Chicago Bears: Gabe Carimi

Bears pick DT Will Sutton in 3rd

May, 9, 2014

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The pick: Will Sutton, defensive tackle, Arizona State.

My take: The Bears poured a massive amount of resources into repairing the interior of the defensive line with Sutton and second-round pick Ego Ferguson of LSU. Sutton, a two-time Pac-12 defensive player of the year, had 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss for the Sun Devils in 2012 and likely projects to line up at three-technique in the NFL.

Sutton's numbers dropped last year when he registered only 48 tackles, four sacks and 13.5 tackles-for-loss. Many draft analysts believe Sutton's decline in production was due to his being overweight. Sutton said he is currently at 290 pounds but can continue to drop weight if the Bears want him to.

The defensive tackle was declared academically ineligible in 2010.

Sutton obviously made a positive impression on the Bears and defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni during his pre-draft visit to Halas Hall.

Double-dip: The last time the Bears went back-to-back at defensive tackles in the early rounds was 2004 when former general manager Jerry Angelo selected Tommie Harris and Tank Johnson. When Harris and Johnson were healthy and focused, they comprised one of the best defensive tackle combos in the league. The Bears would be absolutely thrilled if one day Sutton and Ferguson can grow into that role.

Both players are expected to be part of a rotation in 2014, but Sutton and Ferguson could be the future starters at three-technique and nose tackle, respectively.

What's next: The Bears hold four picks Saturday (Nos. 117, 156, 183, 191) but none in the seventh-round due to last year's trade with Dallas for tight end Dante Rosario. But the Bears do have an extra choice in the sixth round, courtesy of sending former first-round choice Gabe Carimi to the Bucs.

With cornerback and defensive tackle addressed, the Bears are expected to target help at linebacker, running back and perhaps safety, although the consensus top-five safeties are all off the board.

Reviewing the Bears' drafts: 2013

April, 18, 2014
Here is Part 5 of our series reviewing the past five drafts of the Chicago Bears.

With one full-season under his belt, general manager Phil Emery took on the task of rebuilding the offensive line, while inserting youth into an aging defense that would be playing under a new head coach for the first time since 2004.

First-round pick: Kyle Long, OG, Oregon

Number of picks: 6

How they did: Above average. Four of the six members of the 2013 draft class cracked the starting lineup last season, with Long and fifth-round choice Jordan Mills starting all 16 regular-season games. Bostic was thrown into the fire after veteran middle linebacker D.J. Williams suffered a season-ending injury, and Greene had the unenviable task of attempting to replace perennial Pro Bowl weakside linebacker Lance Briggs, who missed seven games because of a shoulder issue. Seventh-rounder Marquess Wilson played sparingly as a rookie, but is expected to have a much larger role in the offense as the No. 3 wide receiver in 2014. Cornelius Washington, a sixth-round defensive end out of Georgia, spent the bulk of the season on the inactive list.

[+] EnlargeKyle Long
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesKyle Long showed leadership qualities as a rookie.
Pivotal pick: Long. The Bears switched out four of their five starting offensive linemen from 2012 to 2013. Though the club signed left tackle Jermon Bushrod and left guard Matt Slauson (a pair of excellent free-agent pickups) before the draft, it was critical for the organization to hit on a first-round offensive lineman after missing on Chris Williams (2008) and Gabe Carimi (2011). Another failure on the offensive line in the first round would have forced the Bears to spend more money in free agency or re-draft the position again entirely. That will not have to happen unless Long suffers some kind of injury. He should be a fixture on the Bears’ offensive line for 10 years, at least. Plus, his athleticism and intelligence could allow him to change positions in the future if the Bears deem it necessary.

Best pick: Long. When respected team captain and veteran center Roberto Garza calls it quits, Long will take over the leadership of the offensive line and be one of the key voices in the locker room. Although Long prefers not to talk about himself, he has a commanding presence that cannot be ignored. But what makes this such a great pick is that Long was a relative unknown coming out of Oregon, where he started just a handful of games. It takes guts to select a player at No. 20 overall who played only one year of major college football. Yet, the Bears did their homework, stood by their convictions, and were rewarded with likely the club’s best first-round pick since Tommie Harris in 2004.

