In the NFL, you can never have too much offensive line depth. The Bears are following that model by signing interior offensive lineman Earl Watford, according to Adam Green. No contract figures have been revealed yet.
A former top reserve for the Cardinals, Watford has 21 starts in the last four years in Arizona: proving he’s versatile and experienced enough to play both guard and center. The 27-year-old former 2013 fourth-round pick is no lock to make Chicago’s roster, though. But, he figures to factor in heavily should injury issues arise up front with players such as Kyle Long still recovering from a rough past two seasons. Along with the returning Eric Kush, the Bears now have two interior depth guys they can count on at a moment’s notice.
With offensive line guru Harry Hiestand in the fold, it certainly seems as if the Bears are determined not to let one of their most important position group sink any of the team’s outlook.
As far as looking ahead, this shouldn’t preclude any potential plans by the Bears to add a long term starter at guard or center in the draft. Watford’s veteran addition is more about having failsafes in place, especially for the largest men on the field that endure the most contact. Anything can happen as far as injuries at any moment. This is simply needed bottom of the roster shuffling by Chicago that could pay off later on.
Fortunately, Watford’s signing comes on the heels of the Bears beginning team activities at Halas Hall this week. That should give him plenty of time to ingratiate himself with the offense and prepare for what should be an enjoyable competition over the next several months in Lake Forest.
EDIT: Contract details are in for Watford.
Gets $550k guaranteed, can earn up to $2m. https://t.co/uzqDdJ5R8V— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 3, 2018
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron and Inside The Pylon, and a contributor to Pro Football Weekly and The Athletic Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.