sherrod. I don't care who wins, becuz it either way the COMPETITION will make the Packers better! Then we all win.

COW's picture

Sherrod sucks.
I, for one, am surprised that a seasoned OL talent evaluator such as yourself has trouble recognizing that.

He.
Lost.
Out.
To.
Mar.
Shall.
New.
House.

Birney the baker's picture

Your "point" means absolutely NOTHING to me!! Why should anyone pay attention to you.

You are in love with Derrick Sherrod this I know so cut your crap about not caring who wins. You desperately care and want Sherrod to beat out Bahktiari so you can feel good about yourself but like a zillion other times I 've been reading here in the past, you will be proven wrong.

As for your stiff competition, the only stiff on the team for the past two years has been Sherrod. I am surprised rigamortis hasn't set in.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

The lack of movement on Clemons is interesting. Is he less highly regarded by GMs than by fans and sportswriters? Is he pricing himself out of the market? Are GMs waiting him out? Does TT have any interest in Clemons? I hoped that TT would sign a Safety who would be at least serviceable so TT could draft BPA in round 1 and not reach in round 2. Even if GB drafts Ha-Ha or Pryor early, if a FA safety had been already signed that would allow time to groom the drafted player, and it would allow TT to draft the BPA. Lately I have seen Mosely mocked anywhere from around 11 to 32 (the sportswriter who mocked Mosley at 32 noted that Mosley was a top 10 or 15 talent who falls to 32). Tuitt is another player mocked as high as 20 and as low as 43.

Evan's picture

I don't get it but I'm still holding out hope the Packers bring him in. He won't cost much at this point. A nice little 1-2 year deal would make me feel a lot better about the position heading into the draft.

Evan's picture

Brief breakdown of Clemons on MMQB, part of a larger piece talking about the increasing focus and importance on safeties:

"Many mistakenly believed the 28-year-old Chris Clemons to be an ascending player, but the coaches and scouts who knew him best did not. So he was allowed to walk. The fact that Clemons remains unsigned tells you the Dolphins aren’t alone in their assessment. Clemons started 32 games over the past two years (plus 14 games in 2010) and proved masterful at blending in on film.

That the Dolphins would replace Clemons with a player like Louis Delmas tells you they’re desperate to have a playmaking safety. Delmas is injury prone, which explains the brevity and relative diminutiveness of his contract. But he offers a high-risk, high-reward style of play. Delmas is similar to Clemons in that he can interchange between free and strong safety. The Dolphins made this move just prior to free agency, which suggests their intention is to leave defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle’s existing scheme intact."

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Interesting - thanks Evan. NFL.com and Bleacher both described Delmas as an upgrade over Clemons when discussing Miami. Both sites often say major or significant upgrade - here there was no adjective.

The Miami Herald noted that Clemons allowed 52.4% of passes thrown against Clemons to be completed and QBs had a rating of 82.8. The Herald noted that Delmas' numbers were 43.8% and QBs had a rating of 79.8. I can't help but think that Delmas' numbers were helped by Detroit's talented defensive line, but there would be other factors to consider. Strangely to me, the Miami Herald also noted that Clemons was an iron man for the Dolphins, often playing 90 snaps (yes, ninety) on Defense and special teams. I have read that coverage is not Clemons' area of strength. NFL.com had Clemons as the 70th best FA of 101 listed. Clemons is 28 years old. Well, not sure what to think. On this I will trust in TT to balance possible low cost against his ability, internal options and against draft possibilities.

Chazman's picture

I know this is an article about Left Tackle, Right Tackle but since it seems we have a serviceable option for both shouldn't we be more concerned with who is hiking the ball to ARod?

That is what makes me a little concerned.

TommyG's picture

Correct!

Right now it seems like Tretter or nothing. Perhaps this is another fix coming in this year's draft.

Evan's picture

Regardless of who plays LT and RT and who is the primary backup, it's safe to say the tackle position (and I'd say o-line in general) is in the best shape it's been in probably 5+ years.

PackerBacker's picture

Agree completely and that's awesome.

They have 3 possible starters at tackle (assuming Sherrod doesn't look awful and he has the physical abilities to be good).

They have 4 guys that can play in the middle.

When was the last time we could claim that? Early 2000's?

COW's picture

So 3 (maybe 4 if Lang gets moved to C) of 5 OL spots are up for grabs.

Yep - sounds like a SB team to me.

You guys are awesome.

To even consider Sherrod for any sort of NFL starting position is ridiculous. Damaged (was never that)goods. You can see in his eyes that he has no fight in him. There's no nasty there. He'll be cut in camp. Barclay's better.

Evan's picture

" You can see in his eyes that he has no fight in him. "

http://blog.ccbcmd.edu/sdeminds/files/2013/03/Week9-1.jpg

TommyG's picture

Isn't every position except QB and one of the OLB up for grabs?

If they weren't, wouldn't we simply be fielding the exact same team as last season; a team that cannot beat the 49ers?

Center is the only position I am concerned with, and that is only because we haven't seen Tretter as a pro yet.

I don't think Sherrod is going anywhere while his is under contract. We all know that's not how our team operates.

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