One of the Bears' Last Free Agents Finds New Home in NFC

After nearly two months of sitting in free agency, former Chicago Bears OL Lucas Patrick has finally signed with a new NFL team.
Former Bears OL Lucas Patrick has signed with the New Orleans Saints.
Former Bears OL Lucas Patrick has signed with the New Orleans Saints. / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Although it's too early to judge, the 2024 NFL offseason has been a resounding success for the Chicago Bears. Not only did they have a terrific draft showing that saw former USC quarterback Caleb Williams become the face of the franchise, but general manager Ryan Poles has also been active in free agency as the Bears prepare to return to prominence this fall.

The Bears added several veteran additions this spring, ranging from running back D'Andre Swift to safeties Kevin Byard and Jonathan Owens. Having said that, the arrival of new faces means that Chicago could bring back everyone from the 2023 roster, including offensive lineman Lucas Patrick.

The good news is that Patrick no longer has to wonder where he'll be playing next season.

Bears News: Saints Sign OL Lucas Patrick

On Monday, NFL insider Nick Underhill reported that Patrick has signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. The move marks the third franchise that the 30-year-old will play for after spending five seasons with the Green Bay Packers before joining the Bears in 2022.

It'll be interesting to see where Patrick lines up on the Saints' offensive line. Although he was predominantly a guard during his first campaign in Chicago, he went on to play a career-high 953 offensive snaps at center last season.

After an injury-plagued debut season, Bears fans looked forward to what Patrick could do with a clean bill of health in 2023. For the most part, the former Duke product was decent at blocking for the backfield, playing to a 61.6 run block grade on Pro Football Focus.

Unfortunately, Patrick couldn't produce similar results as a pass blocker, surrendering 25 hurries and three quarterback hits on 563 passing plays. His putrid 40.6 pass block grade ranked third-worst among centers who played at least 400 passing downs, leaving time to tell if he can turn things around with the Saints.

Chicago fans won't get a chance to see their former blocker next season, though. The Carolina Panthers are the only NFC South team that the Bears will face in 2024 due to their finishing fourth in their respective divisions.

In addition to facing its NFC North rivals twice, Chicago will also face each AFC South and NFC West team, as well as the New England Patriots and Washington Commanders.

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