Suffice to say, I'm a firm believer that our number one priority has to be the offensive line. It's more important than a better TE, it's more important than a middle linebacker of the future, and it's more important than any top flight prospect that happens to fall to us at wide receiver. Why? We have needs all over the place. Our center is a converted guard who will be 34 next season. Both of our guard positions have been an epic game of musical chairs due to injury and terrible play. Our RT had a lackluster, borderline terrible, season after coming off surgery, and there are no guarantees that he will stay healthy, or play up to his potential even if he stays on the field. Finally, our LT is a walking talking work in progress who started off incredibly raw, and frankly despite his immense natural physical talents two of the things that held him back in his development were his football IQ and passion, neither of which point at continued progress being any faster than the progress we've already had, and that's if there is any further progress at all.
Now I hope, along with most fans, that all of our current guys pan out exactly how we want them to, stay healthy, and become all-stars at their respective positions, but it's pure lunacy not to go out of your way to protect what is currently our franchise QB better than what we have, even if that means bringing new people in. Cutler is a tough guy, but at the end of the day he is developing quite the history of concussions and every sack is a risk we shouldn't be taking if we want Cutler here another five or six years, to say nothing of the impact it has on our offensive momentum during the game. Despite the obvious need I've done my best to remind you of, we are still beholden to a salary cap like everyone else and we can't afford to go crazy and pick up multiple high dollar free agents, so what is a team looking to improve its line on the cheap to do? Look outside the big name free agents, and instead look to the draft and practice squads for diamonds in the rough. Those mines are already well picked over so where else could we find possible quality on the cheap? The same place we found our new coach, the CFL.
If I were to tell you there was a prospect that played for a top flight program, won top offensive line honors, six foot six inches tall and 325 pounds, plays mean and hard and stays on the field having played three straight seasons without missing a single game and has interest from 15 other teams including the St.Louis Rams what would you say? Maybe we should look at this guy right? Maybe he will fall in the draft and give us a chance to take him? Sadly, he won't be in the NFL Draft because he is 25 years old and plays for the B.C. Lions, and can be had for a proverbial song considering the contract he agreed to with the Rams last year paid less than 90k a year.
You might be asking, if he signed a contract with the Rams why haven't I heard of this guy? That would be because he failed his physical with the Rams and per local Canadian news sources it was due to a kidney function test and the contract was retracted. Good thing they backed out considering following this physical he went back to the B.C. Lions and put up a season that awarded him the best offensive lineman in the league honors.
There are some problems with the idea of him coming over here and being an immediate savior, specifically the difference between CFL game and the NFL game, the distance is greater between OL and DL in the CFL, however the differences cut both ways as he is asked to pass block more often than his NFL counterparts due to the three down format. Comparing the adjustments needed to his game compared to the completely raw status of JDub, and they appear much more minor, and really for less than a 100k, he could be a valuable developmental backup if nothing else.