With preseason only a scant five days away for the Bears, we're finally getting close to seeing players lining up against other players that don't have a vested interest in the health and safety of their team. Which means we'll finally get a clearer picture of what some of these guys will be capable of, even if it is just backups versus backups.
And with that, we'll turn our attention to a guy that's been getting his fair share of attention in camp, what with the struggles at the position the last couple seasons. We've looked at James Brown the player before, but today, let's take a look at how he impacts the 53-man roster if he sticks.
Now, let's keep in mind that we shouldn't get too far ahead of ourselves, as we haven't seen a single preseason snap yet and we should take camp reports with an entire shaker of salt. But in order to keep certain players, sometimes, there are roster consequences that are unexpected. So let's look at those consequences.
I'll start off with saying that if he continues at his current pace, and if the team likes him enough, I doubt he'd make his way onto the Bears' practice squad. There are plenty of teams out there that could use some tackle help, and providing he doesn't fall off a cliff, he'd get plucked as a ninth offensive lineman.
So that leaves the 53-man roster. If the team chooses to carry nine offensive linemen, they're likely only carrying four of the tight ends and fullbacks - Kellen Davis, Matt Spaeth, Evan Rodriguez, and either Kyle Adams or Tyler Clutts. Which wouldn't be the end of the world. Carrying nine is actually probably doable, since they'd get the above four tight ends or fullbacks, three running backs, three quarterbacks, and six receivers.
If they only choose to carry eight offensive linemen for a seventh receiver, fifth TE/FB, or fourth running back (keeping Kahlil Bell and Armando Allen, for instance), things get a little sticky, and it probably isn't just "cut the loser of the left tackle battle." Webb still has another year left on his contract, and I'd bet he gets "one more chance" next year too. Chris Williams is on the last year of his deal, so cutting him is possible, but with his ability to play multiple positions, I don't think that's what would be done - instead, with Williams moving inside, one of the guards would probably find himself out. Chilo Rachal and Chris Spencer both have expiring deals after 2012.
That gives the Bears three tackles in J'Marcus Webb, Gabe Carimi and Brown, and an interior set of four of Roberto Garza, Chris Spencer, Chilo Rachal, Lance Louis, and Edwin Williams, to go with everywhereman Chris Williams.
And of course, there's always the (should-be-patented) "strained fingernail" trip to Injured Reserve, which would keep him on the roster, but Brown is a guy that could use some live snaps in my opinion.
What do you guys see as the potential ramifications for keeping James Brown on the 53-man roster?