When looking at the Bears’ needs heading into free agency, the offensive line was near the top of the list. And with a number of big-name tackles on the open market, the expectation was Chicago would lock up one of them.
One of the biggest tackles on the free-agent market was Orlando Brown Jr., who was available for three days before the Bengals finally inked him to a four-year, $64.092 million deal, which was certainly affordable.
So why didn’t the Bears make a run at Brown?
When listening to Bears general manager Ryan Poles’ Thursday press conference, it was overwhelmingly clear that schematic fit was a focal point for the team in free agency.
And Brown isn’t a schematic fit for what Chicago does up front, which requires a lineman to be athletic in the outside zone scheme.
“The scheme match is a big deal,” Poles said.
There’s still a lot of work to be done on the offensive line, both in free agency and the NFL draft. Right now, Braxton Jones remains the starting left tackle. Poles said Jones is working out and getting stronger. Still, no starting job is set in stone.
“If we could create competition and move guys around to see what the best five is, that’s what we will do,” Poles said.