Even with improved play down the stretch, the Chicago Bears offensive line is still in need of an upgrade.
Fortunately, we’ve already discussed how an unusually robust waiver wire (numerous cost-saving cuts are expected throughout the league) could provide a solution. And one such lineman has since become available. Anyone interested in former Packers offensive lineman Rick Wagner?
Well, perhaps the Bears should be. That is to say, maybe they should be again – Chicago was previously interested in Wagner when he became a free agent in 2017. He was just leaving the Ravens at the time, and profiled as someone with continued growth in his future. But the stars failed to align, and it was the Lions who snatched him off the market.
Eventually, the disappointment subsided, and instead of cutting Bobby Massie for cap savings and signing Wagner, Massie put up two solid years of production (2017, 2018). As for Wagner, his time with Detroit wasn’t memorable, and he eventually landed in Green Bay. Wagner was solid in his reserve role with the Packers last season, making nine starts and filling in well on a banged up line. But while his efforts were sufficient, cutting Wagner (and linebacker Christian Kirksey) created $10 million in cap space for the Packers. And so they did it.
And since time is a flat circle, I’m wondering if the Bears should move on from Massie, create cap space, and pursue Wagner in free agency. Go figure.
Wagner is an unconventional, yet sensible, fit for the Bears. But only if they allow themselves to be creative.
Wagner makes sense as a short-term bridge starter at right tackle if the team (1) decides to cut ties with Bobby Massie and (2) can sign Wagner at a bargain rate. From there, Wagner might function best as someone who holds down a spot while a draft pick to be named later gets up to speed. The Bears did this with James Daniels, using Eric Kush as an early season place-holder. All things considered, they could stand to do it again.