Being patient and refusing to overspend have become the trademarks of GM Ryan Pace in his first run through NFL free agency. That is rather refreshing (and surprising) for the youngest at his job in the entire league. After a series of quick deals with a prominent name in Pernell McPhee and two second tier guys in Antrel Rolle and Eddie Royal, the Chicago Bears have gone completely silent on the market.
That seems to have changed as word begins to filter out they have eyes on somebody new.
#Bears seem to be upping their interest in the Center market. Have been told they are also in on Stefen Wisniewski.
— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) March 15, 2015
It wasn’t a big secret that the team is looking for help on the offensive line. Starting center Roberto Garza is 35-years old and they have nobody on the roster to back him up, let alone replace him. Given how important that spot is, there is plenty of logic in seeking out help and Stefen Wisniewski is among the best available.
Set to turn 26-years old next week, the Penn State product was a 2nd round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2011. Despite ongoing problems with direction and the coaching staff turnovers he emerged as a starter right away. After a brief experiment at left guard, he switched to center and quickly flourished. His calling card?
Run blocking. Over the past three years he has posted ratings of +0.7, +10.0 and +3.5 according to Pro Football Focus in that category. That falls right in line for what Pace and head coach John Fox are looking for which is tough, strong lineman who get physical. The idea of putting him in between Matt Slauson and Kyle Long would be appealing to any sane football man.
The problem is Wisniewski is in demand. He’s already visited other teams around the league but the Chicago Bears were among the first interested. If they can find some common ground on price, it’s not a hard sell for him in terms of fit given the team will want to run the ball.
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