Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Source: Bears have talked with guards
By Michael Wright
For Chicago, losing the Alan Faneca sweepstakes isn't the crippling blow to bolstering the offensive line some might perceive.
Chicago likely wasn't all that interested.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported Tuesday that Faneca -- a six-time Pro Bowl selection -- agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million to join the Cardinals. In the days leading up to the signing, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo expressed interest in possibly acquiring Faneca.
But was it sincere?
As of early Monday evening, Faneca's representatives said they hadn't yet heard from the Bears. Angelo even said after the draft that offensive line coach Mike Tice was comfortable with the players on the current roster at the position.
So more than likely, the Bears -- who had already doled out more than $55 million guaranteed in free agency -- weren't willing to open the coffers any further for a player many personnel evaluators consider to be on the decline. Let's not forget that the club is currently shopping the secondary free-agency market, which means lower-tiered players fall more in line with what the Bears are pursuing.
According to league sources, the Bears have had discussions with former Saints guard Jamar Nesbit, in addition to contacting representatives for former Eagles guard Shawn Andrews to get a timetable on his status. Andrews underwent back surgeries in 2008 (microdiscectomy to repair the L4-5 disc) and 2009 (to repair the L5-S1) and is just beginning to incorporate running into workouts.
A three-time Pro Bowl pick, Andrews, 27, isn't expected to be ready for full workouts until June or July, according to sources. He's played in just two games over the past two years because of his back condition. Andrews' injury history coupled with personal issues (he's battled depression and some former teammates question his desire to play football) could drive down his asking price.
Whether the Bears would be willing to take a risk and wait for Andrews to return to full health remains in question.
Nesbit, meanwhile, appears to be more suited for a backup role, although he could possibly jump into the mix and wrest away a starting job from returners such as Josh Beekman, Lance Louis or Johan Asiata. At the very least, Nesbit would provide a versatile backup because of his ability to play multiple spots.
It's also likely the Bears have been in contact with Houston free agent Chester Pitts and possibly Seth McKinney of Buffalo. While Angelo made it clear the club likes the players it already has in place on the offensive line, the general manager also indicated a search for talent at the position is ongoing.
"We looked into Rob Sims; we looked into a couple other guys who didn't work out. So we'll continue to look," he said. [Offensive line] coach [Mike] Tice told me that -- if he's not said it publicly, he certainly told us in meetings -- that he's comfortable with our line. But again, we'll continue to look."
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com.