It finally happened. The Chicago Bears are going to sign an offensive lineman. Per NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the Bears have agreed to a one-yea deal with offensive lineman Germain Ifedi, who spent his first four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. Ifedi was taken 31st overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Seahawks, and he has started 60 games in that time. Rapoport also noted that Ifedi, who has mostly played right tackle in Seattle, could wind up moving over to guard in Chicago.
The Bears are in need of offensive line help, particularly at right guard. The retirement of Kyle Long has left a void, and Long’s presence both on the field and in the locker room will be missed. The Bears are likely planning on testing Ifedi out at both tackle and guard to see where his best fit lies.
Germain Ifedi: Another Former First-Round Draft Pick
Ifedi is the fourth former first-round pick the Bears have signed this offseason. Chicago also signed edge rusher Robert Quinn, cornerback Artie Burns, and linebacker Barkevious Mingo over the last week alone, all of whom are former first-round draft picks. Burns, Mingo, and Ifedi in particular are considered to have failed to live up to the potential of their respective draft positions.
Ifedi has been a starter in Seattle over the last three seasons, and he started 13 games as a rookie in 2016. His durability is a strong suit, and his injury history carries no major red flags, but he hasn’t exactly lit the league on fire with his play.
Ifedi was the most penalized offensive player in the league in 2017, netting 17 penalties from the right tackle position. He had 10 flags thrown for his play in 2018, and 13 last season in 16 games. Whether or not a positional shift would provide him with any kind of fresh start is a big question mark, but after also losing Cornelius Lucas to the Washington Redskins in free agency, the Bears need offensive line depth.
Chicago’s offensive line could not get it going in 2019, regressing in a major way. The Bears did not score a first-half touchdown in 11 games this season, and they ranked 29th in the NFL in scoring, and 27th in rushing yards. Bears GM Ryan Pace vowed to reassess the o-lione this offseasson after admitting it was an area of weakness last year.
“We struggled in that area this year,” Pace said after the season ended. “That’s real, and I think we know it starts up front with those guys. That’s something we’ve got to look at. From a personnel standpoint, we’re going to look at it. From a schematic standpoint, we’re going to look at it. That was real this year. That hurt us.”
According to the Seattle Times, Ifedi “became something of a symbol for an offensive line that has … long been regarded as one of the team’s weaknesses.” Bears fans sure hope he can find redemption in Chicago, but his role there remains to be seen.