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Roberto Garza - Free agent - I think Garza receives a bad rap by many fans. He's a solid offensive lineman, and with better talent around him, the perception was his play picked up in 2013. The reality is that this is the same Garza we've seen in Chicago for years now. Better guard play next to him, means he's not helping as much, so he can focus on his own responsibilities.
The last two seasons Pro Football Focus graded Garza's center play at -18.7 in 2011 and -4.6 in 2012. This year PFF had him as their #12 overall center at +7.2. Did he find a fountain of youth or was the improved offense around him the reason for their better grade?
The 34 year old Garza isn't a road grader, there are only a handful of those guys playing center in the NFL, but he's a smart veteran player that uses technique to get by. His shotgun snaps were a little inconsistent last year, but I thought he played well enough to warrant a return to the Bears in 2014.
Taylor Boggs - Exclusive Rights Free Agent - I think Boggs did enough for the Bears to bring him back this off season, but not enough to hand the center job over to him. He's a hard worker, and is once again working out with LeCharles Bentley in Arizona. Boggs didn't take a regular season snap, but I wouldn't rule him out for a 2014 roster spot. The Bears still have him listed at 285 pounds, which is light for an offensive lineman. Maybe another off season of hard work will get his size and strength up
2014 OUTLOOK - I think both Garza and Boggs will be back, but I also think the Bears will look to add some competition at the position. At the very least they'll bring in an undrafted free agent or two, like they did last season with camp hopeful P.J. Lonergan. Depending on how the draft falls, adding a C/G type player late is always an option.
If Garza is looking for more that the Bears are willing to pay, there are a couple NFC North centers that are also free agents. Dominic Raiola of the Detroit Lions was PFF's #2 graded center at 35 years old, and Green Bay's Evan Dietrich-Smith checked in at #8. The New Orleans Saints Brian De La Puente had a PFF grade of +4, good for 16th overall, is also a free agent, and he has that Aaron Kromer connection.
What do you think the Bears do at the center position in 2014?