By Eric Marselle
The Bears continue to show interest in improving their offensive line, if the price is right as reports suggest they are looking to add former Cleveland Browns offensive guard Eric Steinbach. The Browns cut Steinbach on March 14 as the two sides couldnt agree on a new deal -- Cleveland had asked Steinbach to take a pay cut.
Steinbach missed the entire 2011 season needing surgery to repair a bulging back disk after his back stiffened up in practice prior to the regular season getting underway. However, despite missing action in 2011, Steinbach has proven he can be a reliable offensive lineman having started 124 of 125 games since joining the league in 2003 as the 33rd overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Steinbach is a native of New Lenox where he played at Providence Catholic High School and then at the University of Iowa .
Other teams interested in acquiring Steinbach include the Seattle Seahawks as well as the Baltimore Ravens.
Do you think Steinbach would make a good addition to the Bears offensive line?
With Jeremy Langford and Ka'Deem on the shelf with injury, the Bears have reportedly signed running back Joique Bell.
Bell spent four seasons with the Lions, tallying 2,235 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns from 2012 to 2015. He also added 161 receptions for 1,640 yards and another score.
Bell was released in February as the Lions opted to get younger at the position.
The 220-pound Bell will provide depth for the Bears at yet another position where they've been ravaged by injury. Ka'Deem Carey missed Week 3 with a hamstring injury suffered the previous week, and Langford will reportedly miss four-to-six weeks with an ankle injury suffered Monday night.
That leaves rookie Jordan Howard, who has shown promise in his first three games, and Raheem Mostert on the depth chart.
The Bears host the Lions on Sunday.
In July, when asked how contract talks were going with star forward Artemi Panarin, general manager Stan Bowman said he wouldn’t negotiate through the media.
He reiterated that on Tuesday.
“Obviously Artemi's a big part of our team. We're excited for the season he had. We're looking forward to him building on that as well. Then the negotiations will be what they are between his agent and myself,” I respect Tom [Lynn, Panarin’s agent]. He's a very knowledgeable guy, and Artemi put a lot of faith in him. And Tom and I will work to get something done.”
Panarin is entering the final year of his current contract and is coming off a monster rookie season in which he recorded 77 points and took home the Calder Trophy. Panarin took home plenty of bonus money thanks to that season, too.
The 24-year-old could certainly command a hefty price, which would once again be a major concern to the cash-strapped Blackhawks. The salary cap is at $73 million for this season, a small increase from 2015-16 ($71.4 million). Factor in another likely small increase next season and the large contracts the Blackhawks are already doling out – Brent Seabrook’s eight-year deal with a cap hit of $6.875 kicks in this season – and could Panarin be another one that gets away?
But Bowman remains optimistic.
“We're always confident,” he said. “You go into a negotiation expecting to get a deal done. That's the way I've been in the past and that's the way I am now.”