Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery was wheeling and dealing during the team's first training camp practice this afternoon. He traded an undisclosed 2013 draft pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for defensive tackle Brian Price.
Price was selected in the second round (35th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Buccaneers out of UCLA. The 6-1, 303-pounder has started 14 of 20 contests played in two seasons, recording 27 tackles (23 solo) and three sacks.
In 2011, he started 14 of 15 contests played registering 24 tackles (20 solo) and three sacks.
Price lost his sister after a hit-and-run accident this past May. Reports are that he still hasn't recovered from the tragedy and it has affected his play on the field, as well as his attitude off the turf. This spring, he got into a fistfight with Bucs first rounder Mark Barron during a team meeting.
"This is a very talented player when he came out of the draft," Emery said after today's practice. "He was picked high in the second round. He fits our system, fits the 4-3. Very explosive player off the ball, very reactive.
"He has struggled some here in the last year. He's had a tough go of it with family issues, obviously with his sister passing away. He's had a hard time with the transition. He's a player that needs a new home and we're excited to bring him to Chicago."
The Bears were set to initiate a camp battle between five unproven players for the backup spot at 3-technique behind Henry Melton. Obviously, the coaches and front office did not feel comfortable with that scenario, thus accepting the risk in acquiring Price.
"It's a statement that we're going to continue to work on our roster," said Emery. "We're never going to rest on our roster, to find players that we feel can help us in our scheme and push towards our goals."
While undisclosed, I'm told the draft pick in the deal is a seventh rounder. The Buccaneers have been looking to deal Price for months now and were originally looking to gain a mid-round pick in exchange. They couldn't find any takers and lowered their asking price to a range with which the Bears felt comfortable.
"It's a trade that, at this time of the year, there's a lot of players that you would call that might be on the bubble," Emery said. "We definitely monitored his situation and realized that he was having a hard time with the transition and things that happened on a personal level. That he could possibly be one of those players that would come loose, that would fit for us and help us and help our team. When we got the call from Tampa that they'd be willing to talk to us about it, we were glad to engage in those conversations."
If the change of scenery does Price well, he could end up being a steal, as he has all the physical tools to be a disruptive, one-gap defensive tackle. His experience in Tampa's 4-3, the scheme Chicago runs, should also help his transition.
"The scheme certainly helps this player because he is a one-gap, penetration, upfield player," said Emery. "He's about this system. He's a penetration, explosive, get off the mark, get in the gap, cause disruption, type player."
Chicago's roster currently stands at 90 players. The Bears are now down to five 2013 draft picks, after previously trading a third rounder for Brandon Marshall.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.