Kevin Jones said all along he wanted to return to the Bears and, you know what, he wasn’t blowing smoke in an attempt to grab a sweeter deal elsewhere. Let’s jump into the last Q&A for the week.
Q: Finally Jerry Angelo has made a second move in free agency and brought back running back Kevin Jones. At this pace, he’ll have the team’s holes filled by the middle of summer. Tell me I don’t have to wait another week for his next move. Please.
Trent H., Missouri
A: Sorry, I ‘m not going to make any promises I can’t deliver on. But I would imagine–no one from either side has discussed this with me–that the Bears desire to have offensive lineman John St. Clair signed by this time next week. Will it happen? Who knows. Oakland will reportedly sign Khalif Barnes, taking another tackle off the market. Marvel Smith has been in contract talks with Baltimore. Pretty soon St. Clair will be one of the few linemen remaining on the market with tangible experience, especially as a starting tackle. The market is beginning to settle and it ought to make it easier for St. Clair to get a gauge on his value.
The Bears want St. Clair back and most importantly, he wants to return as well. It’s a matter of making the money fit for a player who will be 32 next season. If the club follows the stated goal of general manager Jerry Angelo to work newly signed lineman Frank Omiyale at guard first, then Cody Balogh figures to be the starting right tackle when minicamp cranks up March 16. That’s the motivation to get a deal done. The Bears make sense for St. Clair too. Even if the team uses a first- or second-round pick on a tackle, he’s got an excellent opportunity to start this season. I’m not sure that’s a situation he can find anywhere else right now. It’s believed one team is showing serious interest in him, but we haven’t caught wind of any visits. There’s too much here that makes it a fit to think it will not happen. It might just require a little more patience.
Q: People talk about Josh Beekman and Roberto Garza as being small at 6-2, 310 pounds, yet the Bears brought in a tackle that’s 6-4, 310, Chris Williams is 6-6, 312. The top three tackles in the draft are under 310 pounds. So my question is why do people talk about Beekman and Garza being too small?
Duane, Parts Unknown
A: That’s a good question. The Bears are looking to, if possible, add a little more size to their line. I think you hear more about Beekman being undersized than Garza, who has a powerful base. Beekman was listed at 6-1, 321 as a senior by Boston College. Did he grow an inch before turning professional? There’s no question center Olin Kreutz is one of the smaller pivot men in the league. Putting a little more size around him would make sense. The 6-4, 310-pound lineman you refer to is Frank Omiyale, who the Bears are going to work at guard first, or that’s the plan they say. I’d say Williams’ frame is in line with what you see from a lot of left tackles.
Let’s look at the listed sizes of the Pro Bowl guards from this past season, all according to NFL.com:
Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota, 6-5, 313
Leonard Davis, Dallas, 6-6, 353
Chris Snee, N.Y. Giants, 6-3, 317
Davin Joseph, Tampa Bay, 6-3, 313
Alan Faneca, N.Y. Jets, 6-5, 307
Kris Dielman, San Diego, 6-4, 310
Brian Waters, Kansas City, 6-3, 320
For reference, here are the listed sizes of some of the top offensive tackle prospects, all from nfldraftscout.com:
Andre Smith, Alabama, 6-4, 332
Jason Smith, Baylor, 6-5, 309
Eugene Monroe, Virginia, 6-5, 309
Michael Oher., Ole Miss, 6-5, 3-0
Eben Britton, Arizona, 6-6, 309
Do the Bears need a bigger line? That probably depends who you talk to about this. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to try to add some bulk up front. Beekman started 16 games in his second season in the league and by all accounts the coaching staff was pleased with his effort. Ultimately, it’s possible he’s groomed to be the replacement for Kreutz. Let’s keep in mind for all the success Matt Forte enjoyed as a rookie, the team that gets off the bus running was 24th in the league running the ball. The backs are going to be the same this year after Jones was re-signed. There is certainly room for improvement somewhere.
Q: The Bears need help at safety. What about Roy Williams now that he has been a salary-cap casualty of the Dallas Cowboys. I see what is being written is that he could not help against the pass but is that true?
David H., Chicago
A: The Bears are in need of a free safety and the simple fact is there really hasn’t been an attractive one on the market unless you wanted to roll with 35-year-old Brian Dawkins. Jermaine Phillips re-signed in Tampa. He’s considered a strong safety. Sean Jones went to Philadelphia. He’s a strong safety. There have been plenty of other examples. Nearly all of them were strong safeties. Eugene Wilson was one interesting option but he re-signed in Houston before the Bears could even consider him in free agency.
What you’ve read about Williams is true. He’s a strong safety or maybe an outside linebacker. Let’s just say Williams would have a hard time covering a twin bed with a king-sized sheet.
Q: Is there a chance Terrell Owens goes to the Vikings? He would seem to fit since they were after T.J. Houshmandzadeh in free agency. If he does land there can we start calling them the Drama Queens instead of the Vikings? This would also pretty much ensure the Bears of making the playoffs. I don’t know about anyone else but I am all for Team Obliterator being made a Viking.
Creighton, Parts Unknown
A: I hate to burst your bubble or ruin your dream–and I’ve been accused of doing much worse on here–but that one isn’t going to happen. Minnesota coach Brad Childress was the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia when Owens proved that there’s no such thing as brotherly love in that town. Minnesota’s personnel boss Rick Spielman was asked about Owens on Friday.
“You never say never but you can put the pieces together and [Owens’] history with coach Childress,” Spielman said.
Owens’ agent Drew Rosenhaus is confident he’ll have a deal in place for his client by this time next week.
Thanks for all of the participation and thanks as always for reading. Get your questions in and we’ll return to the mailbox on Monday.