Monday, August 8, 2022

Bears bring Super Bowl winners to tryouts with local connections

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After a year of losing free agents offensive lineman Dakota Dozier to an ACL tear, the Chicago Bears are bringing in a seasoned veteran O lineman for a tryout.

According to the NFL’s July 24 waiver, the Bears welcomed former Los Angeles Chargers starter Michael Schofield. Schofield, a seven-year NFL veteran, played in 15 games for the Chargers last season and started in 12. He received a 75.2 pass blocking grade from Pro Football Focus, which translates to 24 total presses, four QB hits and allowed two sacks in 907 offensive snaps.

Schofield played 897 snaps at right in 2021, and with Chicago’s current troubles at that position, he’d likely put himself there should the team sign him. While Schofield has primarily played at RG, he has also logged 1,359 snaps at right tackle, 140 at left guard, and 102 at left tackle. So he would be a versatile presence if first-year general manager Ryan Poles decides to sign him.

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Schofield has played 102 games over his career and started 81. Schofield was a 2014 third-round draft pick for the Denver Broncos (95th overall) from Michigan and was a starter on Denver’s Super Bowl-winning team in 2016. He spent three years with the Chargers after winning Super Bowl 50 from 2017 to 2019, and he landed in Carolina in 2020 for a single season with the Panthers.

The 31-year-old veteran O-lineman returned to the Chargers for a second stint last year and would be a great pick for a Bears team in dire need of help protecting QB Justin Fields. He is both dependable and an accomplished vet on the line. Schofield had three flags thrown his way in 2021 and has not had more than three penalties awarded to him in a single season since 2017.

Also due to injury he has no big red flags. Aside from being on the COVID-19/reserve list in 2020, Schofield has remained healthy and ready to play – which is exactly what the Bears need right now.

Schofield also has local connections. He was born in Orland Park, Illinois, so going to the Windy City would be something of a homecoming for him.

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Schofield would likely compete against Sam Mustipher for the right-back starting spot, but with the questions Chicago currently has at O-line, it’s possible he would line up elsewhere as well.

Mustipher played over 1,000 snaps at center for the Bears last year, so RG isn’t his most familiar position. If the Bears added the 6-foot-6, 301-pound Schofield, he would certainly be the favorite to start over Mustipher, who would likely trade from the starting lineup and serve as a backup center/guard.

As it stands, veterans Cody Whitehair and Lucas Patrick will start on the left and center, respectively, while 2021 fifth-rounder Larry Borom is the favorite to start on the right. Teven Jenkins, a 2021 second-rounder, and Braxton Jones, a 2022 fifth-rounder, will battle for the starting spot in the left tackle and Mustipher will play RG. With options dwindling as league training camps begin, Schofield’s experience feels just like what the Bears line needs.

CONTINUE READING: Bears’ free agent OL to have surgery at the end of the season: report

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