Could Simon Be a Fit at DT?

It wasn't too long ago that Corey Simon was one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL and playing in the Pro Bowl. But the former Florida State Seminole had his career derailed this past season because of an injury that still remains somewhat of a mystery. The Colts are expected to release Simon soon, so could he be a candidate to replace Tank Johnson next to Tommie Harris?

The Chicago Bears did what they had to do last week in releasing troubled defensive tackle Tank Johnson, but now they have to figure out who's going to replace him in the starting lineup next to Pro-Bowler Tommie Harris.

Second-year man Dusty Dvoracek is the front-runner heading into training camp, but he missed his entire rookie season on injured reserve and is yet to take an NFL snap. Antonio Garay will also be in the mix, but he's always had more natural ability than has translated to the football field. Anthony Adams comes over from the 49ers as a free agent after essentially being benched because he was a poor fit in San Francisco's 3-4 scheme.

A former top-10 draft pick will more than likely be on the free agent wire before long, so should the Bears take a look?

Corey Simon, the No. 6 selection in the 2000 NFL Draft out of Florida State and a Pro Bowl selection with the Eagles in 2003, should see his tenure with the Colts end very soon. Simon missed all of last season in somewhat mysterious fashion, but there's no mistaking that he was once a supremely talented player and a disruptive force in the trenches. Since the Monsters of the Midway appear to be thin at DT right now, should they roll the dice?

Scout.com Senior NFL Reporter Adam Caplan shared his thoughts on the situation:

"Simon's problem is that he will have to pass another team's physical, and at this point, no one knows what kind of shape he's in. He reported to the Colts after the trade from Philadelphia in poor shape, and he got in worse shape prior to last season. It doesn't help him that there is decent talent left at his position in free agency. So Simon, who turned 30 earlier this year, might have a hard time finding a job quickly after his release."

And that begs the question of whether not just the Bears but any team might take the risk of giving Simon an opportunity this summer.

According to Scout.coms Browns expert Barry McBride, "I don't think there will be interest from the Browns since they already invested in Robaire and Shaun Smith this offseason, but things might change in a hurry if Orpheus Roye doesn't look like he's back during camp."

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Another potential fit based on Simon's NFL history could be Minnesota. But Scout.com Vikings expert Tim Yotter doesn't see it happening.

"While head coach Brad Childress is familiar with Simon from their days together in Philadelphia, it's seems unlikely the team would make a serious bid for him," Yotter said. "The Vikings were in search of a backup defensive tackle to add depth behind Pro-Bowlers Pat Williams and Kevin Williams, and they pursued Ian Scott in free agency. Eventually, they signed former New Orleans Saint Howard Green, who is expected to be Pat Williams' primary backup."

Two of our Scout.com team experts felt that given the right conditions, their teams could enter the bidding for Simon's services.

"If Simon is healthy and has his head right, the Bucs would be interested, I think," said Matthew Postins, our Tampa Bay expert. "The question would be what they would have to give up for him."

And Jon Scott, our Patriots team expert, believes Bill Belichick might take a look at Simon to see if he's got anything left to offer due to New England's current situation at defensive tackle.

"People scratched their heads when the Patriots signed Kenny Smith and Rashad Moore just after the team's mini camp closed," Scott said. "After they looked at Ian Scott and missed out on Sam Adams, Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick were obviously still interested in building depth on the defensive line."

Bears head coach Lovie Smith loves quick and athletic defensive tackles, and although that used to be Simon's game, his ever-expanding girth probably eliminates him from consideration in the Windy City.

Other teams that could take at least a cursory look in Simon's direction to improve their depth of talent are the Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, and Cincinnati Bengals. But if Simon and his agent don't approach the market with a conservative outlook based on what's transpired over the past two to three seasons, it's certainly possible that the former Pro-Bowler may have played his last snap in the NFL.

Scout.com Colts expert Ed Thompson contributed to this feature.

John Crist is the Editor in Chief 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.

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