The Chicago Bears have needed to add depth to their offensive line all season, but now, with right tackle Germain Ifedi on the injured reserve list, the team is in dire straits.
Swing tackle Elijah Wilkinson will be filling in for Ifedi, but with the trade deadline approaching on November 2, the Bears have just over a week to make any moves. It wouldn’t hurt to bring someone in with experience who could compete with Wilkinson, but the pickings are slim.
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Cody Ford to the Bears?
In his October 21 column, Sobleski pitched Ford as someone the Bears could add now who may be able to immediately help an offensive line that currently leads the league in sacks allowed with 22.
Here’s why Sobleski thinks the Bears should pursue Ford via trade:
Cody Ford looked like an emerging building block for the Buffalo Bills, as he started 22 games in his first two seasons at both right tackle and guard. But the coaching staff effectively benched him this season with a preference to start third-round rookie Spencer Brown at right tackle with Daryl Williams moving inside to guard. In the Chicago Bears’ case, beggars can’t be choosers, and Ford previously showed he can be a key piece to a successful offense. Chicago’s tackle situation grows worse with each passing week, as right tackle Germain Ifedi landed on injured reserve last week. Ford can challenge Elijah Wilkinson to start at right tackle and possibly keep the job. If not, he can add competition to either guard spot.
After he struggled to start the 2021 season, the Bills benched Ford, moving Daryl Williams from right tackle to right guard, while rookie Spencer Brown filled the RT slot. Sobleski didn’t get into specifics when it comes to what the Bills might want in exchange for Ford, but it’s possible the Bears could get him for a very low draft pick (I’m thinking seventh round here, maybe sixth, as the Bears still have a 2022 sixth-rounder). Even that might be pushing it, though.
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Ford Has Had a Rough Start to His Career
The Bills drafted Ford in the second round out of Oklahoma in 2019. The 6-foot-3, 329-pound o-lineman played both guard and tackle his rookie season, starting 15 games for the Bills as a rookie. He played in just seven games last year, as a torn meniscus ended his 2020 campaign early.
He earned a 52.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus as a rookie in 2019, allowing seven sacks and 31 total pressures on 739 total snaps (684 snaps at right tackle, 55 snaps at right guard). He also had eight penalties his first year in the league.
Ford played 384 snaps his second season (257 at left guard, 127 at right guard), allowing 15 pressures and a QB hit. He cut his penalties down to three, but he only played in seven games.
He has played in all six games so far this season, starting three, but he hasn’t played well out of the gate, earning a 40.6 overall grade from PFF so far. He has allowed 17 pressures, three QB hits and a sack in 221 snaps this year, committing one penalty playing exclusively at right guard.
If yet another injury were to hit the team’s offensive line before November 2, this might be worth considering, but right now, the Bears don’t have much draft capital to spare, and they may be better served riding it out with the guys they already have.