Here's How Michael Schofield's Arrival Upgrades the Offensive Line

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Here’s How Michael Schofield’s Arrival Upgrades the Offensive Line

Chicago Bears

Few teams underwent an offseason overhaul like the Chicago Bears. Sure, the biggest moves came with hiring a new general manager and head coach. But the Bears turned over their roster and brought in waves of new players. And by doing so, the team has created a dozen or so worthwhile camp competitions. We began profiling the most high-profile additions during free agency and after the NFL Draft. With NFL training camp opening, what better time to get to know some more new Bears?

Draft Picks: CB Kyler Gordon (Round 2, Pick 39), S Jaquan Brisker (Round 2, Pick 48), WR Velus Jones Jr. (Round 3, Pick 71), OL Braxton Jones (Round 5, Pick 168), DE Dominique Robinson (Round 5, Pick 174), OL Zachary Thomas (Round 6, Pick 186), RB Trestan Ebner (Round 6, Pick 203)

Free Agents: WR Byron Pringle, OL Lucas Patrick

Trades: WR N’Keal Harry

Michael Schofield

Signed by the Bears as a free agent

  • Position: Right guard, right tackle
  • College: Michigan
  • Previous teams: Denver Broncos (2015-16), Los Angeles Chargers (2017-19, 2021), Carolina Panthers (2020)
  • Height, weight: 6-6, 310 pounds
  • Accomplishments: Made three starts at right tackle as a 25-year-old rookie on the Broncos’ 2015 Super Bowl winner. Second-team All-Big Ten (2013).

Performance

  • 2021 stats: 15 games, 12 starts for the Chargers
  • Career stats: 102 games, 81 starts
  • PFF grades: 66.8 (2021), 50.3 (2020), 63.6 (2019), 64.1 (2018), 57.0 (2017), 72.0 (2016), 62.4 (2015)

Pulling offensive line stats is an inexact science, but I love these two factoids:

Highlights

The Fit

With a sizable hole at right guard, Schofield could easily slide into the RG1 spot upon arrival. Maybe the Bears will put up a show and call for a camp competition. And perhaps an open competition featuring Schofield, Zachary Taylor, and a number of others could still take place at Halas Hall. After all, a rebuilding team should want a true competition to reveal the best option at the position. But Schofield was a primary starter at right guard in 2016 (Broncos), as well as 2018 and 2019 (Chargers). In other words, let’s not overthink the fit. OK?

However, we shouldn’t rule out a scenario where Schofield *ISN’T* a starter. It is possible that his best role could be as a swing lineman who can fill in at tackle and guard in a pinch. It isn’t the sexiest role on the 53-player roster, but it has its moments where it is quite important. It would be unwise to overlook the value of versatility and experience.

The Final Word

Signing Schofield is something the Bears should’ve been looking at for a while. After missing out on opportunities to make splashes in free agency and the NFL Draft, the right move would’ve been to build depth and create competition. And for what it’s worth, this is what the Bears have done to this point. Schofield joins a collection of offensive linemen who are mostly young and unproven. Being a player with experience could give him a leg up in any camp competition for a starting role. However, GM Ryan Poles has been beating the drum that the best five linemen will start — no matter the position. How that shakes out remains to be seen. But at least adding a suitable blocker up front figures to solidify the interior, which could be beneficial in helping out on the edges in other ways.

Bears fans won’t be saving newspaper clippings of the Schofield signing for commemorative safe-keeping. And the signing isnt some turning point moment in Chicago’s rebuild. However, adding quality depth and a proven starter represents an upgrade from what this team was ready to roll with as camp began. It might not seem like much, but incremental improvements are improvements nonetheless.



Author: Luis Medina

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