CHICAGO IL - JANUARY 16: Center Olin Kreutz #57 of the Chicago Bears prepares to snap the ball against the Seattle Seahawks in the first half in the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16 2011 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
As Pete linked up in this mornings Den, Olin Kreutz may receive some interest from other teams once the lockout is lifted. This is not good news for the Bears. Olin isn't what he once was as a player, but he's in the best shape he's been in the last four years. Scrambling to fill the middle of the Bears line could set back the continuity that they started to develop last year.
Kreutz started getting ready for the 2011 season two weeks after the NFC Championship game when he began his workout regimen at the Poliquin Performance Center. From the Sun Times article:
"I’ve trained him for four years," Poliquin owner Mike Bystol said, "and this is by far the best shape I’ve seen him in. Each year, we have to do a little something. But this year, he was injury free, and we trained hard right away. For instance, last year, he was not able to push a sled with weights because of surgery. This year, he’s pushing 400 pounds. He’s light years ahead of where he was last year,"
No off season surgeries to recover from and no lingering injuries to wait out.
I know some Bears fans would be happy to see him go, but at what cost. Bringing in another free agent center, that may be younger, but not necessarily a better overall package? If there were someone available that was leaps and bounds better than Kreutz physically, I'd be fine with the move. But to lose his guile, experience, and leadership would be a big blow.
The Bears could move Roberto Garza over, but then you'd have to figure out right guard. Edwin Williams has been touted by some as the heir apparent at center, but who really knows what he can do. Some of the same people excited to see Williams play center were the same people that thought Josh Beekman was gonna be the man. How'd he work out? Rumors were circulating the Bears considered giving Chris Williams reps at center, but he has enough problems concentrating on left guard.
To paraphrase a well known saying, 'better the center you know than the center you don't'. I see no problem in offering Kreutz a front loaded 2 or 3 year deal. The Bears need him back.