Worst pick: Washington. But to be fair, he’s only been in the NFL for one season. There is a chance he improves his technique in the offseason and learns how to use his 6-foot-4 frame to his advantage. Washington never really had a permanent position at Georgia, so he is considered raw. Obviously, the Bears did not feel comfortable enough to use Washington last season as a rookie even though the club badly needed help up front on the defensive line. With the additions of Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston, Willie Young and Israel Idonije, it will be tough for Washington to make an impact, or even to make the team in 2014. But it’s never wise to give up on a young player after just one season. Let’s see how it plays out for Washington when the team officially begins its offseason program on April 22.
Here’s Part 3 of our series reviewing the past five drafts of the Chicago Bears.

Finally, the Bears moved from under the limitations brought on by the Jay Cutler deal, and held a first-round pick for the first time since 2008. Too bad the club didn’t choose wisely (although bad luck played somewhat of a role).

First-round pick: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

Number of picks: 6

[+] EnlargeCarimi
Rob Grabowski/USA TODAY SportsOffensive tackle Gabe Carimi, selected 29th overall in 2011, was a disappointment for the Bears.
How they did: This draft yielded two major contributors in defensive tackle Stephen Paea and safety Chris Conte, but first-round pick Gabe Carimi was largely disappointing. Carimi started 16 games for the Bears in two seasons before the club traded him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he appeared to be worthy of his first-round pedigree early on. Carimi dislocated a kneecap in the second game of his NFL career, and was never the same during his tenure with the Bears. Though it would be easy to be critical of the Carimi pick, it appears some bad luck conspired against Chicago on this one.

Pivotal pick: After three years without a first-round pick, the Bears needed to hit with Carimi, but they didn’t. The Bears needed to shore up a leaky offensive line going into this draft, and it appeared the chances for doing so with Carimi were good. Carimi had started in 49 games for Wisconsin at left tackle, won the 2010 Outland Trophy, and began his rookie season as the starting right tackle. Up until Carimi suffered the dislocated kneecap at New Orleans, he had been playing winning football. The Bears received a sixth-round pick for Carimi last June in the trade with Tampa Bay, which released him. Carimi signed with Atlanta in February, and will be reunited with former Bears offensive line coach and offensive coordinator Mike Tice.

Best pick: No doubt, Conte struggled through the 2013 season. But he’s still the best pick of this class, and he’ll likely bounce back. Going into 2013, Conte was expected to put together a breakout season after producing 68 tackles in 2012, along with two interceptions and nine pass breakups. Conte finished last season with 90 tackles and three interceptions. He is coming off shoulder surgery, which means he’ll likely miss time at training camp. But if Conte’s rehabilitation goes smoothly, he has a good chance to win a starting job and return to the ascending player the team thought he was entering last season.

Worst pick: Linebacker J.T. Thomas was a three-year starter at West Virginia, but turned in the lowest vertical at the 2011 combine (30 inches), which raised questions about his explosion. Thomas caught the coaching staff’s eye early in camp after taking several first-team reps because of the rules at the time preventing veterans from practicing immediately coming out of the NFL lockout. But Thomas’ practice exploits never transferred onto the field, and he appeared to lack physicality. The Bears waived Thomas after the 2013 preseason, and he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

As expected, no extra picks for the Bears

March, 24, 2014
Only nine NFL teams have received fewer compensatory draft picks than the Chicago Bears since the system of awarding extra picks was implemented in 1994.

And that won't change this year.

The Bears were not given any additional selections in the upcoming draft. Not that they were expecting any.

Compensatory picks are based on the previous offseason's net losses in free agency. In 2013, they offset their major free-agent losses -- guard Jermon Bushrod (who signed with the New Orleans Saints) and linebacker Nick Roach (Oakland Raiders) -- by signing free-agent tight end Martellus Bennett to a four-year, $20.4 million contract.

Since 1994, the Bears have received 17 compensatory picks. Only Arizona (16), Kansas City (15), Carolina (14), the New York Jets (13), Washington (12), New Orleans (10), Denver (nine), Houston (nine) and Cleveland (six) have received fewer.

On Monday at the NFL annual meetings in Orlando, Fla., a total of 13 teams received 32 compensatory picks for this year's draft.

