A day after cutting ties with offensive tackle Tayo Fabuluje, a sixth round pick in 2015, the Bears added a veteran at the position in Nate Chandler, per NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.
Chandler a former defensive tackle turned offensive lineman started 19 games in four seasons with the Carolina Panthers. The UCLA product appeared in 37 games, starting eight between right guard and right tackle in 2013 and 11 at right tackle in 2014.
Released in March by Carolina, Chandler missed last season with a knee injury. It was the same issue, a torn meniscus suffered in Nov. 2014 that kept him out of five games.
Before being moved to offensive line in 2013, he spent his rookie season as a reserve defensive lineman. The 6’4”, 315-pounder visited with Detroit on Wednesday prior to landing with the Bears on a one-year deal Thursday night.
Jake Long, 31, came in for a visit to Halas Hall earlier in the day, but the Bears ultimately chose the 27-year-old Chandler despite his injury history. Both players have had knee issues in the past, but Chandler is
younger and more versatile.
Chandler will come in and battle to be the swing tackle and provide depth behind left tackle Charles Leno and right tackle Bobby Massie. Nick Becton is his main competition for the extra tackle spot.
This certainly isn’t a flashy signing, but Chandler still has upside as an offensive lineman and can be moved around. The Panthers liked what they saw in him enough to give him a chance as an undrafted free agent. Now staying healthy will be key.
Note: Chandler played tight end and offensive line his first two years at UCLA before moving to defensive line as an upperclassmen.
Thoughts on the signing? Comment below.
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