Bears 2012 Free Agency Watch List: Offensive Lineman

Bears 2012 Free Agency Watch List: Offensive Lineman

It's hard to tell who the Bears should go after because anything could happen from now to the start of free agency. A player could re-sign with their current team, they may get franchise tagged or they may be a competitive market. With the Bears needing to upgrade several positions, there's no telling who could be available for the Bears to sign.

If the Bears do upgrade the firepower on offense, they can't ignore the offensive line. Cutler cannot continue to get pummeled. In three years as the Bears' quarterback, Cutler has been sacked 110 times, 87 times in his first two seasons and last season 23 times in 10 games.

While the offensive line has improved in the past two seasons, the Bears cannot continue to wait for the offensive line to continue to progress. The unit has to be improved now. The Bears can improve immediately if they sign one of the following three:

Carl Nicks (G) was an All Pro in 2011 and named to the 2012 Pro Bowl. Needless to say, Nicks is the top offensive lineman in the market. With Drew Bress and Marques Colston, he may not get franchised. We'll just have to wait and see.

Ben Grubbs (G) might be the most athletic offensive lineman in the market. In his combine workout in 2007, he clocked in at 5.18 in the 40 yard dash an 29 bench presses at 225 pounds. In his private workout at Auburn he clocked in at 5.1 in the 40 and bench pressed 225 35 times. He was the Ravens' first round pick in 2007 and has started at guard ever since after winning the job as a rookie. He could bolster the Bears running game as they were successful running off the edges.

Jared Gaither (T) was also selected by the Ravens in 2007 draft in the supplemental draft. The 25 year old, 6-9, 340 pound left tackle could fill in for J'Marcus Webb if the Bears are done with the experiment. He was place on injured reserve in 2010 and missed the entire season after suffering a severe head injury in 2009. Last season, he played with the Chiefs and the Chargers.

All three are under 30 years old. Here are a few more the Bears should consider who are at least 30 years old:

Evan Mathis, guard, Eagles
Chris Myers, guard, Texans
Jeff Backus, tackle, Lions
Kareem McKenzie, tackle, Giants

While the offensive lineman market will be deep, the top free agents are guards. With the Bears seemingly comfortable with Chris Spencer and Chris Williams at both guard positions, the more immediate need is at tackle. Because of this, the Bears may concentrate their resources in free agency at other positions and upgrading the offensive line through the draft.

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