Bears Urged to Sign ‘Top-3’ Talent This Offseason to Help Justin Fields

Terron Armstead

Getty Terron Armstead of the New Orleans Saints will be an UDFA this year.

It’s no secret the Chicago Bears need to improve their offensive line this coming offseason.

Chicago’s o-line has given up 51 sacks through the first 16 games, which is second-most in the NFL, and with the development of franchise quarterback Justin Fields the team’s top priority, shoring up their offensive line should be a primary goal before next season rolls around.

Terron Armstead was drafted in the third round (75th overall) by the New Orleans Saints in 2013. At the end of his five-year, $65 million contract with New Orleans, he’s set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report thinks signing the veteran tackle would be a good way for the Bears to address one of their biggest needs, and he makes some good points as to why.

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Armstead Would Give Bears Solid Veteran Presence on the Line

“The Chicago Bears are ready to implode with a regime reset,” Sobleski wrote on January 6. “Whoever takes over for ill-fated head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace will do so knowing their primary job is to build around quarterback Justin Fields and make life much easier on this year’s 11th overall draft pick. Proper protection will be a good starting point.”

Armstead is set to have offseason knee surgery. It isn’t as serious as a torn ACL, but it has been a nagging issue that has bothered him all year. He chose to wait to have the surgery until the season ended, “with the hopes of helping the team down the stretch instead of getting it now and preparing for free agency,” according to by Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football.

Armstead has played 467 snaps at left tackle this season, allowing 12 pressures, one sack and two QB hits while accumulating three penalties. Even injured, he has been performing better than just about everyone on the Bears’ o-line this year, and he recovered ahead of time from surgery he had after a torn labrum in 2017, so his track record coming back from injury is good.

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Bears Shouldn’t Overpay for Armstead

Armstead is from Cahokia, Illinois, and Sobleski thinks a homecoming would be fitting for both the veteran o-lineman and the Bears:

“When healthy, Terron Armstead is a top-three left tackle,” Sobleski reasoned. “His movement skills are second to none. The 30-year-old blindside protector has dealt with elbow and knee injuries this season. The latter requires offseason surgery, per New Orleans Football’s Nick Underhill. But those aren’t a reason for a franchise to pass on Armstead if it’s truly committed to improving its front five. The Bears can sign the Illinois native, move Teven Jenkins back to his more natural position on the right side and upgrade both tackle spots. Fields would be the happiest guy in the NFL if that were to happen.”

Adding an OL of Armstead’s caliber would be a definite plus for the Bears, and moving Jenkins back to right tackle, where he played in college, would be a great way of making the line better at both tackle spots. But Chicago can’t afford to overpay for his services.

The Bears are set to have $42,732,801 in cap space next season, per Spotrac, so if they go after him, they have to offer a respectable-yet-appropriate contract for an aging tackle (he turns 31 in July) coming off knee surgery. PFF has Armstead projected to sign a three-year, $61.5 million ($20.5M per year) deal with $45 million total guaranteed. That may be too steep, particularly considering the Bears also have glaring needs at wideout and cornerback. If he’ll take less guaranteed money than that, though, and sign a deal laden with incentives, the Bears should definitely try to bring Armstead on for a few years.

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