LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) – The Bears were active in their search for an offensive tackle as the negotiation window opened earlier this week, but they came away without one in the first wave of free agency.
After the Bears backed out on the lucrative prices for Mike McGlinchey (Broncos) and Jawaan Taylor (Chiefs), the last premium offensive tackle available might have been the best one on the open market. That was four-time Pro Bowl selection Orlando Brown Jr., whom Bears general manager Ryan Poles watched closely in 2021 when he was working in the Chiefs’ front office.
Brown, 26, reached an agreement with the Bengals on Wednesday evening on a four-year deal worth up to $64 million, and the Bears were never seriously in play for his services despite their need at the position.
“The scheme match is a big deal there,” Poles said Thursday while declining to share further details of the decision to pass on a serious pursuit of Brown.
The Bears use an outsize-zone running scheme that needs athletic tackles who can get downfield to make blocks. McGlinchey and Taylor are considered stronger fits for that style of play than Brown, who’s more highly regarded for his abilities in pass protection.
Now, the Bears are expected to move forward with second-year left tackle Braxton Jones as their starter after he played every snap on offense in the 2022 season. However, there remains a void to fill at right tackle after Riley Reiff reached a deal with the Patriots.
After signing veteran guard Nate Davis to a three-year deal, the Bears intend to be flexible in assessing their offensive line. Cody Whitehair could shift back to center from left guard, Poles said. Lucas Patrick also remains a candidate to start at center, with Teven Jenkins likely to return in a starting role at guard.
“It's going to be competitive,” Poles said. “We've been in communication with a lot of them, and we're going to make that competition.”
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.
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