NFL rumors are swirling around Manny Ramirez. Now that Kelechi Osemele and the top offensive lineman in the National Football League have been signed, second tier guys like Ramirez are starting to choose their new homes. According to NBC Sports, the Chicago Bears are signing Ramirez soon. The 33-year-old is expected to provide some competition for the currently scheduled starters. If he does not win one of the interior offensive line spots, then Ramirez will provide much-needed depth.
Much like other businesses, in the NFL, who you know is just as important as what you know. Manny Ramirez played four seasons with the Denver Broncos, the team that previously had John Fox as the head coach before he decided to sign with the Chicago Bears. Dave Magazu followed Fox from the Broncos to the Bears. He knows Ramirez really well, because he was the offensive line coach when Manny played in Denver.
Last season, the Chicago Bears spent a third-round draft pick on Hroniss Grasu. Management was hoping that the former Oregon Ducks star would become their center for the next several years. Injuries forced him into the starting lineup well before the coach staff had planned. Grasu held his own pretty well. The Bears decided to bring in someone like Manny Ramirez to challenge Grasu. If Hroniss wins the battle, then Chicago wants Ramirez to be a mentor to the 24-year-old.
At six-foot-three, 300 pounds, Hroniss Grasu has tremendous size on paper. Unfortunately for the Chicago Bears, though, the young center needs to improve his technique so that he can utilize that size better. Grasu struggled when he was matched up against bigger and stronger defensive tackles. NFL teams that utilized the 3-4 defense were able to gain an advantage over the Bears, because their gigantic nose tackles were able to get through Grasu.
One of the more appealing things about signing Manny Ramirez is the fact that he’s so experienced and so versatile. The former Texas Tech Red Raiders star has a couple of seasons of experience as a starter for the Denver Broncos. He also started seven games for the Detroit Lions last year. Although he was eventually replaced as a starter, Ramirez did get on the field in every single regular season game for the Lions, playing center and guard whenever needed.
John Fox is one of those NFL coaches that commands loyalty from players. It comes as no surprise that he was able to convince Manny Ramirez to sign with the Chicago Bears in free agency. The six-foot-three, 325-pound offensive lineman enjoyed his time with Fox, so he was very receptive to the idea of a reunion. The same goes for Danny Trevathan, the inside linebacker who left the Denver Broncos for the Bears earlier this year.
The Detroit Lions were able to let Manny Ramirez leave via free agency because they added Geoff Schwartz from the New York Giants. The six-foot-six, 340-pound offensive lineman gives the Lions some versatility and someone that could potentially be a starter. Schwartz is capable of playing guard and offensive tackle. There are even those who believe that he could potentially challenge for the starting center position.
Signing Manny Ramirez isn’t going to shift the balance of power in the NFL. He might not even get on the field if Hroniss Grasu steps it up over the summer and locks down the starting center position for the Chicago Bears. However, the signing of Ramirez is one of those low-key ones that executives in the National Football League love to make because it provides them with options whenever inevitable injuries take place along the offensive line.
[Photo by Larry French/Getty Images]