Chicago Bears

Bears free-agency analysis: Offseason OL pattern holds with Tom Compton

Bears free-agency analysis: Offseason OL pattern holds with Tom Compton

This is the second in a series analyzing the Bears' decision-making during the 2017 free-agency period.

From 3/13: Bears free agency analysis: Alshon Jeffery non-deal left an understandable void

In what now looks to be a pattern under GM Ryan Pace, the Bears for the third straight offseason have gone after upgrades on their offensive line. Not always first-tier additions, but always a search for an improvement and more competition, and if something doesn't work, Pace does not stay wedded to a decision that hasn't worked.
 
The 2015 offseason started with signing guard Vladimir Ducasse and then center Will Montgomery. Ducasse started a handful of games, didn't pan out and wasn't brought back. Montgomery suffered a broken leg, went on IR and was done, with the Bears turning to Hroniss Grasu.
 
Last offseason saw Bobbie Massie signed for right tackle, Ted Larsen for a guard spot and Manny Ramirez for center. Ramirez retired before the season. Larsen, who played only because of injuries to Kyle Long and Josh Sitton, wasn't coming back and signed a three-year deal with the Miami Dolphins. Massie's situation is to be determined, with rumors last week that he would be cut.
 
That didn't happen, all part of what effectively became a domino strategy on an offensive line the Bears view as a roster strength.

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Among Pace's first probes into the market this year was after tackle Rick Wagner, who opted instead for the Detroit Lions and their surprising offer of $14.5 million guaranteed on a total package of $47.5 million over five years. Wagner's price made him the highest-paid pure right tackle in the NFL and was not within the parameters the Bears had established for the former Baltimore Raven.
 
When the money for tackles spiked explosively — Wagner, Riley Reiff ($58.8 million, Minnesota Vikings), Matt Kalil ($55 million, Carolina Panthers), Russell Okung ($53 million, Los Angeles Chargers) — Pace and the Bears instead kept Massie in place. Massie's $4.2 million base for 2017 is not guaranteed and contingent on his making the Week 1 roster.
 
At the same time, Pace moved on Tom Compton, a backup with Washington and the Atlanta Falcons, with 10 career starts and who'd also attracted interest from the Falcons, Lions and San Francisco 49ers.
 
"I don't know any specifics," Compton said of the Bears' plans for him. "I know they'll plug me in to see where I fit in but I'm not too sure what their plan is yet."

Compton has worked as a swing tackle with Atlanta, which runs a zone-blocking scheme similar to what the Bears have operated the past several years.

"I'm not too familiar with what's going on here," Compton said, "but it's pretty similar to what I'm used to, a lot of zone and play action so it should be a pretty good fit."

Ranking the top 5 Bears players on current roster

Ranking the top 5 Bears players on current roster

Expectations for the Bears this season have been understandably low, but that's not to say there's no talent on John Fox's roster. 

The Chicago Tribune's Dan Wiederer dropped by the CSN studio to rank the top five players suiting up this year: 

5. Prince Amukamara, CB

Wiederer's take: Terrific offseason, high hopes on what he can bring to secondary.

4. Josh Sitton, OL

Wiederer's take: Proven and understands exactly what it takes to win in this league. 

3. Akiem Hicks, DE

Wiederer's take: Defensive MVP a season ago, durable.

2. Leonard Floyd, OLB

Wiederer's take: Had a very strong camp, could be a breakout year if he can stay healthy. 

1. Jordan Howard, RB

Wiederer's take: Had a huge rookie campaign, gotta be at the top of the list.

Watch the video above to see the Bears beat reporter's full analysis. 

Bears Talk Podcast: Glennon, Trubisky moving in opposite directions

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USA TODAY

Bears Talk Podcast: Glennon, Trubisky moving in opposite directions

On this episode of Bears Talk Podcast, Vinnie Duber and JJ Stankevitz discuss the performances of quarterbacks Mike Glennon and Mitch Turbisky in the Bears’ first preseason game and what each guy faces moving forward. Plus, JJ talks with Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic about the best of Bears training camp. And Vinnie and JJ takes a look ahead to the Bears’ second preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.