Olin Kruetz to the Hall-of-Fame? And Other Bullets

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Olin Kruetz to the Hall-of-Fame? And Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

Turning off all notifications after 11:01 p.m. has made it easier for me to get a good night of sleep, but it’s also led me to miss some worthwhile messages I wish I was awake for when they were originally sent. At least it provides something fun to wake up to in the morning.

  • Good offensive line play is tough to quantify – indeed, it’s more of a you know it when you see it type thing, in my opinion. That said, Hall of Fame caliber line play is even more difficult to grasp, which is partially why that position group is under-represented in Canton. With that in mind, The Athletic’s Dan Pompei lays out a strong case for Olin Kreutz’s eventual induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

  • Kreutz was a six-time Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro center in 2006. From 2001-2010, he missed just one game. Kreutz was equal parts dependable, reliable, and excellent, as well as a leader on the field and in the locker room. Centers don’t often get the credit they deserve for their roles in the offense, but isn’t that due to change sooner rather than later?
  • Bears fans should count their blessings when it comes to center play because they have had some good ones throughout the years. Between Kreutz and Cody Whitehair, my generation of Bears fans is well covered with rock-solid production from the middle of the offensive line.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • Moving back into the present, you’ll find that the NFL Scouting Combine is wrapping up today. The Bears don’t have many pressing needs, but they have some areas that need to be addressed correctly in order to build off a successful 2018 season. One of the positions that might fly under the radar is the tight end spot, which is crowded at the top but could certainly use some quality in depth. The folks at NBC Sports Chicago offered up some possible late-round options for the Bears:

  • As we have learned with Adam Shaheen, tight end development isn’t linear and it’s among the most challenging positions to get right in the draft. Between route trees and blocking concepts, there is a lot on a rookie’s plate. It’s why that position tends to be a roll of dice when drafting prospects who aren’t sure-fire first-round picks. Tight end depth in this draft might be better than originally projected, which could be good news for the Bears as they seek to round out their group this offseason.
  • Finding the right tight end for the mix is difficult, but it might not be the hardest thing the Bears do this offseason. Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox shares what he believes is each NFL’s team toughest contract decision, highlighting Jordan Howard’s future as the most difficult call the Bears have to make. While rumors about Chicago shopping Howard surfaced last week, there hasn’t been much additional traction on that front. Dealing Howard could open up $2 million in salary cap space, but it would also turn running back from a position of strength to one of need. That would be counter-productive for a team in its competitive window.
  • If you really want to go down a rabbit hole, think of it this way: the Bears could trade Howard for a draft pick and salary cap space now or ride it out with him in 2019, let him walk away in free agency next year, then set themselves up to scoop up a compensatory draft pick in 2020. That’s not a rabbit hole I want to dive down at this time, but if the Bears can figure to get a better pick in 2020 than they would in 2019 and squeeze out one more productive year from Howard, then it’s a win-win all around.
  • But if you ask me, the team’s most difficult offseason decision has to do with finding a kicker worth handing a free agent contract to in order to solidify the weakest spot on the roster. Perhaps AAF standout Younghoe Koo is worth a dice roll moving forward:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.