The Bears have seven selections in the upcoming draft. They own their own picks in each of the first six rounds and also have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' sixth-round pick, which they acquired in the trade for guard Gabe Carimi. They do not have their seventh-round pick, which they traded to the Dallas Cowboys for tight end Dante Rosario.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Here are some observations from Day 1 of the Chicago Bears' three-day mandatory minicamp:

  • Bears offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer recently underwent hip surgery, which forced the veteran assistant coach to miss the on-field portion of Tuesday’s minicamp workout. However, Kromer was in the building during practice and did attend meetings. Kromer will not meet the media following the conclusion of minicamp on Thursday as had been previously scheduled.

  • The signing of defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis gives the Bears’ the maximum 90 players on their offseason roster. Although the team worked out three quarterbacks last week, including 2007 No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell, the Bears appear to content to enter training camp with just three quarterbacks. The feeling is that if the club added another veteran passer, it would come at the expense of No. 3 quarterback Matt Blanchard, a young player the Bears are committed to developing.

  • (Read full post)

    Bears trade former first-rounder Carimi

    June, 10, 2013
    AM ET
    CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears have traded 2011 first-round draft choice Gabe Carimi, an offensive lineman, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Read the entire story.

    Source: Carimi will be at minicamp

    June, 7, 2013
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    [+] EnlargeGabe Carimi
    Dennis Wierzbicki/US PresswireGabe Carimi would be fined if he missed the mandatory minicamp next week.
    CHICAGO -- Chicago Bears offensive lineman Gabe Carimi will be present next week at the club's mandatory three-day minicamp, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.

    Carimi left the team following the conclusion of the Bears' voluntary three-day minicamp in April and returned to Arizona to continue his offseason training, opting to skip the second phase of the club's offseason program and all 10 organized team activities. But next week's minicamp is mandatory, and Carimi could be fined up to $66,150 if he misses all three workouts.

    Bears general manager Phil Emery said Tuesday he believed Carimi would return to Chicago for the minicamp.

    "That'll be up to Gabe," Emery said. "You may want to ask him that. I'm assuming that he will be. Certainly he wants to play and wants to play well, and I think that's why he's approached his training that way. Those are questions only Gabe can answer."

    Emery said the Bears have kept in contact with Carimi while he's been in Arizona.

    "We've talked to Gabe and the individual who's training him. So yes, we're talking to him," Emery said. "We'd like all our players to be here, but Gabe made a decision that was best for Gabe so every individual player has to make those decisions. [Organized team activities are] voluntary, and we're going to respect that and we're going to respect Gabe in his decisions."

    The 29th overall selection of the 2011 NFL draft, Carimi started just two games at right tackle for the Bears as a rookie before he suffered what turned out to be a season-ending knee injury that required multiple procedures to correct. Carimi's knee appeared to cause him problems in his second season, but he did manage to start the first 10 games of 2012 at right guard before losing his job to veteran Jonathan Scott. Carimi spent the final weeks of the season playing both guard and tackle.

    Bears coach Marc Trestman said in April the organization viewed Carimi as a better fit at offensive guard.

    Even before Carimi decided to train independently this offseason, it was unclear exactly where he stood on the roster. The Bears made several moves at guard in the offseason, including selecting guard Kyle Long with the 20th overall choice of the 2013 NFL draft. The Bears also signed veteran guards Matt Slauson and Eben Britton in free agency to bolster a group that already included second-year guard James Brown and veteran guard/center Edwin Williams. While the Bears' fifth-round draft pick, Jordan Mills, is beginning his professional career at right tackle, the Bears think Mills has the versatility to one day slide inside to guard.

    Carimi has two years left on a contract that guaranteed his base salary in the second and third years of the deal. The offensive lineman is scheduled to earn a base salary of $1,016,458 in 2013. Offsets in the deal would eventually provide the Bears with some cap relief in the event Carimi fails to make the team and is signed by another club. Since any new deal Carimi might sign will not be guaranteed, he would have to first earn the money during the regular season before the Bears would be in position to recoup some of the salary-cap hit they would take if Carimi gets cut. Carimi also has $907,918 of his signing bonus prorated over the next two years that would also count as dead money against the cap if the Bears decide to go in another direction.
    [+] EnlargeGabe Carimi
    AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhGabe Carimi could be fined a maximum $66,150 if he misses all three days of the Bears' mandatory three-day minicamp.
    LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Whether the Chicago Bears will welcome back missing-in-action offensive lineman Gabe Carimi with "open arms" remains to be seen, but general manager Phil Emery does anticipate the former first-round pick attending next week's mandatory veterans minicamp.

