The Chicago Bears last season rolled out a mediocre offensive line for most of the campaign.
Kyle Long struggled to adjust to his new position, Jermon Bushrod was outplayed by a former seventh-round pick in Charles Leno, Hroniss Grasu proved ineffective at center after Will Montgomery broke his leg, while right guard was a mess throughout the year.
The Bears have legitimate starters with Long and Matt Slauson, yet a case can be made for three new faces along Chicago's offensive line.
With that in mind, here are the top three free-agent offensive linemen who could provide immediate and substantial upgrades to the club's front five.
LT Russell Okung, Seahawks
Okung is one of the better left tackles in the NFL. He's a quality pass protector on the left edge and he more than gets the job done in the run game. Injuries are a concern with Okung, as he's never played a full 16-game season in his career, but the 27-year-old is about as good as it gets when he's healthy.
Okung is going to be looking for a big contract and some team is going to pay him, I'm just not confident it will be the Bears. GM Ryan Pace seemse unlikely to dump $12M on one player, after recently committing $14.5M to WR Alshon Jeffery. Yet if Pace really wants to shore up the offensive line at its most important position, he'll pony up for Okung.
RT Mitchell Schwartz, Browns
Schwartz is a quality run-blocking right tackle and will cost about $5M less per season than Okung. Schwartz is inconsistent in pass protection but he's a powerful, downhill blocker that can help improve Chicago's rushing attack.
By signing Schwartz, the Bears would have the flexibility to slide Kyle Long back to guard or over to the left edge, while also adding experience and stability to the right side. Schwartz is a solid free-agent option and he won't cost an arm and a leg.
G Jeff Allen, Chiefs
The problems at right guard last season were clearly evident in the passing game. Both Vladimir Ducasse and Patrick Omameh struggled in pass protection. Allen would cure those issues immediately, as he's easily the best pass-blocking guard in the free-agent class.
With Allen, the Bears would get an experienced interior blocker who can keep defenders out of Jay Cutler's face. Allen would be an outstanding addition to Chicago's front five and will come relatively cheap.null