The Chicago Bears being over the salary cap going into 2021 painted a clear enough picture. Some guys were going to end up losing their jobs. Sacrifices would have to be made. Unsurprisingly it started with veteran cornerback Buster Skrine, who suffered his sixth career concussion last season and missed several games. A few days later he was joined by veteran right tackle Bobby Massie.
Chicago signed him back in 2016 and all things considered he ended up being one of Ryan Pace’s better free agent additions. The tackle lasted five seasons, earned a contract extension, and was arguably their most reliable blocker up front during most of that stretch. Unfortunately, age and health setbacks made him expendable. A reality many players have experienced over the years.
Is he bitter about it?
Well, it didn’t seem like he was trying to come across that way. Massie revealed to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune that the Bears informed him they wouldn’t be picking up his contract option last week. When the news finally hit on Monday, that was when it set in that he was a free agent again. Not that he’s afraid. The nature of the current market gives him the confidence he will have options.
“I’m just waiting to see what happens. I’m in a pretty good position, luckily, because I was playing good ball before I ended up getting hurt. The Bears let me go, but if anything, they gave me an opportunity to get a fourth contract. I’m not stressed about that.”
While the salary cap is dropping this offseason, that doesn’t mean Massie won’t be able to make some money. The offensive tackle market appears to be razor-thin in terms of having capable starters available. Taylor Moton will be franchise tagged. Daryl Williams and Trent Williams are expected to stay in Buffalo and San Francisco respectively. That creates a nice opportunity for Massie. Still, he couldn’t hide a pinch of saltiness when discussing the idea of a Chicago return.
“But the truth is they can’t afford me,” he said. “And they’re definitely not going to be able to afford me once I hit the market because there are no tackles in free agency. As of today, I don’t see me being a Bear next year. I liked where I was at, but today changes that.”
Replacing Bobby Massie will be difficult for the Bears
They don’t have a lot of money to spend and like the veteran said it’ll be a buyer’s market in free agency. In other words, even the lesser options could end up being expensive. Still, GM Ryan Pace has no choice. They have no viable option at right tackle on the roster. Germain Ifedi and Rashaad Coward are both free agents. Perhaps they could move Alex Bars to that spot. He played it in college at Notre Dame though most have felt he is better at guard.
Bringing back Ifedi is certainly an option. It’s unlikely he would cost too much though it isn’t clear if he is interested in playing tackle. One of the reasons he signed in Chicago was their desire to move him to guard. A position he felt he was a better fit at. With the veteran options not looking so good, this makes it increasingly plausible the Bears find their Bobby Massie stand-in via the draft.
It would be an opportune time for it.
Experts agree offensive tackle is one of the strengths of the 2021 draft class. Expectations are teams will be able to find capable starters deep into the 2nd and even 3rd rounds. A lot of top talent and a lot of depth. This is good news for Chicago. The last time they drafted an offensive lineman in the 1st round was 2013. The last time it was a tackle was 2011. They are long overdue.
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