Ranking 5 best free agent centers Chicago Bears must consider

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
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Chicago Bears, Nick Gates
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2. Should Chicago Bears give Nick Gates a chance to start?

Nick Gates is a former UDFA from the New York Giants who worked his way into the starting lineup. It is impressive where he has gone so far, and he could be a nice fit for the Chicago Bears.

By his second NFL season, he played 1,014 snaps at center, and he looked like the future at the position in New York. However, Nick Gates broke his leg early into his third season. He recovered in time to play this season but missed the first half.

The team obviously had to move forward with other options at center, so he returned as a reserve at first. Still, he wound up with 258 snaps at left guard and 132 snaps at center. In 2020, all indications were that he had a real future in the NFL as a starting center.

His 2021 was a wash, but he got back into the mix in 2022, and now hopes to get a starting center job back in 2023. This could be a situation where the team keeps Lucas Patrick, and let Patrick and Gates compete to start. They should see that whichever loses would have a great shot at being a swng guard who can play three spots, and the starter will have earned it.

When you add in that the price tag will be lower than someone like Ethan Pocic, it is worth looking into.