The Chicago Bears are expected to go after veteran help along the offensive line. Here are some possible players to target.
In a recent article, I wrote that Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles would likely target veteran offensive line help this offseason. He picked up four linemen in last year’s draft and still has three of them. However, he needs veterans to fill in and help quarterback Justin Fields.
In 2022, the Bears were killed in the trenches offensively and defensively. Now, with about $100 million (and rising) in his wallet, general manager Ryan Poles will definitely try to fix that. Without winning in the trenches the offense cannot score and the defense cannot prevent any scoring.
There will be some good linemen available this offseason. It is important to have veteran help to settle the young players. That really solidifies the unit. The veterans perform well and help some of the youngsters to develop and be ready when it’s their turn to take over.
Here are some offensive linemen the Chicago Bears could target this offseason.
Jason Kelce, Center
For the last two seasons, Sam Mustipher has been the Chicago Bears center. He has struggled during those two seasons. He was supposed to battle for the right guard spot last season. However, an injury to Lucas Patrick, a free-agent acquisition who was supposed to take over at center, meant that Mustipher had to return to center.
While Patrick is expected to be fully healthy when training camp begins, he is a natural guard. He could return to guard. No, Mustipher won’t return to center. The Bears would have to find someone else to start there.
Jason Kelce is one of, if not the, best center in the NFL today. He is coming off of a Super Bowl run with the Philadelphia Eagles. While he and the Eagles would love for him to stay there, it might be difficult.
The Eagles do not have a ton of money to spend. We just saw them release all-pro defensive tackle Javon Hargraves due to the salary cap. It may also happen with Kelce. If it does, he’d be perfect to help Fields. The center/quarterback duo is important. Kelce can do a lot to make Fields feel more comfortable and help him develop.
We saw Fields and Kelce talk to each other for a while after the Bears fell to the Eagles late in the season. It would be great to see them play together in 2023.
Mike McGlinchey, OT
Another spot where the Chicago Bears struggled was at right tackle. Larry Borom just didn’t cut it when he was there. There will most definitely be someone different starting there in 2023.
Mike McGlinchey played nearby at Notre Dame. He is one of the top tackles in the league. He wants to return to the San Francisco 49ers but freely admits that he wants to strike while the iron is hot. Being one of the best in his position he wants to be paid as such.
That gives the Bears an advantage. San Francisco only has about $3.2 million in cap space. They have 23 potential free agents on the roster as well. Furthermore, they have Colton McKivitz, a young lineman who feels ready to take over should McGlinchey leave (see what having a veteran player in place while the younger one develops does?).
While Poles won’t go overboard in acquiring a free agent, if McGlinchey is a “must-have” player then he can spend a little more to get him.
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Isaac Seumalo, OG
If the Bears can’t pry Kelce away from Philadelphia perhaps they can get Isaac Seumalo. Seumalo could be a steal for whoever signs him. He is one of the most underrated linemen in the league.
This could be a perfect signing for Poles. there could be a bidding war for some of the other available linemen. There likely won’t be for Seumalo. This under-the-radar signing could be critical for the offensive line’s successful overhaul.
Seumalo is a great fit for head coach Matt Eberflus’ HITS principle. He has a high motor and is intense. Also, he is a disciplined player. In 2022, he was an integral part of the Eagles’ running game. That comes in handy in Chicago, which had the best rushing attack in the league. Additionally, he gave up just one sack and committed only six penalties.
Poles could decide to go for an underrated player, save some money, and really upgrade the offensive line with this signing.
Andrew Wylie, OT
The Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, have two big decisions this offseason. Their two tackles, Orlando Brown Jr (more on him later) and Andrew Wylie, are up for free agency. Do they keep one of them, or let one (or possibly both) leave?
The Chiefs only have $526,422 in salary cap space. Of course, a few years ago they had less than $100 in cap space and went on a half-a-billion-dollar spending spree so they are salary cap geniuses over there.
Wylie is another candidate for the right tackle spot. He might have made himself a lot of money with his performance in the Super Bowl. He went up against All-Pro EDGE rusher Haason Reddick. Reddick had 16 sacks in 2022. Of those, 13 of them were on the right side.
Many people expected Reddick to have a big game against Wylie on the right side. He came into the game with 3.5 sacks already.
That never happened, though. Reddick wasn’t able to get to Patrick Mahomes at all in the game. In fact, he was pretty much silent all game long. He registered no sacks, just one tackle, and two quarterback hits.
Wylie would be a productive player along the line and would not be expensive. Spotrac has his value at $4.6 million/year. He would be a low-cost, high-reward signing.
Orlando Brown Jr.
As I mentioned, Brown is another potential target. The Chiefs will try their all-out best to retain Brown. He is the class of the tackle market. He will command a big deal this offseason.
The Chicago Bears love the job that Braxton Jones did in his rookie season. He went from fifth-round pick trying to make the team to becoming the starting left tackle and playing every snap of the season.
However, Jones still needs some seasoning. Poles might decide to go after the still-young and in-his-prime Brown and move Jones over to the right side. That gives the Bears a great duo at the tackle spots.
Many expect the Chiefs to slap the franchise tag on Brown. The value of the tag for offensive linemen is $18.244 million. However, this would be Brown’s second tag. That means his salary jumps 20 percent from the $16.662 million he got from last season’s tag.
That means his tag for 2023 would cost the Chiefs $19.994 million. With their cap situation, it will be difficult for them to pay that. Being as good as he is, Kansas City could decide to move heaven and earth to get it done.
If they don’t, the Chicago Bears could be there to jump in and give him a nice contract.
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