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El-Gonzo Jackson
04-03-2009, 09:47 AM
Tackle Pace agrees with Bears

On the same day the Chicago Bears added a new quarterback, they got someone to protect him.

The Bears have agreed to a three-year deal, $15 million deal with free agent Orlando Pace, a source told ESPN.com's John Clayton. His first-year payout, according to the source, is $6.1 million.

ESPN's Michael Smith first reported the signing.

Moments after acquiring quarterback Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos, the Bears reached an agreement to sign former Rams left tackle Pace.

Pace will reunite with Lovie Smith, who was the defensive coordinator for the Rams when Pace was considered one of the best left tackles in football.

Released by the Rams three weeks ago in a move to clear $6 million in cap room, the 33-year-old Pace joins a team that suddenly has a different look on offense after going 9-7 and missing the playoffs for the second straight year. The Bears have a Pro Bowl quarterback they craved in Cutler, to go with promising young players such as tight end Greg Olsen and running back Matt Forte.

"We really feel that it gives us a very good offensive line," general manager Jerry Angelo said during a conference call with Chicago reporters. "We've had some real good success with veteran players -- John Tait, Fred Miller, Ruben Brown -- and we felt that Orlando is the same. Obviously, he's a potential Hall of Fame player. He expressed to us on his visit that he wants to continue to play, and he feels that his health is as good as it's been in awhile."

The top pick in the 1997 draft, the 6-foot-7 Pace started 154 of 158 games for the Rams while helping them win one Super Bowl and reach another. He blocked for three straight MVPs -- quarterback Kurt Warner in 1999 and 2001 and running back Marshall Faulk in 2000 -- but had been hit hard by injuries in recent seasons.

Pace had an offer from the Philadelphia Eagles, but he decided to sign with the Bears on the day Cutler was acquired in a trade from the Broncos.
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=4037565

revefsreleets
04-03-2009, 09:51 AM
Telling you, the Bears are now an NFC force to be reckoned with. Those are two solid additions (even if Pace isn't what he used to be, he can still ball), and the team wasn't THAT far off to begin with.

El-Gonzo Jackson
04-03-2009, 09:55 AM
Telling you, the Bears are now an NFC force to be reckoned with. Those are two solid additions (even if Pace isn't what he used to be, he can still ball), and the team wasn't THAT far off to begin with.

Yeah, I bet they go after a WR in the 2nd round since that is what they really are lacking now. That defense of theirs is getting old, but its still a top 10 D in the league. That being said, I think they can win the NFC North, but Cutler will throw 5 INT's and lose a playoff game for them.

steelreserve
04-03-2009, 11:32 AM
Yeah, I bet they go after a WR in the 2nd round since that is what they really are lacking now.

You mean, what they're lacking now ... other than decent draft picks.

Ba-ZING! Take that, Chicago!

BrandonCarr39
04-03-2009, 03:47 PM
Telling you, the Bears are now an NFC force to be reckoned with. Those are two solid additions (even if Pace isn't what he used to be, he can still ball), and the team wasn't THAT far off to begin with.

Also - Lovie Smith was DC of the Rams when Pace was one of the premiere LTs in the game, so I'm sure they know each other very well.

Overall - if the Bears pick a decent OT in the latter rounds of this year's draft, Pace will be a nice 1 stop gap, while this young OT is getting groomed.

I guess as time goes on, things could be looking bright for the Bears, assuming they have a good draft with what they have left.

steelreserve
04-03-2009, 04:17 PM
Also - Lovie Smith was DC of the Rams when Pace was one of the premiere LTs in the game, so I'm sure they know each other very well.

Overall - if the Bears pick a decent OT in the latter rounds of this year's draft, Pace will be a nice 1 stop gap, while this young OT is getting groomed.

I guess as time goes on, things could be looking bright for the Bears, assuming they have a good draft with what they have left.

The Bears are going to be like one of those cartoons where a leak springs in the side of so they plug it with their finger, then two leaks spring up and they use their feet, then three more leaks spring up, and so on... they'll have bigger needs than finding an OT of the future.

The defense is going to start getting too old in 2-3 years. Cutler's contract is going to be up in 2-3 years. This is a desperate short-term push for a title shot if I ever saw one, because they know that's all the time they've got before the whole thing starts collapsing.

steelreserve
04-03-2009, 05:44 PM
Yeah, but at least the Bears are still good enough that this ought to make them a legitimate playoff team. You can't say that for a lot of the other franchises in various states of collapse (see: Seattle, Cincy, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Kansas City). They've got a lot more problems on both sides of the ball than you can fix with one trade and one FA signing. For any of them to make a trade like this would be pretty futile.

Having said that, I still don't like the Bears' chances of winning the Super Bowl even after the trade. They could if they were really lucky, but honestly this has just moved them to the fringe of the serious contenders. I'd say there are still six or seven teams with more than a puncher's chance to win it (Steelers, Pats, Titans, Ravens, Giants, maybe Colts or Panthers), but the Bears have just moved to the top of "the rest" pile.

And if they don't make it soon, this trade all but guarantees that in three years or so, they'll be where Seattle is today.