Chicago Bears: The state of the offensive line

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears - James Daniels
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Left Guard – James Daniels

Rumors are already out that the Bears might switch James Daniels to center this season. I thought he was going to slot into that position after being drafted last year, but they decided to keep Cody Whitehair in the middle instead.

Daniels started 10 games for the Bears in 2018. He played well despite receiving the lowest Pro Football Focus grade of 63.6. This is an average score among guards in the NFL and he finished as the 29th best at the position despite not allowing a sack all season. Daniels had three penalties in 2018. Two false starts and one holding penalty.

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Daniels played college ball for the Iowa Hawkeyes. I remember loving this pick while watching the Draft last year. I remember thinking how the Bears are getting a first-round talent in the second round. According to his NFL Draft Profile, Daniels received a 6.03 grade, which means he should become an instant starter.

The Bears did not throw him out there to start the season, but it did not take long for him to get his chance and prove he belonged. Again, I thought he’d slot in as their starting center to begin 2018, but he played well at guard. He had one of his best games taking on Aaron Donald and the Rams.

Daniels is an anchor of this line for the foreseeable future. He is entering his second season and is on a 4-year, $6,950,160 contract. Daniels will likely get a big contract if he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2022. I project that the Bears try to extend him in 2021, but with all of the other contract extensions and cap hits likely taking place, Daniels could become cut-bait.