    The NFL's collective bargaining agreement states a player can be fined a maximum $66,150 if he misses all three days of a club's mandatory three-day minicamp.

    Bears players are scheduled to undergo physicals Monday before practicing Tuesday through Thursday.

    "That'll be up to Gabe," Emery said when asked whether Carimi will be present. "You may want to ask him that. I'm assuming that he will be. Certainly he wants to play and wants to play well, and I think that's why he's approached his training that way. Those are questions only Gabe can answer."

    Emery said the organization has kept in contact with Carimi and his trainers in Arizona since the offensive lineman decided to leave the team and work out independently following the conclusion of the Bears' voluntary three-day minicamp in April.

    "We've talked to Gabe and the individual who's training him. So yes, we're talking to him," Emery said. "We'd like all our players to be here, but Gabe made a decision that was best for Gabe so every individual player has to make those decisions. [Organized team activities are] voluntary, and we're going to respect that and we're going to respect Gabe in his decisions."
    Gabe CarimiJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesGabe Carimi has opted to stay in Arizona and train rather than take part on Bears OTAs.
    Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery took the diplomatic route Wednesday when asked about Gabe Carimi's absence from the team's organized team activities.

    Carimi missed OTA sessions on Monday and Tuesday, the first two workouts of 10 league-mandated OTAs, and was the only player on the team eligible to attend who did not.

    "This is a voluntary situation, and every player has to make his own decisions," Emery told Sirius XM NFL Radio. "Gabe has made a decision. He wants to stay in Arizona and train. We respect that, and we'll welcome (him) with open arms when he comes back."

    (Read full post)

    Carimi remains a no-show at OTAs

    May, 14, 2013
    PM ET

    LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears guard Gabe Carimi missed his second consecutive organized team activity on Tuesday, raising questions about his long-term future with the team that made him the 29th overall selection of the 2011 NFL Draft.

    Read the entire story.

    Sources: Bears' Carimi misses first OTA

    May, 13, 2013
    PM ET
    Gabe Carimi, Erin HendersonJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesGabe Carimi was the only Bear eligible to attend Monda's OTA who did not show.
    CHICAGO -- Former Chicago Bears first-round draft pick Gabe Carimi was a no-show at Halas Hall on Monday when the team took the field for the first organized team activity of the offseason, according to a source familiar with the situation.

    He was the only one eligible to attend who did not, according to a source. Rookie first-round pick Kyle Long is among a handful of players who cannot participate in the remainder of the offseason program due to Oregon being on the quarter system and having final exams that run through June 14.

    (Read full post)

    Bears further beef up O-line with Mills

    April, 27, 2013
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    Jordan MillsStacy Revere/Getty ImagesBears draft pick Jordan Mills showed off his skills in the Senior Bowl.
    LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Saturday’s fifth-round choice of Louisiana Tech offensive tackle Jordan Mills is just the latest in a series of moves the Chicago Bears have made to overhaul the offensive line -- clearly the weakest unit on the team last season in the eyes of general manager Phil Emery.

    The Bears are set at left tackle with Pro Bowler Jermon Bushrod.

    On the right side - it’s a different story.

    Veterans J'Marcus Webb and Jonathan Scott are expected to battle it out for the starting right tackle job, but neither is assured of a spot long-term. Webb and Scott are signed through 2013.

    Mills is a versatile player who lined up primarily at tackle at Louisiana Tech, but also spent time at guard in 2009. At 6-5, 315 pounds, Mills has the size to play offensive tackle in the NFL, however, the Bears do seem determined to plug in larger bodies inside at guard.

    “I’ll play anywhere, left side or right side.” Mills. “I told my coaches I’ll play anywhere they need me. Wherever they need me to win, I’ll be there. Like I told my coaches, if they need me at H-Back to lead block, I’ll do that.”

