According to an earlier report out of a Fox affiliate in Denver claiming multiple sources, the Denver Broncos attempted to trade offensive tackle Ryan Harris sometime before the trade deadline in 2010. According to those sources, the Bears were not only very interested but they had a real strong possibility of making a deal work.
Obviously, nothing ever came to fruition. It's possible that the Bears were floating their interest in an effort to ultimately obtain Harris via free agency. That's not to say they wouldn't have done a deal last season, but with Harris having missed multiple games in 2010 due to a sever ankle sprain, the Bears weren't likely to give up the farm for a guy on the injury report.
With Harris now hopefully healthy, the Bears are likely to take another run at the right tackle. Under the old CBA, Harris would have been a Restricted Free Agent in 2011 but once a new deal is reached, he will become an Unrestricted Free Agent. Harris has been with the Broncos since 2007. And in 2008, he only allowed 1.5 sacks on then QB Jay Cutler.
Despite Harris' upside as a tackle, he does have some very real injury concerns. Since 2007, Harris has started an average of just 11.5 games each season. While Harris easily had his best year in 2008, his second best season was far and away 2010. One would hope that level of performance would continue even after he receives a new contract.
"I've proven myself every year that I have been in the NFL, and I don't have a problem doing that here or anywhere else," Harris said in a recent interview. And while he's just one possibility among a group of potential free agents, he just might make the most sense for Chicago. Harris is currently 26 years old and at the end of his rookie deal. He'll have to convince whichever team he ends up with that injury is not going to be an issue for him moving forward.