The Bears have their needs along the offensive line and it's finally getting into crunch time. A little over 24 hours from now, teams can begin signing free agents, instead of playing the semi-legal tampering dance they are in right now.
The weekend has been surprisingly devoid of news, likely due to teams fears they will show their hand or worse, draw the ire of the league office for breaking the rules. However, there has been no shortage or rumors.
For instance, Brad Biggs says the Bears are showing interest in both Jermon Bushrod and Jared Cook. Jeff Dickerson is saying as many as six teams are asking about Nick Roach.
Now, the Bears have plenty of their own guys to worry about and not a lot of cap space with which to work, but the Bears need an offensive lineman, so who's out there?
Andy Levitre, Bills - At 26-years-old and having never missed a game in his four year career, expect Levitre to be a hot commodity. Levitre graded out by Pro-Football Focus with a +17.3. He is, by most accounts, the best interior lineman available.
Brandon Moore, Jets - Moore, a U of I product, has been linked to the Bears since the negotiating period opened Saturday. At 33, there are questions about how much he has left in the tank, but PFF rated him as the highest OG on the market with a +21.3 for '12. In fact, he graded out positively as both a run blocker (+12.8) and pass blocker (+5.6).
Geoff Schwartz, Vikings - A guy who has played both RT and RG, but wasn't a full-time starter last season. PFF thinks highly of him though, giving him a +6.4 grade for '12 for his paltry 160 snaps. They say he was better than the Vikings' starter, Brandon Fusco, though and could be in line for a starting gig in '13. Perhaps he could be cheap since he was on the bench for much of '12. As a conservative Jew, he could team with Gabe Carimi to make an all-Jewish right side for the Bears.
Louis Vasquez, Chargers - NFL.com sites Vasquez as one of biggest "sleeper free agents" available and PFF gave him a +12.7 grade for last season. They note his +8.6 pass-blocking grade and a 97.1 pass-blocking efficiency as his biggest strengths, but note he hasn't had a positive run-block grade in two seasons. He is only 25 and will be a big priority for the Chargers to re-sign.
Kevin Boothe, Giants - Boothe graded out with an +8.2 last season after "sub-par" 2010 and '11 seasons (according to PFF). Boothe has a penalty-free streak going back to 2010 but is more of a run blocker than pass blockers, evidenced by PFF's 95.7 PBE grade, which ranked 42nd among guards.
Lance Louis, Bears - I saved him for last because fans will be most familiar with him. Up until his season-ending injury, he was the Bears' best offensive lineman. He is still young, at age 27, and as a coverted college TE, he has come into his own playing offensive line in the pros. The Bears are expected to try and re-sign him. Pairing him with a free agent LG would go a long way in solidifying the Bears' OL.
I expect the Bears to be in the fray for at least a couple of these guys, but whether or not they can sign one to a deal that works with their tight cap remains to be seen. The Bears need offensive line help, so who do you see the team going after and who would you like to see the team go after?