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, Kyle Long
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /

Right Guard – Kyle Long

Kyle Long came onto the scene and was a mauler. He was instantly one of my favorite all-time Chicago Bears. His jersey is the only offensive lineman jersey I have ever owned. It is a shame that he has dealt with so many health issues. If fully healthy, I believe he is one of the best guards in the game.

Long was injured again throughout 2018. He only played in eight games last year. During that time, he let up two sacks and committed two penalties. He was not his best self, but he still received a 62.2 (average) grade from Pro Football Focus. Personally, when healthy, I think Long is a guy most defensive lineman fear to play against.

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Ryan Pace did not draft Kyle Long, but he did extend him in 2016. Over his first three seasons, Long started in all but one game. He made the Pro Bowl in all three of those seasons. 2015 was not a good season for Long though as he allowed 8.5 sacks, but he was also playing out of position at the right tackle spot.

Coming out of college, Long was viewed as a project. He only played one season on the offensive line, but still had a solid NFL Draft Grade. Scouts loved Long’s athleticism and mobility, but his inexperience showed as he would continuously overextend, lose his balance and allow the defenders to disengage. These are all things NFL coaches were able to help him with his rookie season.

I believe Kyle Long was going to be a cap casualty this season. Instead, he restructured his deal to free up cap space and remain a Chicago Bear. This again is just another reason why he has become one of my favorite players to wear the blue and orange.

Looking ahead, Long essentially is on a one-year deal. Ryan Pace obviously wants him to prove he can stay healthy and contribute to the team. According to Spotrac, Long has a cap hit of $5,600,000 in 2019, but in 2020 Long will only cost the Bears $1,500,000 in dead cap space, while freeing up nearly $8,000,000. Unfortunately, Long probably will not be a Bear for life.