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What signing Bryan Bulaga means for the Chargers

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The 30-year old tackle instantly solidifies the right side of the offensive line

Green Bay Packers v New York Giants Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

The Chargers finally dipped their toe into the free agent pool on Tuesday when they agreed to terms on a three-year, $30 million deal with former Green Bay Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga.

The signing was huge and fairly uncharacteristic of Tom Telesco who usually likes to take a “wait-and-see” approach to free agency. He normally allows teams to jump on all the big-name players and watch them deal out their massive, market-setting contracts before he swoops in and snags the final gem inside the bargain bin.

But I’m not one to argue about this year’s plan. It’s been aggressive by Telesco standards and the fan base is reacting positively to it. The signing of Bulaga reinforces the offensive line and solidifies the right side along with Trai Turner, whom they traded for just a few weeks ago.

The Chargers have dealt with inconsistency along the front line for far too long. With their recent moves, it’s showing that the coaching staff might finally be as fed up with it as the fan base. While Bulaga doesn’t have the cleanest bill of health throughout his NFL career, he’s been on a the healthiest streak of his life over the last four seasons. He’s coming off starting all 16 games in 2019 when he helped the Packers get all the way to the NFC Championship Game. From ‘16-’18, he started 16, 5, and 14 games, respectively. His 2017 season, the only blemish in the time span, was unfortunately cut short by an ACL tear in week nine. His ability to come back and start 30 of the next 32 games was admirable.

If you take any consideration in the grades of Pro Football Focus, the Chargers got a good one in Bulaga. Out of all the tackles to play at least 75% of their snaps, Bulaga ranked 12th with a 77.8 grade. His pass-blocking grade was only 73.1, good for 23rd in the NFL, but his run-blocking grade of 80.1 was good for 5th at the position. For an Anthony Lynn-led team that wants to run the football, this is good news for him.

So with the Bulaga signing, the offensive line will look roughly like this:

LT - Rookie/Free Agent/Trey Pipkins
LG - Dan Feeney or Forrest Lamp
C - Mike Pouncey
RG - Trai Turner
RT - Brian Bulaga

That’s a heck of a line compared to last year’s opening day starters. There’s a chance, albeit a minor one, that the team can somehow make a deal for Trent Williams. Hell, I’d even take Jason Peters if it meant solidifying the offensive line for for whoever is under center in 2020.