A Worthwhile Trade for Bears

Many draft picks-for-player trades can backfire or are one-sided but the Bears could get real value and proven success by pursuing a trade for Baltimore's Orlando Brown.
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Trade demand seems to be the catch-all phrase for this NFL season.

It has revolved around quarterbacks to date but on Wednesday a new trade demand came down for a different position player and perhaps it's something the Bears need to look at closely because it's someone at a position of need.

Baltimore tackle Orlando Brown said he wants to be dealt but it's not necessarily a demand engineered immediately by cash concerns.

Certainly in the long run it involves more money but Brown proved in 2020 he could be a strong left tackle and he won't get the chance to return to the position he played last year if he stays in Baltimore.

The Bears could use a left or right tackle, especially if they're planning to run the ball using the outside zone scheme which begins with the running back reading the run block of the tackle on the side of the field where the play is going. Guards and centers create more of an impact with the inside zone scheme the Bears had been using extensively before they switched and actually started running the ball with success.

So better tackle play is essential and the Bears could upgrade over Charles Leno Jr. and Bobby Massie, who combined account for $16.8 million salary for 2021.

Trading for Brown would give the Bears a player entering the final year of his rookie contract, which makes a trade by Baltimore more likely.

Brown had to switch from right tackle to left to replace All-Pro Ronnie Stanley last year due to a bad ankle injury involving a fracture and ligament damange. The injury wasn't much different in severity from Kyle Long's bad ankle injury in 2016.

Stanley will likely get his position back when he returns, but there's no certainty he'd be back to 100% when camp starts.

Brown is tall enough and has more than a long enough reach to be a left tackle at 6-foot-8. Yet, he has the body mass of a right tackle at 345 pounds.

The former Oklahoma player was a third-round pick and Rapoport tweeted any team acquiring him would have to pay a high price to the Ravens, who already had given Stanley a five-year, $98.75 million deal.

Paying two tackles like this would be difficult for any team hoping to stay below the salary cap. And because it's the final year of Brown's contract, this Baltimore could move Brown. It is a deal the Bears would be wise to consider.

Tackle, wide receiver and quarterback are the three greatest Bears position needs and it would be ideal acquiring a left tackle who had Pro Football Focus grades last year of 76.4 overall, 72.8 blocking the run and 76.7 for pass blocking as Brown did.

Getting an offensive lineman already trained and standing out is preferable to drafting one who might need a full season before he's ready to play. Because Brown is in the last year of his contract, the Bears could benefit by getting him under their cap for one season with relative ease. The deal could carry far more weight in future years, much the way they distributed Eddie Jackson's $58.4 million deal.

Ultimately for the Bears, it could simply be easier and cheaper to draft a tackle at No. 20.

The trade compensation issue is taken care of that way and the money would be less for a cash-strapped team.

That's the cheap way out of this problem and it might not work.

The Bears have drafted 25 tackles since Jimbo Covert in 1983 and the only one with any staying power as a starter was Leno. A few of the others started immediately and suffered injuries or eventually lasted only a couple years. Leno has started since 2014 and was a seventh-round pick.

Based on percentages, when it comes to their draft success the Bears really should consider trading their first-round pick for Brown if they still have the pick after obtaining veteran quarterback help.

They've already proven they're about as good at finding tackles in the draft as they are at finding quarterbacks.

Bears Drafted Tackles 1983 and Later

Lachavious Simmons, 7th round 2020

Tayo Fabuluje, 7th round 2015

Charles Leno Jr., 7th round 2014

Jordan Mills, 5th round 2013

Gabe Carimi, 1st round 2011

J'Marcus Webb, 7th round 2010

Chris Williams, 1st round 2008

Kirk Barton, 7th round 2008

Marc Colombo, 1st round 2002

Mike Gandy, 3rd round 2001

Bernard Robertson, 5th round 2001

Jerry Wisne, 5th round 1999

Chad Overhauser, 7th round 1998

Jon Clark, 6th round 1996

Marcus Spears, 2nd round 1994

Troy Auzenne, 2nd round 1992

Louis Age, 11th round 1992

Stan Thomas, 1st round 1994

Roman Matusz, 11th round 1990

Chris Dyko, 8th round 1989

Cesar Rentie, 7th round 1988

Archie Harris, 7th round 1987

Paul Blair, 7th round 1986

Steve Buxton, 8th round 1985

Tom Andrews, 4th round 1984

Jimbo Covert, 1st round 1983

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