clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Chicago Bears 2016 Roster Turnover: Are you OK with Charles Leno starting at left tackle?

In this 13 part series we'll take an in depth look at each position group for the Chicago Bears with an eye towards the 2016 season. We'll speculate on who stays, who goes, and some potential additions we'd like to see general manager Ryan Pace make.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Long - signed through 2016 - Long is a three time Pro Bowler and the first Bear since Dan Hampton to make the Pro Bowl at multiple positions. Yeah, OK, a Pro Bowl nod isn't what it used to be with all the players backing out these days, but it's still him being recognized by his peers and coaches as a top player in the NFL.

The Bears have a decision to make this offseason with Long however, keep him at right tackle, kick him back inside to right guard, or perhaps a move to left tackle is best for the team. My guess is he sticks at right tackle, and I'll bet the Bears have already told him as such. Sure you could pick over Long's play as a right tackle and find plenty of instances where he was over-matched, but I would counter and find plenty of times where Long looked like a legit Pro Bowl RT.

He has the work ethic, the strength and the athleticism to make the Pro Bowl for a 4th consecutive year and the 2nd as a right tackle. When Long spoke with Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune earlier this month he said, "I've got no issues being the best right tackle in the league. Doesn't bother me." That sounds like a guy prepared to hone his craft as a right tackle.

Charles Leno Jr. - signed through 2017 - Right now it looks like left tackle is Leno's job to lose. Are you OK with that? Things could obviously change in free agency and the draft, but right now it looks like the Bears tackles will be the same as last year. And if the Bears do decide to stick with Leno at LT, I'd be ok with that. It puts pressure on Leno to get in the best shape of his life and live up to the responsibility of protecting Jay Cutler's blindside.

Kyle Long had high praise for Leno, "He is so talented and is so young (He's only 24). He is this big ball of clay and they just get to mold him how they want. I feel like they have done a great job with him so far and he played really well."

I think a full offseason and training camp focused at left tackle will do his game good.

Tayo Fabuluje - signed through 2018 - GM Ryan Pace lauded Fabuluje's feet when they drafted him, but I didn't see tackle athleticism from him last preseason. Maybe as he continues to get in shape his athleticism will shine even more. He was listed at 353 pounds at the NFL Combine last year, the Bears had him down at 342 for the 2015 season, and he looks like he could still shed some weight off of his 6'6" frame. I think the Bears would love to see him closer to 320 and he does plan on working out with Kyle Long this offseason.

Nick Becton - restricted free agent - Becton signed with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2013, then moved on to the Giants, Saints and now the Bears. He did finish the 2015 season on Chicago's active roster, appearing in a career high 5 games, so I could see the Bears giving him an offer to return. He's a decent athlete for his size (6'5", 323) and may impress in camp.

Jason Weaver - signed through 2016 - The Bears are his 5th team since being an undrafted free agent in 2013 (Yes another one). He'll try and fight for a back up swing tackle spot.

Martin Wallace - signed through 2016 - The Bears signed Wallace to a reserve/futures deal, which will give him a chance to impress this offseason. Chicago is his 4th stop since being an UDFA in 2013. The 2013 season must have been a big year for UDFA tackles.

2016 OUTLOOK - The first thing the Bears need to do is make a decision on Kyle Long. It is very possible that decision has already been made, but whether he stays at right tackle, moves back inside to guard or flips over to left tackle could determine what the Bears do in free agency and the draft.

I'll assume Long stays at RT, so the Bears may look at upgrading left tackle, unless they really, really believe Leno is the future. If they look to free agency for a tackle, perhaps they go big and go after the top guy on the market, Buffalo's Cordy Glenn. The Bills could slap him with the franchise tag however, leaving Oakland's Donald Penn as the top LT available.

The Denver Broncos are rumored to be parting ways with left tackle Ryan Clady in a cost cutting measure. The 29 year old Clady is a 2 time All Pro and a 4 time Pro Bowler, but he missed all of 2015 with an injury and he missed 14 games in 2013. But if healthy, he could definitely help a team.

The Chicago Bears have been mocked left tackle Ronnie Stanley from Notre Dame in a recent mock draft, and the Bears should look to upgrade their offensive line in the draft at some point. Texas A&M's Germain Ifedi is a RT/G prospect who may be an option if he slips to the 3rd round. Stanford's Kyle Murphy is an experienced swing tackle type prospect that could be had in the middle rounds.

What would you guys like to see the Bears do at the tackle position in 2016?