Chicago Bears Free Agency: Addressing the guard position

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears might have to get creative to address the offensive line.

Entering the 2020 season, the Chicago Bears offensive line must improve their level of play from the 2019 campaign, and Greg Van Roten could go a long way in making that happen.

According to Football Outsiders, in 2019 the group ranked 29th in run blocking (28th in 2018). As for pass blocking, they ranked 20th in 2019 versus 7th in 2018, though that’s a bit deceiving, as their numbers were not nearly as bad as some might think.

Regardless, the Bears are expected to address the position this offseason. However, there isn’t a whole lot of flexibility to do so. Cody Whitehair, Bobby Massie, Charles Leno, James Daniels are all locks for next year, for different reasons. The one position that can be addressed is offensive guard — particularly right guard — the position previously held by Kyle Long and currently filled by Rashaad Coward.

Additionally, the reality is, if they want to make a change that will impact things in 2020, then they will have to go the route of free agency. Hoping to draft an offensive lineman who will make an immediate impact is not a guaranteed strategy.

So if they do address in free agency, they may have to get creative as they’ll have other needs to fill and limited salary cap space. That would seem to take them out of the Brandon Scherff sweepstakes who is in line to get a contract in the neighborhood of 4 years and just under $50 million according to Spotrac.

However, a quality player that can make an impact but at a fraction of the cost is Van Roten. The Carolina Panther has been a solid contributor for the team that has helped Christian McCaffrey run wild.

Van Roten is only 29-years-old and earned a salary of only $805,000 last season. According to the Washington Post, he has only been called for one holding and two false start penalties in his career. He has also yielded only four sacks, all of which came in 2018.

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If the Bears want to upgrade their interior offensive line and don’t want to break the bank to do so, then Greg Van Roten must be at the top of their list of candidates.