If Bryan Bulaga doesn’t like that clunker he won during the home run derby that wrapped up the June minicamp, he now has the ability to buy a new set of wheels.
The Green Bay Packers’ first-round pick has signed his contract, meaning all seven draft choices are signed and ready to roll for the start of training camp on Saturday afternoon.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report the deal, a five-year contract worth $14.75 million, with $8.76 million guaranteed. Bulaga’s agent, Tom Condon, confirmed those numbers in an e-mail to Packer Report on Friday morning.
The Packers announced the signing late Friday morning and said nose tackle Aleric Mullins, an undrafted free agent from North Carolina, was placed on the reserve/did not report list.
One day after Packers President Mark Murphy complained about the exploding rate of rookie salaries while in the company of commissioner Roger Goodell, Bulaga’s deal represents an almost $1 million increase over the five-year, $13.8 million deal that last year’s No. 23 pick, offensive tackle Michael Oher, agreed to with Baltimore. That deal included $7.8 million guaranteed.
Bulaga, the first-round pick out of Iowa, spent the entire offseason working at left tackle, where he’d be the backup to — and a much-needed insurance policy for — veteran starter Chad Clifton. There has been no sign that Bulaga will get a chance to compete for the job at left guard, which is up for grabs between incumbent starter Daryn Colledge and former starting center Jason Spitz. If those plans have changed in the five weeks since the end of the minicamp, it’s possible that coach Mike McCarthy will discuss them during his pre-training camp news conference late Friday afternoon.
“I feel comfortable and everything, the system, the offense, the guys on the team,” Bulaga said at the end of the minicamp. “Everything feels pretty good. I'm not overwhelmed. Maybe the first couple days, my head was spinning a little bit. But after that, got settled down, got used to everything. I think everything's become pretty good."
With the Bulaga-Mullins transactions, the Packers will be at 81 players once they announce that safety Atari Bigby has signed his restricted free agent tender. The maximum is 80, so they’ll have to release another player.
What myself and others have written, that the Packers could buy time by putting players (such as Al Harris) on the active physically unable to perform list is incorrect. NFL spokesman Jon Zimmer said players on PUP count against the roster limit — regardless of whether it’s active PUP (able to be activated at any time) or reserve PUP (out for first six weeks of regular season).
The players are going through their physical testing on Friday. Safety-returner Will Blackmon, who tore his ACL in Week 4 at Minnesota, said via Twitter that he “passed the run test with flying colors ...”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.