After another disappointing season, it’s clear the Bears have several holes on their roster that they’ll need to address over the offseason. With only Darnell Mooney under contract for 2022, the team will need several wideouts. Then there’s the question of who will play beside Jaylon Johnson as the team’s second outside cornerback, and who will cover the slot. The team will also have to decide what to do with the second inside linebacker spot next to Roquan Smith.
But Olin Kreutz’s top priority for helping the team improve over the offseason is a little off the beaten path, albeit not entirely surprising.
“I go out and get the best left tackle I can find on the market,” Kreutz said on NBC Sports Chicago’s “Football Aftershow” following the Bears victory over the Giants.
With a new left tackle coming into the building, the Bears would obviously have to shuffle around some players to fit him into the line. For Kreutz that means moving Teven Jenkins to right tackle and Larry Borom to right guard.
“Just figure it out from there,” Kreutz said on the “Football Aftershow.” “Maybe I re-sign James Daniels. If he doesn’t come back, I leave Mustipher (at center) with Cody Whitehair (at left guard) and that’s who I go with. But I’ve got to get my left tackle spot fixed for my franchise quarterback. I have to fix my offensive line for my franchise quarterback.”
That’s not to say Kreutz doesn’t believe Jenkins isn’t capable of playing left tackle. He just doesn’t know yet, and needs someone he can trust 100% at the position going into 2022.
“I’m tired of guessing at offensive line,” Kreutz said. “I need someone who I know can solidify the left tackle spot, and I know that Teven Jenkins, from all his film in college, I know he can play right tackle. From what I see from Borom this year, I just got a lot bigger moving him to right guard. With the money I spent on a left tackle, if I can’t re-sign James Daniels in free agency, I got a pretty damn good young center in Sam Mustipher. Now my line just got a lot bigger, and I got a guy who I know can play left tackle.”
The reason for Kreutz to invest in a top-tier tackle is the thought process for investing heavily in a new No. 1 wide receiver.
“If you have a young quarterback who you think is a franchise quarterback, you gotta give him a chance.”
The problem is, left tackles are so coveted in the NFL, that they rarely hit the open market. The Chiefs’ Orlando Brown and Saints’ Terron Armstead are each playing on the final years of their contracts, but it’s not a given either will hit the open market. Regardless, improving the position is so important to Kreutz that he said if the Bears do move on from Ryan Pace at GM, it should be a point of emphasis for them in the hiring process.
“If the guy coming in doesn’t tell you my No. 1 priority is fixing the offensive line, hang the phone up.”