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Saturday, July 2

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Bears Mon Jun 10 2013

Bears Were Backed Into Corner With Carimi

Thumbnail image for GB bears icon.pngGabe Carimi made it clear that he didn't want to be back with the Bears this season by skipping voluntary OTA's (Organized Team Activities) a few weeks back. Sure, they're "technically" voluntary, but when a new coaching staff is hired, it's standard operating procedure to take part in an effort to learn the system and terminology alongside your teammates. Instead, Carimi chose to work out on his own in Arizona, but did plan on attending the mandatory workouts this week at Halas Hall.

That won't be happening, as he'll be boarding a plane this morning en route to Tampa Bay in exchange for a sixth round pick in next year's draft. Carimi was the 29th overall pick in former general manager Jerry Angelo's final draft with the Bears, and he was the only remaining first round pick from the previous regime to still be on the team. Now there are none.

Angelo's ineptitude aside, it's disappointing the team couldn't get more than a late round pick for Carimi. Injuries forced him to miss nearly his entire rookie season, and leg problems that were kept under wraps plagued him last season -- which could help explain how a first round pick looked that brutal at right tackle. The Bears moved him to guard late in the season, and he seemed to be doing pretty well, with the inside track at starting there this fall. That is, until Kyle Long was taken with the 20th pick in April.

Carimi is the third Bears linemen taken in the first round by Angelo to be given his walking papers before the end of his rookie contract. Marc Colombo (29th pick in 2001) and Chris Williams (14th pick in 2008) were the start of a scary trend for early round linemen for the Bears. All three suffered significant injuries early in their career that hampered their talent in Chicago. Colombo escaped early enough to go on and succeed in Dallas as a solid right tackle and phenomenal special teams player (field goal disrupting phenom), so a career rebound by Carimi isn't out of the realm of possibility.

The Bears have been prepared for his departure though, and now have the perceived depth to withstand his absence. Jermon Bushrod and J'Marcus Webb are locked in at the starting left and right tackle spots respectively, Kyle Long and Matt Slauson will both start at guard, and Roberto Garza will be the only returning starter playing the same position at center. Edwin Williams, Jonathon Scott, and draftee Jordan Mills will likely round out the linemen that make the team, and that still leaves out guys like James Brown and Eben Britton who the coaching staff really like.

The return on investment the Bears got was terrible, but the organization wasn't in a strong negotiating position. Carimi wanted out, the Bears wanted him out, and everyone in the league knew it. They also knew he wouldn't be cut because he would've actually counted more against the salary cap this season. A sixth round pick and an open roster spot was the best deal on the table and they took it. Let's just hope Kyle Long and other future first round offensive linemen for the Bears don't suffer the same fate as their predecessors.

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