The Chicago Bears are gearing up for the 2022 NFL season, which features plenty of new and returning faces within the organization. There are a number of players, coaches and front office members that are crucial to the team’s success this season.
Every day from now until the start of training camp, we’re counting down our 30 most important Bears for the 2022 season. We’ll recap their 2021 season, look ahead to 2022 and tackle the biggest question facing them this year.
Next up at No. 10 is center Lucas Patrick, who might just be one of Chicago’s most important offseason additions.
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Experience: 6th season
2022 cap hit: $2.62 million
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Patrick joined the Packers in 2016 as an undrafted free agent, where he didn’t see much action in his first three seasons. But he’s since developed into Green Bay’s starting right guard since the 2020 season with experience playing all three interior positions. During the 2021 season, he played both right guard and center.
When first-round center Josh Myers went down with an injury, Lucas was kicked inside to center. He made 11 of his 13 starts at center, and he earned effusive praise from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Patrick kept the penalties to a minimum as he was called for two holding calls and two false starts, including one that was declined. He proved his versatility, which made him
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Patrick was an easy choice for GM Ryan Poles, as his versatility and experience in Luke Getsy’s offense make him an asset. He signed a two-year deal worth $8 million. Patrick came to the Bears with the possibility of playing either right guard or center. But it didn’t take long for Patrick to confirm that he’d be the team’s new center, replacing Sam Mustipher, who had a bit of a rough time last year. Patrick played center most of last season with the Packers, and he brings with him a knowledge of Getsy’s offense that should help make the transition for this offense as seamless as possible.
Right now, the offensive line has more questions than answers. That includes what the starting lineup will look like. But Patrick and Cody Whitehair’s roles — center and left guard, respectively — are the only two that appear to be locked in at this point. The Bears have a number of players with experience playing multiple positions, including Patrick who could also fill a potential hole at right guard should the situation call for it. But the plan is for Patrick to be someone quarterback Justin Fields can trust.
Big question: Will Patrick play center for the entire season?
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Keeping with the theme of questions along the offensive line, there’s still a gaping hole at the right guard position. It’s a spot that could be filled by Mustipher or perhaps even Teven Jenkins or Larry Borom depending on how things shake out. Matt Eberflus expressed that they’re exploring all possible combinations, although it’s safe to assume Patrick and Whitehair are safe at their respective center and left guard positions.
Still, life comes at you fast in the NFL, and there have been plenty of situations where there’s been some shuffling along offensive lines. Patrick has experience playing three different positions along the offensive line — including both guard spots and center — so there could be a scenario where he makes the move. After all, there are others on the roster with experience at center. But you figure the goal is to keep Patrick at center to maintain consistency between him and Fields.
30 Most Important Bears of 2022
We’re counting down our 30 Most Important Bears of 2022. Check back every day leading up to the start of training camp.
10. OL Lucas Patrick
9. COMING 7/18
8. COMING 7/19
7. COMING 7/20
6. COMING 7/21
5. COMING 7/22
4. COMING 7/23
3. COMING 7/24
2. COMING 7/25
1. COMING 7/26