The rich get richer: Chicago agrees with Pace, too
So much for fine-tuning.
On the day Chicago traded for Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler, the Bears also agreed to terms with seven-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Orlando Pace. It's expected that Pace will take over at left tackle and shift second-year player Chris Williams to the right side, but we should get more details on that from general manager Jerry Angelo later Thursday.
UPDATE (8 p.m. E.T.) Pace got a three-year deal worth $15 million, with approximately $6.1 million paid out in 2009.
Pace has missed 25 games over the past three seasons, and St. Louis released him earlier this month. The Bears signed free agent Kevin Shaffer last week, presumably to play right tackle, but at the very least Pace gives the Bears significantly more flexibility and depth at a position they targeted for upgrade this offseason.
As of this minute, here's what the Bears' starting offensive line might look like on the first day of training camp, with an asterisk (*) next to their three new starters:
Thursday's high-profile moves have certainly shaken up the NFC North. You've got to wonder what Minnesota and Green Bay, which have largely stood pat this offseason, are thinking right now. The Bears haven't done anything substantive to improve their defensive personnel, but maybe their offense can carry them to a division title in 2009.