The Chicago Bears surprised a lot of people when it was announced they’d signed Germain Ifedi as a free agent. A former 1st round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, the big offensive lineman had started 60 games, most of them at right tackle. Given the Bears already had two starters at tackle it didn’t make sense to throw a lot of money at Ifedi. Well, as it turns out that was never the plan for GM Ryan Pace.
During his first press conference since the scouting combine, Pace informed the media that the Bears envisioned Ifedi as a guard. This is a position the 25-year old played as a rookie in 2016. It’s also one most draft experts felt he was the best fit for given his somewhat slower feet. It better suited his size and considerable strength as well.
All that was left was to determine how much Pace gave up to get him. Former offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz predicted Ifedi would cost at least $6-7 million per year. As it turns out, the Bears scored him for the veteran minimum. This means they not only got a solid talent for cheap, but they also didn’t impact their compensatory draft pick formula for 2021.
Germain Ifedi gives Bears needed flexibility
Look nobody is saying Ifedi is the ideal solution at right guard for the Bears. At that price, he’s hardly THE guy. He is merely somebody who will compete for the job along with Rashaad Coward and Alex Bars. More than anything, his presence gives the Bears flexibility going into the draft. Without him, guard would be considered a pressing need. One they’d almost have to address with one of their 2nd round pick. This way, they don’t necessarily have to. They can go Best Player Available as Pace so often prefers.
This doesn’t mean the Bears won’t add a top guard if one’s available. It means they can afford to go with a player they might rate higher at another position without having to worry about need. Ifedi showed lots of promise at guard as a rookie. The Seahawks chose to move him to tackle because they felt his athleticism and length were perfect for it. Clearly they were mistaken. He could still become a quality player on the inside.
If nothing else, he is high-quality depth at a bargain price. A nice steal for the Bears.