Monday, April 22, 2024

Filling The Hole On The Offensive Line: Free Agent Centers The Bears May Try To Sign

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One position Ryan Poles was unable to address last season is one of the most important positions on the offensive line; center. He did sign Lucas Patrick prior to the 2022 season, however, Patrick couldn’t stay healthy, starting only 20 of 34 games. When he did start, he couldn’t handle the bill rush well. As a result the pocket collapsed too often, forcing Fields (or Bagent) to scramble.

In my last article, we looked at the center available in the 2024 draft. Today, let’s look at some of the top centers available via free agency.

1- Lloyd Cushenberry III 2- Tyler Biadasz 3- Andre James 4- Connor Williams 5- Evan Brown

Lloyd Cushenberry III

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Topping the list is Denver’s center. He fits the Poles profile. The 4-year veteran is 6′ 4″ and 315 lbs. Cushenberry is excellent in pass protection and has improved his run blocking every year. All this while having 3 different coaches in his first four years.

Tyler Biadasz

Biadasz, a fourth round draft pick, has anchored the Dallas Cowboys offensive line, starting all but three games over the last three seasons for the Cowboys. Tyler won the Rimington trophy in 2019, playing for the Wisconsin Badgers. In over 1,000 snaps in 2023, Tyler allowed only three sacks and commited just three penalties.

Andre James

At 6′ 4″ and 276 lbs, James still was able to man up well against most interior linemen. His pass blocking is more than adequate. The Raiders’ starting center for the past four years is expected to see interest from Las Vegas to keep him on the roster.

Connor Williams

Williams is rated high, but he suffered a torn ACL late in the 2023 season. He would likely be a longshot. If the Bears had a decent center that was up in age, Williams could be a luxury to sign and let him ease back into the lineup, but the Bears need immediate help at this position and it would not be a good use of resources to offer Williams a deal this season.

Evan Brown

Evan Brown started 12 games for Detroit in 2021, when their star center Frank Ragnow was lost for the season. In 2022, Brown subbed for Lions RG Halapoulivataai Vaitai, when he was injured, starting 12 games in 2022. Brown was signed by Seattle in 2023 and earned the starting center job. Coming over to Chicago already familiar with Shane Waldron’s system could work to his advantage.

Why filling The Center Position With A Veteran Makes Sense

The center plays a critical role. Not only must he get the ball to the quarterback, the center is responsible for calling blocking assignments at the line of scrimmage before the play. Missed assignments along the Chicago line last season often gave defenders a free shot at Fields and Bagent. It might be too much for a rookie to handle, especially if the quarterback is also a rookie in 2024. Solidifying the center position is a critical piece of the roster puzzle Ryan Poles must get right.

Breaking News: Cody Whitehair Is Released

Moments ago, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Whitehair is being released, according to sources. After an eight-year career, the Bears are giving Whitehair a chance to sign elsewhere before free agency begins mid-March. If the move is designated as a pre-June 1st move, it saves $9.15 Million in cap space. A post-June designation would give the Bears $10.25 Million.

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Slip Knotz
Slip Knotz
Feb 15, 2024 9:16 pm

Tricky to sign the right Center when you don’t know if you can get a 2nd round pick or if you fall well enough in the 3rd to get best C available.

carlitopen
carlitopen
Feb 15, 2024 11:33 am

The question is how much would Cushenberry cost. Poles can’t be cheap about the center position and one of the main reasons why JF1 hasn’t progressed properly is because he seldom had a pocket to step up into. We need to get this right this time. How can you evaluate a QB who can’t step up in the pocket?

Last edited 2 months ago by carlitopen
Sam
Sam
Feb 15, 2024 9:42 am

Really like Cushenberry. He has steadily improved over the past couple years, and I believe he is the best center in this group (unless Williams was fully healthy).

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