What are the cases for the Chicago Bears keeping Bobby Massie and letting him walk?
As the Chicago Bears get into the offseason, the first thing they must do is decide who should stay and who should be let go from last years run. The Bears have a plethora of upcoming free agents to sort through, and we will help them do just that.
This series will make a case for and against signing each Chicago Bears free agent. Today we discuss Bobby Massie.
I know where everyone is leaning in this one, but let me make the case. To start, Pro Football Focus credited him with just one sack allowed, while the Washington `Post tabbed him with two sacks allowed. He was not the biggest liability in pass protection.
In fact, the biggest liability on the offensive line the entire season was at the right guard position. Kyle Long, Eric Kush and Bryan Witzmann shuffled all season and were the Bears worst run blockers. Witzmann was the biggest liability and played the most at right guard of the three. The musical chairs and issues force Massie to play above his head. He was often overcompensating for lack of help beside him. Considering those issues, it can be argued he held up well on tape.
Massie excelled in reach blocks and down blocks. He did a good job getting his hands on a player and using his momentum to clear out run lanes, as shown in the play linked here.
On top of that, Jordan Howard averaged 4.2 yards per carry to the right tackle side one of his better rates. He broke off five ten yard runs from that side, his best rate.
Most of the success to the side of Massie had more to do with scheme than his play. As mentioned, he was strong on reach blocks, but otherwise lost at the point of attack often. His worst game of the season came against Ndamakung Suh and Aaron Donald in which he was expose multiple times, one linked here
His run blocking has slipped severely and his three years in Chicago were the worst of his career. In 2015 Massie had an 81 run blocking grade from PFF. In his three years with the Bears, he posted grades of 59, 59, and 57. Massie had issues getting into the second level which showed in the Bears ranking 31st in second level yards.
Massie had issues with having the fluidity to get into the second level, but also the power to spring quick plays either. In the play linked here Massie is blown up off of the ball to the point where he disrupts the play by running into Jordan Howard.
While Massie was only credited with two sacks allowed, he finished second on the team in combined pressures, which adds hits and hurries into the equation. Massie had issues with stunts. This could be attributed to the rotating guard, and having issues communicating with his right guard, like the play linked here.
More from Bear Goggles On
- Franchise tag and transition tag windows open for Chicago Bears and NFL
- How the Chicago Bears can control the running back market in 2023
- The Chicago Bears can own the city of Chicago moving forward
- Chicago Bears NFL Combine Preview: Quarterback
- 7 best free agent tackle options for Chicago Bears
However, as shown against Clay Matthews here, he was vulnerable to stunts himself. He also had issues against the long arm, as shown against Vinny Curry in the play linked here, and Jonathan Woodard here. These are not high caliber pass rushers, and they are getting a clean punch into Massie too easily.
So, while he had a career year as a pass blocker by his standards, the tape shows that he still has some pretty big holes in his pass protection skill set.
What makes the Massie debate interesting is that there is not much out there regarding free agent right tackles at the moment. He may wind up being one of the hotter tackles on the market. When looking at the list of upcoming free agents, the only other big names at age 30 or under are Juwuan James, and Jordan Mills. Joe Barksdale is coming off of a poor year, and Jared Valdheer is 32 and coming off of a down year. Their current teams may retain James and Mills while Massie will be coming off of a year where he gave up few sacks.
Last year Austin Howard was age 31 and was coming off of a year arguably more impressive than Massie. He signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal. The cap will rise, but considering Massie is slightly younger but has a slightly worse reputation, this is the range of what Massie will see.
Massie was on the Bears cap for $5.1 million last year and signed a three-year, $18 million deal with the team in 2016. Therefore even if he gets a fair market rate deal, he will save the Bears a bit of cap space from the year before. Massie was not great last year, but if you could save over $1 million while keeping continuity on the line would you do it for one more year?
It is not like they can find a considerable improvement in the free agent market. They could draft a tackle but already traded their top two draft picks.
Of course, the Chicago Bears also have Rashaad Coward, who moved from defensive tackle to right tackle last year. After a strong preseason with Harry Hiestand, many will want to see his progression at the position.
Of course, if he remains raw and unready, the team needs an option. If the Bears brought back Bobby Massie on a cheaper one-year deal and he lost his job in camp to a lower paid player, it is no harm done. If that lower paid player doesn’t take the step forward, it would be nice to have a veteran who knows what to do.