Kyle Long - Signed through 2021 - As I alluded in my last roster turnover article (the centers), I don’t think the Chicago Bears will ask Long to change positions, considering he’ll be rehabbing two different surgeries this offseason. He hurt his labrun last year before the season started, but he was able to fight through it for 8 starts before the ankle injury. If he makes it back to 100%, I see no reason why he can’t approach the same Pro Bowl level he’s shown in the past.
Josh Sitton - Signed through 2018 - From a mental standpoint, Sitton had to play catch-up after signing right before week 1 started. From a physical standpoint, he had an ankle injury that was bothering him most of the season. The fact that he still played well enough to be a Pro Bowl alternate shows just how good of a player he is. Sitton is going to come into the 2017 season healthy and 100% prepared to make a 4th straight Pro Bowl.
Eric Kush - Free agent - He appeared in 8 games, making 4 starts and I though he showed some promise. He can play both guard and center and he’s only 27 years old. I’d like to see Kush return to compete for a back up role.
Ted Larsen - Free agent - The Bears seemed to value Larsen over Kush, and that may have had something to do with the 29 year-olds previous 6 years starting games in the NFL. He started 8 of the 15 games he appeared in last year and I thought he played decent football. He also can play both guard and center.
I though both Kush and Larsen proved they are capable players last year, and I’d be ok if both returned to back up on the interior. A G/C needy team may come calling for one of them, so it’s possible that only one makes it back to the 2017 roster. If that’s the case, I think the Bears may opt for Larsen.
Cyril Richardson - Signed a reserve/futures contract - In 2014 he had 4 starts in 12 games for the Bills, but the next season he was on their practice squad. The former 5th round pick has some good size (6’5”, 343), but he faces an uphill climb to the active roster.
2017 OUTLOOK - If the Bears allow one of the vet backups to get away, they’ll want to add another interior lineman to the mix, either through free agency or a draft pick. Getting a guard that can move in to center, or a tackle that can move in to guard would add versatility to the group.
General manager Ryan Pace has shown us that he’ll take the best player available in the draft, so we can’t write off him getting a guy at some point. I’m sure he’d weigh his draft board accordingly since he has 2 Pro Bowlers, plus an All Rookie selection on his interior, but we’ll have to wait and see.