Within the span of just a couple of days the Bears effectively scrambled their offensive line, with the possible effect that only one position of the five is set in stone.
And it is not necessarily Kyle Long at right guard. More on that in a moment.
The moves, headlined by bringing in Manny Ramirez from the Detroit Lions and Ted Larsen from the Arizona Cardinals, both guard/center options, were not without a broader plan. A couple of plans, actually.
The attention paid to the offensive line is a clear statement that the Bears intend to run the football, and insiders say it will be even more under new coordinator Dowell Loggains than the nearly 47 percent that the Bears run under Adam Gase last season.
The moves create the most competitive climate in recent memory. And that points to the possibilities of sweeping additional changes as the offseason plays out.
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Bobby Massie was signed away from the Cardinals to play right tackle. His right now appears to be the only reasonably assured position in place. The Bears had four years of tape on Massie, including games in 2012 and 2015 that he started against them, to know exactly what they were getting.
Beyond that, and in keeping with the mantra that the best five linemen will start, little else is a given.
The Bears were delighted by the development of Charles Leno at left tackle. But “good for a seventh-round pick” is not good enough, and Leno did not play his way out of competition and into job security.
Meaning: If Larsen and Ramirez, both veterans signed for now rather as futures, are better than Hroniss Grasu at center or Matt Slauson at left guard, those positions will turn over.
And with those interior positions upgraded, a franchise question then becomes Long, who played well enough to merit Pro Bowl-alternate status after a bumpy transition to right tackle. Long is temperamentally and physically suited for guard, but if he is a better left tackle than Leno, with interior spots secure, absolutely nothing should rule out Long shooting for Pro Bowl status at a third different position in four NFL seasons.
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The question for Bears coaches is how soon to make that decision, because being forced to make the switch from guard to tackle one week before the opener vs. the Green Bay Packers did no one any good.
Having Kevin White on the outside as a field-stretcher projects as a huge asset to the run game. For the Bears, having seven operational offensive linemen competing for jobs, and all but Leno and possibly Grasu established as able to play more than one spot at the NFL level, the offseason just became exponentially more interesting.
And this is before the draft, which is expected to net the Bears at least one more candidate for the offensive line.