According to a report by the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo, and confirmed this morning by head coach Matt Nagy, the Chicago Bears will be placing starting right guard Kyle Long on injured reserve. Long missed the Bears’ week four game against the Minnesota Vikings with a hip injury, but he played the other four games, albeit at a less that expected level.
He’s clearly struggled each week he’s played, and even though he only showed up on the injury report twice this year, he has labored in each contest. He’s not getting his usual push off the ball, he’s slow to the second level, and he looks uncomfortable on his pulls. His trademark strength and tenacity has been missed on Chicago’s offensive line, which has been the weakest unit on the team thus far.
At 30-years old, and with several surgeries in his past, Long hasn’t been the player the Bears expected in 2019, so now he’ll get the time he needs to try to get his body right.
During the week four game Long missed it was Ted Larsen that got the start, but Larsen left that game with his own injury and Rashaad Coward stepped in to perform admirably. The 32-year old Larsen has the experience edge over Coward (25), who is a converted defensive lineman that has mostly worked at tackle the last two years, but Coward has more upside.
Once Long is officially on IR, the Bears have two options to fill his roster spot. They could elect to elevate undrafted rookie Alex Bars from the practice squad, or they could sign a street free agent. Bars looke dgood in preseason, but I’ve been told that offensive line coach Harry Hiestand rarely trusts rookies and he’ll go with a veteran in most cases. However, since Bars recently turned down an offer from the Patriots, my guess is he’ll be promoted but be inactive most weeks.
But if the Bears do look for a veteran, here are the top offensive line free agents according to NFLTradeRumor.com.
OT Jeremy Parnell: 6’6, 305
OT Ryan Schreader: 6”7”, 300
C Russell Bodine: 6’3”, 308
C John Sullivan: 6’4”, 302
G Vlad Ducasse: 6’5”, 324
What do you think the Bears do to fill Long’s roster spot?