Chicago Bears: 4 moves Ryan Pace must make to finalize a playoff roster

Chicago Bears - Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Bears, Russell Okung
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Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears should still sign a left tackle

I understand that the team moved up to draft Teven Jenkins and cut Charles Leno with the likelihood of starting Jenkings at left tackle. I am not opposed to that idea, but if we want the Chicago Bears to be even better in 2021 and maybe even beyond, Ryan Pace should still seek help at left tackle through free agency.

Ideally, Eric Fisher would have been the player the team signed after the draft, but he just signed with the Colts. Instead, the team will have to look at signing Russell Okung. Okung is getting a little old at the age of 33, but he’s a fairly consistent player when healthy.

Health has been Okung’s problem, but that should not deter Ryan Pace from signing Okung to a team-friendly deal. I am not a proponent of Pro Football Focus (PFF), however, I do think their offensive line grades might be the only useful grades they come up with.

Okung has bounced around lately, playing for three teams over the last five years. However, over that time, he has produced a PFF grade of 73.0 or higher in four of those five seasons. In fact, in three of them, his grade was over 78.0. The only down year he had was in 2019 with the Chargers (62.4).

As I said, health has been the downfall of Okung. He has only played in 13 games over the last two years. This alone should keep his contract a little lower too. With the $12 to $15 million in cap room available after extending both Allen Robinson and Akiem Hicks, there should be plenty available here for Okung.

This also gives Teven Jenkins the ability to play right tackle to start his career (better suited) and if needed, he can shift to left tackle in 2022 or 2023. Having Okung at left tackle and Jenkins at right tackle makes this offensive line better than the current roster. The team also has depth with Germain Ifedi (who can play both guard and tackle) and others. Eric Fisher signed for just over $9 million. I would think the Chicago Bears could sign Okung for $7.5 million.