Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Center transition on Bears' horizon
By Kevin Seifert
If nothing else, two relatively minor decisions this week serve as an important reminder that the Chicago Bears never replaced center Olin Kreutz after his final season with them in 2010.
Former guard Roberto Garza has done his best to make it work at the position, but most people would agree that guard is his best position. (Pro Football Focus has made him one of their lowest-ranked centers in each of the past two seasons). He is also 34 and entering the final year of his contract.
So it's worth noting, at least, that the Bears signed free agent center Taylor Boggs on Tuesday and are hosting California guard/center Brian Schwenke on a visit Wednesday. The Bears don't necessarily need to find a new center for 2013, but much like their short-term transition at middle linebacker from Brian Urlacher to D.J. Williams, it is time to construct a longer-term plan.
In this case, of course, the Bears have some flexibility. If they find in training camp that they have another starting-caliber center on the roster -- be it Boggs, a draft pick or another free agent -- Garza could conceivably move back to guard. The Bears signed free agent Matt Slauson presumably to replace the departed Lance Louis, but there is still one guard position without an obvious starter.
As we've discussed before, the best time to initiate a transition is before it's immediately necessary. It appears the Bears are looking to take that intermediary step now.