The Chicago Bears have continued to show they will remain active in free agency provided they sense opportunities. That was proven when they signed three tryout players attending mandatory minicamps including veterans Jake Butt and Mike Pennel. Pennel being the latest Kansas City Chiefs connection head coach Matt Nagy is looking to exploit. Is it possible that he may not be the last?
Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report hinted at that possibility. He listed the seven best remaining free agents available as of right now. His #1 choice is former Chiefs right tackle, Mitchell Schwartz. Kansas City parted ways with the ex-All Pro due to cap issues as they looked to revamp their offensive line. Now the veteran remains curiously without a new team. Presuming he does return at some point, Gagnon views the Bears as an obvious landing spot.
“Teams likely want to be sure that veteran offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz is able to recover fully from the back problems that cost him most of the 2020 season and led to offseason surgery. It’s the only explanation for why the incredibly reliable and consistent 32-year-old remains unsigned.
Schwartz didn’t miss a single snap in any of the first seven seasons of his career and didn’t miss a start until 2020. He was a first-team All-Pro in 2018, and his 88.3 PFF grade since 2019 ranks fifth among all qualified offensive tackles.
Logical landing spots: Dolphins, Broncos, Bears, Titans”
It isn’t a stretch at all.
Schwartz played under Nagy in Kansas City. There’s already familiarity. It is also apparent the Bears might not be totally sold on their tackle situation. That was evident when they met with veteran Morgan Moses over a week ago. The longtime right tackle had just been cut by Washington. So the team might not be ready to hand the job to Germain Ifedi or Larry Borom. Not if they think somebody better is available.
When Schwartz is healthy? He is definitely that. What isn’t clear is where his back stands. It was a problem in 2020 and back problems can linger for offensive linemen. There were rumors that Schwartz might be considering retirement. No such announcement has happened yet. Perhaps he is waiting to see how his back feels. Or he’s waiting for the right situation.
Chicago Bears are right to stay active in the trenches
Building depth is more important than ever before after the NFL decided to pursue a 17-game season. Attrition is going to be a theme for every team moving forward. That is why it is never a bad idea to stockpile capable bodies however possible. What do you think would look better. A right tackle spot with Ifedi starting and Borom backing up or one with Schwartz starting with Ifedi and Borom backing up?
It isn’t a hard sell. For the time being though, the Chicago Bears seem content to let the market settle. Training camp is still over a month away. Veteran players like Schwartz don’t have to feel like they’re in a pressing hurry to sign. More action should be expected closer to the deadline on July 31st. If Schwartz intends to play in 2021, he’ll likely seek to land on a new team by then.
Will the Bears go after him?
Given that Moses is expected to sign with the Jets, this is a growing possibility. Much of it depends on the money Schwartz is looking for and how Chicago feels about his health concerns. Still, this is definitely something worth monitoring. If the Bears were able to get anything close to peak Schwartz this coming season? Their offensive line would be in way better shape.