Two free agent options for Bears offensive line
Jay Biggerstaff - USA Today Sports

Two free agent options for Bears offensive line

by - Senior Writer -

It's hard to believe that in less than two months, NFL training camps will be underway as the official start of the new season will be underway. That will be followed by the preseason and then the start of one of the most anticipated Bears seasons in quite some time. For the next six-plus weeks, the Bears will continue going about their business as they prep for what is to come leading up to training camp.

Part of that business is to continue rounding out their roster for what most call the second and third waves of Free Agency. For the most part, Ryan Poles has done a great job addressing this team's needs, but some areas could use more pieces. Adding another pass rusher is at the top of everyone's list, but for some reason, Poles doesn't see it like that, as he seems to believe the team has enough help with the current pieces they have.

Another area that could use more pieces is the offensive line, which seems to be discussed every season. To the Bears credit, their offensive line is vastly improved from where it was two seasons ago, but they still need more depth across the line should key pieces go down. That can't happen if you want Caleb Williams to make it in this league, and with two excellent free agents still on the market, the Bears should look to make a run at one, if not both, of them.

The first name that comes to mind is former Kansas City Chief and Superbowl Champion Donovan Smith.

Although Braxton Jones is slated to be the left tackle, Smith is a free-agent option that would not only change that scenario but also push Jones to a backup role, further helping the overall depth of the offensive line.

The long-time veteran is not only a Superbowl champion with the Chiefs, but he played eight seasons with Tampa Bay prior to that and took home a Superbowl with them also. He is the definition of a reliable and affordable option that could be had on a short-term deal. The 31-year-old Smith is coming off a season where he played on a one-year deal worth three million.

That came after signing a 31 million-dollar deal with the Bucs, and his early free agent projections have him signing a contract around 5.2 million per season, whether that be one or two years. Chicago can afford to make that deal, and making it would upgrade the tackle position in a big way.

Another name that seems more plausible at this point would be the addition of G Dalton Risner, who remains a free agent.

Regarded as the best remaining guard on the free agent market, Risner is coming off a season with the Minnesota Vikings, during which he played on a one-year, seven-million dollar deal and looked great.

While there are talks about the Vikings trying to bring him back, that doesn't appear to be the case right now, as he could be one of the most sought-after Wave 2 pieces. Even with the Bears adding more offensive line depth this offseason and showing vast improvement across the board last season, there are some depth question marks on that side of the ball. Chicago will be looking to address those questions with veteran pickups.

Risner is the definition of that, as the soon-to-be sixth-year pro has been a reliable starter his first five years in the league with both the Broncos and Vikings. In his career, Risner has started 75 games across his five seasons, which averages out to 15 starts per season. Not only is he reliable, but he is also very durable, which is something every team could use.

Risner doesn't miss games due to injury unless it's serious, as he has only missed four games in his career. The former Kansas State star was in a similar spot last season, signing with the Vikings only in week three before landing in the starting lineup and remaining there the rest of the season.

This is a run-first guard who is also very good at pass blocking, and when you look at that Shane Waldron system, he seems like a perfect fit. Regardless of what the Bears do from here on out, don't put it past Poles to continue adding more pieces, as plenty of talented players remain on the open market and could be had for cheap deals.

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