When the New Orleans Saints released three-time Pro Bowl guard Larry Warford, it made for a rare occasion. Here’s a guy who has played some of his best football the past three years but found himself cast out because he’d grown too expensive for a cash-strapped team. Expectations were that some team would quickly scoop the veteran up. Guys with his track record don’t last long on the market. Yet here it is over three weeks later and the market remains dead silent. This might be good news for the Chicago Bears.
Back when the release happened, it was reported the team was interested in the 28-year old. However, that interest seemed to vanish in a short time. Ian Rapoport later explained that Warford was looking for around $7 million per year. This would explain why the Bears bowed out. However, they might jump back in at some point soon as it appears his market isn’t nearly as hot as expected.
One of the teams that had interest in him, the Houston Texans, also could be out. This after restructuring the contract of veteran right guard Zach Fulton. This makes any move for Warford unlikely, narrowing his options. This could end up forcing him to lower his asking price. Perhaps taking a one-year deal on the cheap with a chance to improve his market for 2021.
Exactly the sort of scenario the Bears can take advantage of.
Bears’ interest in Larry Warford rests with Juan Castillo
There is no question that Warford would be the best right guard option on the depth chart were the Bears to sign him today. The problem isn’t talent. It’s fit. Some believe that while the money was a slight deterant, it was also a concern of Warford’s drawbacks. While he is a physically imposing guy with brute strength and high IQ, he is not an athlete. At least not compared to other top guards. One of the biggest criticisms with him was his lack of mobility.
Juan Castillo, the Bears’ new offensive line coach reportedly has a history of preferring big, athletic linemen. The system Matt Nagy runs is a zone blocking scheme which can often demand guards being able to pull and get out on the move. Adding Warford would likely require an adjustment. Perhaps not one the Bears want to make. That is why they signed Germain Ifedi instead. While less proven than Warford, he has the traits they’re looking for. They trust Castillo to coach him up.
Still, if the price is right they could make an exception.