One of the biggest questions still facing the Bears is the offensive line. It makes a lot of sense to try to add a veteran offensive tackle to protect Jay Cutler’s blind side. There aren’t that many free agent OT’s out there, but there could be some salary cap casualties that could the streets in the coming weeks that could come in to help the Bears. Here are some that might make sense from NFL.com’s post about possible salary cap casualties.
Marcus McNeill, OT, San Diego
McNeill is owed over $10 million in the upcomig season after playing just 9 games in 2011. The former 2-time Pro Bowlers will be the most talented and possibly the most risky offensive tackle out there. The Bears are desperate enough to take a risk.
Willie Colon, OT, Pittsburgh
The Bears made a run at Colon last off-season but the Steelers signed him to a 5-year $29 million deal last July. The Steelers are in really deep salary cap trouble, so it’s unlikely he’s be back in Pittsburgh next season.
He’s another injury risk, having missed the most of the last two seasons due to injury. In 2010, he ruptured an achilles in mini camp and last season he was IR’ed after Week 1 with a torn triceps. Colon is interesting in that he’s a right tackle, where the Bears have their own IR’ed tackle Gabe Carimi waiting in the wing. I say you get the most talented guys and fit them together.
Levi Brown, OT, Arizona
There are conflicting reports about whether or not Brown will hit the market. The Cards owe him a ridonkulous $17 million next season, so he’s either getting sent packing or going through a major re-structuring of that contract. At 27, he’s young enough to take a risk on and he’s more durable than the other prospects. He’s another left tackle that immediately helps the Bears.
There are a few free agent prospects out there too, but mostly and guard and center. The only tackle that really makes much sense is Jared Gaither, who filled in late in the season last year in San Diego when McNeil went down with his injury.
Stay tuned for more info as teams make their cuts and we enter free agency.