The Bear Goggles On Countdown to Kickoff series is now underway. With 79 days to go until the Bears season kicks off we will highlight the Bears player that is wearing number 79, offensive lineman, Bradley Sowell.
2016 Season Review
Bradley Sowell spent the 2016 season with the Seattle Seahawks and played in 10 games while starting in 9. Sowell has bounced around in his first six seasons spending time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle.
Sowell won the starting left tackle job out of camp with the Seahawks. Sowell had an up and down first half before missing time due to an ankle injury and eventually fell out of favor with offensive line coach Tom Cable and ended up benched. Sowell was a healthy scratch the last couple games of the season.
Sowell is a serviceable offensive lineman. He’s probably better at left tackle than right tackle and he certainly is a better run blocker than pass blocker but he has the ability to handle the swing tackle duties for Chicago.
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It’s doubtful that Sowell will push Charles Leno or Bobby Massie for the starting position and the Bears have brought in plenty of competition for the offensive line sub positions. Let’s look at the Bears line objectively. It’s doubtful the Bears carry more than nine offensive linemen. Kyle Long, Josh Sitton, Cody Whitehair and Leno are locks to make the roster. Massie isn’t a lock, but he certainly is close to one. Fifth-round pick Jordan Morgan will be given every opportunity to earn another slot.
Eric Kush received a 2-year deal with over $500,000 in guarantees so the Bears certainly expect him to be a part of this offensive line moving forward. If that’s the case, that’s seven positions right there. If Hroniss Grasu keeps his position, that leaves one spot left.
Sowell will be in competition with William Poehls for the swing tackle position. Sowell should have a leg up on Poehls entering training camp because of his experience, but Poehls is three years younger (and a massive man) so if he shows promise in camp, he could beat out Sowell.
Future with Bears
Teams don’t invest long-term in swing tackles, but Sowell is in a position to make an impact in Chicago. Leno is a free agent at the end of the year and Massie is in the second year of a three-year deal. Massie could be released after this season with only $500,000 of dead cap attached to him.
What that means for Sowell is that there is an opportunity to earn a starting position in 2018 this season. If Sowell earns the swing tackle position out of camp and performs well in sub duties, or gets an extended look thanks to an injury to one of the tackles, the Bears may decide to let Leno or Massie walk and keep Sowell on as a starter in 2018 under a cheaper deal than they would have to pay Leno or Massie.
As it is with any player battling for a position, Sowell’s future is murky. He could find himself looking for a new team in August, or he could find himself earning potentially a 2-year deal with a small amount of guaranteed money at season’s end if he gets an opportunity and performs.