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Chicago Bears 2011 Free Agency: Olin Kreutz

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For over a decade, there has always been one part of the offensive line that you could count on. Olin Kreutz at Center was going to want to rip someone's faces off, and it didn't really matter if they were a defensive tackle who had 30 to 40 lbs on him.

A six-time Pro Bowler, at age 33 Kreutz is looking at free agency. The next team he signs with is likely to be his last, and he's often said that he'd like to retire as a Bear. In an era where allegiances seem to run about as deep as a kiddie pool, it's refreshing to see a player adamanatly want to stay with one franchise. The question is, however, should the Bears bring him back?

I don't see how the Bears don't bring him back. While Kreutz may have lost a bit of a step, he's still got the smarts to play effectively at the Center position for another year or two. He may not drive guys back off the line, but he can still stand them up and keep them out of Jay Cutler's face for a second.

A fan favorite, there are many here who don't want to see him go quite yet. There are also some professional opinions. Three weeks ago, Steelers Assistant Offensive Line Coach told ESPN that he thinks the Bears should bring Kreutz back, too.

"Bring him back," Goodwin said Thursday. "The biggest thing about Olin is his leadership. I've been watching film on him the last few games because we didn't know who we were going to face in the Super Bowl. Let me tell you, he can still play. All the things I saw him do when I was with the Bears, he can still do now. It's a no-brainer to re-sign him, No. 1 as a player, but No. 2 as a leader.

So it should be a no-brainer, right? Let's look at the Ps & Cs.

Pros

-Intangibles as a leader, a first-in, last-out type of guy.
-Knows the system
-Has seen nearly every blitz package ever at this point.
-Has the support of his teammates and friends.

Cons

-Has lost some quickness
-Need to make way for a "Center of the Future" at some pointz
-Will sometimes fracture a teammate's jaw.

More importantly, what does John 'Moon' Mullin (@CSNMoonMullin) have to say about the subject?  He gave this insight exclusively to Windy City Gridiron:

The longest-tenured Bear projects to be back with a short-term deal and Kreutz has given the Bears a hometown discount once before. He has years on him but is a certified cornerstone on the offensive line, is a leader in the locker room and is the standard-setter for professionalism in a group that is still in its formative stages.

 

Looking ahead: Kreutz and the Bears should reach an agreement on a new deal. If somehow things do not work out, the Bears have alternatives in Edwin Williams and Roberto Garza, who could slide over from right guard.

At this point, it's hard to see them not bring Kreutz back, if for no other reason than the fact that there is currently no one to back him up. I know that I don't want to see Roberto Garza starting at Center, and I'm not convinced I want to see Edwin Williams standing on a football field.

So Jerry Angelo, if nothing else, this is the guy with the passion you want driving that line. Get it done!