Omiyale release ends three yo-yo years for the veteran O-lineman

557638.jpg

Omiyale release ends three yo-yo years for the veteran O-lineman

One of the more interesting player sagas in and around the Bears over the past few year came to an end Thursday when the Bears released veteran offensive lineman Frank Omiyale.

The team also announced the release of veteran nose tackle Anthony Adams, expected since the team informed Adams last weekend of the impending roster move.

Omiyales departure finishes a three-year run in Chicago marked by sharp changes of fortune. Omiyale ranged from an apparent bust in 2009 to de facto savior on the line in 2010 to odd man out last season. His 2.1 million pay grade in the final year of his contract made it an expected cut from about the middle of last season.

Omiyale appeared in every game the Bears played during his three seasons with the team (2009-11), making 31 starts at both guard (12 starts at left guard) and tackle (five starts at RT and 14 at LT) in 48 regular season games.

He also made two postseason starts at left tackle for the Bears. The seven-year veteran began his career in Atlanta, appearing in one contest in 2006 before being claimed off waivers by Carolina in 2007 where he appeared in 10 games with one start for the Panthers over two seasons.

The Bears signed Omiyale in the 2009 offseason as part of a push to upsize the offensive line. He was installed as the starter at left guard, which lasted only six games before the Bears switched to Josh Beekman. When Beekman proved inadequate, Omiyale went back in to start the final six games.

Omiyale was the starting right tackle to open 2010. But when Chris Williams was injured week two in Dallas, and Kevin Shaffer could not handle left tackle, Omiyale switched to left tackle and stayed there through the entire season and the two playoff games.

Then-line coach Mike Tice initially considered Omiyales best position to be tackle because of his longer reach, and Omiyale went back to right tackle to start training camp last season.

But the Bears drafted Gabe Carimi last April and moved JMarcus Webb to left tackle. When Carimi was ready, he replaced Omiyale. Carimi went down with a knee injury in week two and Omiyale stepped back in at right tackle.

His stint lasted just three games this time and protection problems resulted in coaches moving Lance Louis from guard to right tackle. Omiyale continued to play on field-goal protection but his time as an every down lineman was done.

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

6'6" | 310 lbs.

Projection:

First round

Scouting Report:

"Extremely confident tackle with the athleticism to stay on the left side and the technique to make an early impact as a starter. Ramczyk has the core strength and body control that should keep him connected to blocks in both the run and pass and he's proven to be scheme versatile with his playing style. Ramczyk is an early starter with the potential to become a good starting left tackle provided his medicals hold up." - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Video analysis provided by Rotoworld and NBC Sports NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles

Sense of stability evident among Bears hierarchy going into pivotal year of major unknowns

Sense of stability evident among Bears hierarchy going into pivotal year of major unknowns

Specifics such as whom the Bears will draft at No. 3, or 36, or somewhere in between weren't going to be gleaned from this week's conversations with Bears Chairman George McCaskey, GM Ryan Pace or head coach John Fox. But more interesting, and important, too, are some the the more strategic takeaways from visits with the hierarchy most involved with Bears football fortunes.
 
More significant than anything regarding a player or position is the stability of the core, meaning Pace's and Fox's position under McCaskey. Because that ultimately affects draft choices, signings and myriad elements extending beyond the 2017 season. And some of all that involves understanding McCaskey's vision and history.
 
Realize: Pace was McCaskey's second GM hire in barely three NFL years. The first one of Phil Emery was an abject failure, as was the accompanying coaching hire. The absolute last thing McCaskey wants to be forced by circumstances into doing is replacing another general manager. Brother Michael lost his berth as president due to making the NFL's charter franchise into a laughingstock because of a botched coaching hire; Brother George has no wish to continue the kind of high-level turnover that both reflect, cause and perpetuate dysfunction, and losing.
 
Against that backdrop, one trail of breadcrumbs leads to a strong sense that Pace is secure in his job, barring something going epically wrong. McCaskey was clear that he approved of and likes the direction the Bears are moving under Pace, to the point of having Pace in a video directed to the fanbase. If Pace were on some sort of hot seat, McCaskey and the organization do not make him a short-term face of the franchise while they hope for a player to emerge as that "face."
 
McCaskey could not put a whole lot more pressure on Pace than the latter gets as part of his job and wanting to stay in Chicago for more than football reasons.
 
"Keep building through the draft," McCaskey said during the recently concluded owners meetings. "I told Ryan he should get ripped every time around this year, this time of year ever year for not being more active in free agency. And that's because we're developing our own guys and rewarding our own guys."

[VIVID SEATS: Get your Bears tickets right here!]
 
The breadcrumbs from there lead to Fox's situation. Start with the thought that coaches operate for the present and GMs for the future. Not exactly true; GMs balance present and future.
 
But every indication, verbal and otherwise, has been that Fox was very much on board with the major makeover at one spot in particular — quarterback — and a coach with down to possibly a final season pounds the table for win-now material, particularly at that position. And when the Bears didn't re-sign Brian Hoyer this offseason, which may not have appeared to be benchmark non-move but was, at least one Bears coach was apoplectic at not staying a course with a quarterback who delivered 300 passing yards and zero turnovers in his brief Bears "career."
 
Fox, however, was clearly comfortable with giving the quarterback wheel a spin with Mike Glennon, and ultimately so is his staff. Because it is part of program plan.
 
Consider this scenario: The Bears rebound to a respectable seven or eight wins; not spectacular but the NFC North is the only division in either conference to send two teams to the postseason , meaning that Fox's Bears likely put up a couple wins over good teams, which can be construed as the "progress" that McCaskey referenced this week.
 
Meanwhile, Pace has a third draft with impact players, the Kevin Whites, Eddie Goldmans and others come back from injuries, the Bears go into the 2018 offseason and land Kirk Cousins or have Glennon be what they'd hoped, and the Bears are what McCaskey envisions: a challenger with an arrow pointing up.
 
All theoretical or hypothetical, but Pace has a plan that McCaskey knows and endorses, and best guess is that he gives his GM, and coach, time to have it play out.
 
"We have confidence in Ryan and John," McCaskey said, imposing only "progress" and "results" as his conditions. "We want to build through the draft. Ryan said that in his interview when he said he was interested in coming to the Bears. And we like how he has stuck to that plan."
 
Maybe that was the most significant tell; McCaskey has seen progress apart from the record: "Yeah," he confirmed. "Yes sir."