The Bears announced today that they have re-signed veteran center Roberto Garza to a 1-year deal. Garza, who will be 35 by the start of next season, has been a rock in the middle of the Bears offensive line as their starting center the last three seasons. He hasn’t missed a game in those three years and according to ProFootballFocus, Garza has improved significantly at center every season with 2013 being the best of his 9 years with the Bears. His 7.2 overall grade was the 12th best in the NFL at the center position.
Continuity on the offensive line is one of the most important factors for success and the re-signing of Garza allows the Bears to bring back the same offensive line from the 2013 season. The offensive line was the best the Bears have had in years and was a big reason the Bears finished with the 8th ranked total offense (NFL.com). Garza also played a key role in mentoring rookie guard Kyle Long, who made the Pro Bowl in his first season with the Bears. With free agency right around the corner (March 11th), the Bears were able to get a 1-year deal done with Garza and improve the outlook for the offense in 2014. The financial details of the deal haven’t been disclosed but I predict it will be close to the veteran minimum. Garza made 2.12 M with the Bears last season.
The Bears also re-signed back-up center Taylor Boggs on Monday, so the position is solidified for the 2014 season. There is a chance the Bears will draft a developmental center to groom as Garza’s eventual replacement, but teams rarely keep three centers on the active roster so I would be surprised if they did. If Garza plays like he did in 2013, the Bears might not need a replacement for a couple more years.