The Green Bay Packers have a number of large contracts that now belong to underperforming players.
Randall Cobb ($12.7 million cap number), Jordy Nelson ($12.5 million cap number) and Clay Matthews ($11.3 million cap number) immediately come to mind. While Cobb and Matthews are still valuable assets, they’re making more than their production deserves. Nelson appears to be on the decline, although he may be better suited for the slot, which is where Cobb plays.
Plenty of decisions to make there. My guess is Matthews goes nowhere. The Packers have no leverage in that situation other than to release Matthews, which doesn’t make much sense.
Cobb and Nelson present difficult situations. The Packers can’t really have $30 million invested in receivers, which they do now that Davante Adams has been paid. Nelson is a prime candidate to take a pay cut. Like Matthews, the Packers don’t have much leverage over Cobb.
That brings us to right tackle Bryan Bulaga.
The oft-injured tackle has two years left on his deal. He has cap numbers of $7.9 million and $8.35 million. The Packers could release Bulaga and save about $4.7 million this year.
That’s not a huge savings, but the bigger concern here has to be Bulaga’s injury history. He tore his ACL in November. That’s his second ACL tear, one in each knee. Most likely, that means Bulaga won’t be ready for the start of the season.
Bulaga also had a fractured hip in 2012 and has battled ankle injuries. He has missed a total of 27 games in his career.
The real question is do the Packers feel comfortable with their potential replacements? Those would be Kyle Murphy or Jason Spriggs, both of whom are on rookie deals.
Bulaga is a decent right tackle when he’s healthy, but that was the Packers’ problem — or one of them — in 2017. Their offensive line was often a patchwork unit decimated by injuries.
So, is Bulaga worth the risk at that salary? It’s a tough call, but I’d say no.