    (Read full post)

    Trestman: Carimi a better fit at guard

    April, 16, 2013
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    Gabe Carimi, Erin HendersonJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesMarc Trestman said film study showed that Gabe Carimi is better suited at guard than tackle.
    LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman said on Tuesday he believes third-year offensive lineman Gabe Carimi is better suited to compete for a starting job at guard, not at right tackle, where it was presumed the former 2010 first round pick would also battle J'Marcus Webb and Jonathan Scott for playing time.

    (Read full post)

    Webb shifting to RT after Bushrod signing

    March, 13, 2013
    PM ET
    CHICAGO -- J'Marcus Webb is on the move.

    Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery confirmed that Webb has been flipped to right tackle following the signing of two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jermon Bushrod to a five-year, $35.9 million contract on Tuesday.

    [+] EnlargeJ'Marcus Webb
    AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhJ'Marcus Webb will get a chance to earn the starting right tackle job.
    Webb, who started 12 games at right tackle his rookie year for the Bears, is expected to be in competition with Gabe Carimi and/or unrestricted free agent Jonathan Scott, whom the Bears will attempt to re-sign. If they fail in their bid to bring back Scott, the Bears could add another tackle in free agency or the draft.

    Carimi also will get a look inside at guard, according to Emery.

    "He'll have opportunities both at tackle and guard," Emery said. "We'll see what is the best fit for Gabe. I'm excited to see how he comes back and competes at both those spots so we can find the best five to put together."

    At the moment, Webb appears to be the front-runner to be the Week 1 right tackle, barring injury. But the former seventh-round pick out of West Texas A&M did himself no favors last month off the field. Webb had a highly-publicized run-in with the law in downstate Illinois on Feb. 27 when he was arrested during a traffic stop for allegedly being in possession of a controlled substance. The charges were later dropped.

    Emery said the organization spoke with Webb shortly after the incident.

    "We definitely sat down and talked to J'Marcus," Emery said on Wednesday. "We definitely let him know what our expectation level is and what our standards are, and we certainly expect that he will work diligently in meeting those expectations and standards and continue to compete for his job and add to the team."

    This is a critical year for Webb, who is entering the final season of his rookie contract.

    Bears finally find legit LT: Jermon Bushrod

    March, 12, 2013
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    Three years of horrendous pass protection have finally compelled the Chicago Bears to address their offensive line. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter and others, the Bears have agreed to terms with free agent Jermon Bushrod, who spent his first six seasons with the New Orleans Saints.

    Bushrod has been named to the Pro Bowl the past two seasons and gives the Bears their first legitimate left tackle since John Tait retired after the 2008 season. A patchwork journey that included Orlando Pace, Chris Williams, Frank Omiyale and most recently J'Marcus Webb -- Oh, the memories! -- led the Bears to pay what will likely be a premium price to lock down the position. (Update: Bushrod received a five-year deal worth $35.9 million.) The Bears chose Bushrod over fellow free agent Jake Long, presumably because offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer coached him in New Orleans.

    Kudos to Kromer, coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery for recognizing and finally acting on such an obvious liability. We've spent so much time discussing the state of the Bears' offensive line, and their annually unreasonable requests of former line coach Mike Tice to patch it together, that it feels surreal to acknowledge such a significant move.

    Webb presumably will be given a chance to compete at right tackle, the position where he began his career and where 2011 first-round draft pick Gabe Carimi has flopped.

    In 40 regular-season games over the past three seasons, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has absorbed 113 sacks -- the highest per-game percentage in the NFL and the third most in raw sack numbers among quarterbacks during that stretch, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Cutler's shove and verbal harangue of Webb in Week 2 last season was but one illustration of his frustration with the Bears' pass protection over his tenure.

    The Bears still have work to do, even after signing Bushrod and tight end Martellus Bennett. Right guard Lance Louis remains unsigned, as is left guard Chris Spencer. The Bears want Louis back but will need to find a replacement for Spencer. It's also a bit scary to know that the top two candidates to play right tackle are both previously deposed starters. And let's not forget that center Roberto Garza has always been considered a stopgap replacement for Olin Kreutz, not necessarily a long-term replacement.

    But left tackle is by far the most important position on the offensive line. The Saints didn't have the salary-cap space to keep Bushrod, and quite frankly I don't know how the Bears did, either. That's a discussion for another day. In the end, the Bears decided to stop their five-year charade at the position and have finally addressed it in a substantive way. Can you believe it?