Chicago Bears: Dan Koppen

Bears free agency preview: Center

February, 12, 2013
2/12/13
2:08
PM ET
ESPNChicago examines unrestricted free agents by position that might interest the Bears.

Robert GarzaFrederick Breedon/Getty ImagesThe Bears will have to start looking for a successor at center to Roberto Garza, who will be 34 next month.

FA previews: RB | S | CB | DT | DE | G | WR | TE | QB | LB | OT


Roberto Garza enters the final season of a two-year extension signed in November of 2011. But he'll be 34 in March, leaving the Chicago Bears to ponder the possibility of life after the center, which played well enough in 2012 to be considered one of the most underrated performers on the club's wildly inconsistent offensive line.

The new coaching staff plans to clean up issues up front through a combination of tightening up technique and new additions. Garza certainly gives the Bears a strong foundation on which to build in 2013, but the team needs to acquire his eventual successor.

Based on the current free agent market, the best way to do that will be through the draft or by sifting through the current roster, which includes candidates such as Edwin Williams, Lance Louis and pending free agent Chris Spencer, who played center for most of his career before switching to guard with the Bears.

Garza graded negatively in five of the 16 games, and according to Pro Football Focus, gave up five sacks, one quarterback hit, and eight pressures in 1,071 snaps. Not exactly an all-Pro performance, but the Bears can win with that if they can get Garza's level of consistency from all five players on the offensive line.

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