The Chicago Bears didn’t have the offseason of the year based on the reaction of most experts. That isn’t a surprise. GM Ryan Poles had six draft picks and little spending money when he took over. He knew he had to stretch his resources as far as he could. To end up with 11 total picks and not breaking the bank in the process is a win. It’s unclear if his efforts improved the team, especially after losing core members like Khalil Mack, Allen Robinson, James Daniels, and Akeem Hicks.
Pole isn’t perturbed by that. It’s not like the team was any good with those guys. Why continue paying them big money if they weren’t going to help you win games? A logical stance, if nothing else. Yet it still leaves the team with several unanswered questions. Nowhere is more so than the offensive line. Three of the five starting spots aren’t locked down yet, leaving Justin Fields’ protection in a state of uncertainty. That is why experts continue to implore the Bears to add more veteran help. Field Yates of ESPN brought up one name that hasn’t been discussed much.
“General manager Ryan Poles has padded his roster at both wide receivers and offensive line through free agency and the draft — though each position remains a long-term need going forward. I’m focusing on the offensive line here, as there are still a handful of veteran names left on the free-agent board who still have starting potential in them (Duane Brown, Eric Fisher, Riley Reiff among those names). Justin Fields’ rookie season was upended by poor line play, injury and an odd approach to the quarterback competition from the start. I’m confident a major leap is in store for 2022.”
Riley Reiff with a thunderous pancake pic.twitter.com/HSaTpmSmsc
— Mike (@bengals_sans) November 8, 2021
— Sean Borman (@SeanBormanNFL) September 8, 2019
Chicago Bears likely won’t get what they need from Reiff.
At one point, the former 1st round pick was a good player. Arguably one of the two or three best tackles in the NFC North. He played both for the Detroit Lions and then the Minnesota Vikings. His experience with the latter is significant because he played under offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. Kubiak ran a wide-zone offense similar to what Luke Getsy plans to install with the Bears. Reiff played well in it.
In terms of experience, nobody would top him on this roster. The problem is he’s 33 years old and comes off one of the worst years in pass protection he’s ever had. Knowing how much gas he has left in the tank is hard. That said, he’s not known for committing many penalties and is still a solid run blocker. If the Bears are committed to the ground game as many expect, then he might be a reliable one-year option if they don’t like their alternatives at tackle.
Considering his age, it doesn’t feel likely Poles will go for that. He wants a younger roster. A team can’t develop guys if they’re trying to plug voids with older vets.