Pace was busy releasing a Pro Bowl player while adding another. And he created more depth for the Bears in the process. With the tinkering underway, it is difficult to see the Bears’ team going into Week 1 being the final product.
At the beginning of Sunday, it was announced by CBS Chicago that the Bears added three players. The Bears were awarded waiver claims on offensive lineman Eric Kush and cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc. They also agreed to terms with tight end Logan Paulsen.
Several corresponding roster moves would follow, including the Bears waiving Demontre Hurst, Cornelius Edison, and Khari Lee. In a surprising move, the Bears announced on their team website that they also sent packing (via Chicagobears.com) veteran kicker Robbie Gould.
The biggest move the Bears made was signing Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton to a three-year deal (courtesy of CSN Chicago). The deal is worth $21.75 million, with $10 million in guaranteed money. Sitton made the Pro Bowl three times with the Green Bay Packers. The Packers decision to cut him caught many people off guard.
Just by adding Sitton, the Bears are improved, but some of those improvements will be subtle, while others fans will see immediately.
The Josh Sitton signing gives the Bears a strong offensive line. Wherever he lines up at, left guard, right, or center, opposing defenses will have their hands full trying to get their hands on Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler. As long as Sitton and the rest of the Bears’ offensive line can stay healthy Cutler will be upright, with time to throw.
Overall chemistry is important for the Bears’ O-line, and only two members of last season’s starting unit remain. Charles Leno returns at left tackle, while Kyle Long returns to right guard. Josh Sitton will play next to Leno at guard. Bobby Massie starts at right tackle for his first season with the Bears. Cody Whitehair and Ted Larson will battle to be the Bears’ starter at center.
It will take a few practices for the guy to get on the same page. Once they act and play in unison, this could possibly become the best offensive line Jay Cutler has had in his Bears tenure. When Cutler has time to throw, he has proven to be effective. But it starts with the line, and the domino effect of the Josh Sitton signing is key for the Bears.
Cutler getting time to throw is one thing, running backs getting holes to run through is another.
The Bears want to be a run-first offense. And instead of relying on Matt Forte as they did last season, it will be running back by committee for the Bears.
The Bears got a great run-blocker with the Josh Sitton signing. Sitton is strong at the first level and has the stamina to get creases to open up for the running backs to get to the second level. Sitton, along with Leno, should be able to allow the Bears’ running back trio of Jeremy Langford, Ka’Deem Carey, and Jordan Howard to take advantage on the left side.
The Bears can go pure smash-mouth by throwing in a fullback or a tight end to help with the blocking. The Josh Sitton signing basically means that the Bears want to punch teams in the gut and wear them down.
The Bears knew what they were getting in Josh Sitton. GM Ryan Pace: "Obviously, we wouldn't have signed him if there were major concerns."— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) September 5, 2016
Because Sitton just recently played for the Packers, he will have some intimate knowledge of what they like to do. This will help the Bears tremendously. It cannot be overstated how important it is for the Bears to have insight on what the Packers like to do. That goes for offense and defense.
This is where the subtleties come in at for the Bears.
Recognition of certain play-calls and audibles goes a long way in deciding a football game. Sure, the Bears still have to execute, but knowing what the opposition is going to do is invaluable.
Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace was busy at Halas Hall on Sunday. His most significant move of the day was the Josh Sitton signing. It has the potential to be a huge payoff for the Chicago Bears going forward.
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