Coming off the news that the Bears were kicking the tires of offensive lineman Jake Long, comes news that they signed someone else:
Former #Panthers OT Nate Chandler is signing with the #Bears, source said. They had also worked out Jake Long today for that spot.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 2, 2016
Chandler is coming off of a knee injury suffered last season, on a knee that he had previously injured and had surgically repaired. Specifically, like this, from a Charlotte newspaper last spring:
Chandler, a fourth-year player with the Carolina Panthers, is recovering from knee and toe surgeries. And he’s the only remaining starting tackle after the Panthers decided not to bring back left tackle Byron Bell
Chandler had an interesting path to the NFL. Undrafted in 2012, he actually signed with Carolina as a defensive tackle - a position he converted to in college. It works like this:
Freshman year - offensive lineman.
Sophomore year - tight end (1 catch, 5 yards)
Junior year - defensive lineman.
Senior year - defensive lineman.
He went undrafted, got signed, was released, signed to practice squad, and then elevated to the active roster in October 2012. Again, as a defensive lineman.
In 2013, they switched him to guard. In 2014 the injury history started. The Bears seemingly want to make sure they have plenty of opportunity for offensive line depth, something that has eluded them in the past.
Details on the deal remain to be seen, but one would have to imagine that with his injury history Chandler will come on the cheaper sign. If his knee can hold up, he could be a value signing. If nothing else, he will help to push Charles Leno in camp.
Bears training camp kicks off July 28th in Bourbonnais.
EDIT: The Bears made it official. Here's their press release on the signing.
BEARS MAKE ROSTER MOVES
LAKE FOREST, IL — The Chicago Bears signed OL Nate Chandler
Chandler has appeared in 37 games with 19 starts in three seasons (2012-14) with the Carolina Panthers. He did not appear in any games in 2015 after being placed on Injured Reserve in September.
The UCLA alum entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Panthers in 2012. Chandler started his professional career as a defensive tackle before switching to the offensive line in 2013. All 19 of his career starts are on the offensive side of the ball.