Chicago Sun-Times

Angelo: With Omiyale signed, Bears would still like St. Clair back

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Although they made one of the first signings in free agency when they locked up Frank Omiyale to a four-year contract early Friday morning, the Bears still have interest in bringing back veteran offensive lineman John St. Clair.

At what price is the question.

"Yes, this has nothing to do with how we feel about John St. Clair,'' general manager Jerry Angelo said Friday afternoon in a teleconference discussing the signing of Omiyale, a 26-year-old who the team will likely look to fill the void at right tackle first.

"Really when you go into negotiations you can't tell the timetable of when you're going to get them dpne," Angelo said. "We would have liked to have gotten John St. Clair done first. This doesn't do anything for how we feel about John"

Omiyale is instantly in the mix to be the starting right tackle and putting him there would leave St. Clair without a starting position unless he is allowed to compete for a job inside, perhaps at left guard. St. Clair has made 19 consecutive starts for the Bears but they felt they were getting a younger player with upside in Omiyale.

The Bears made a three-year contract offer to St. Clair two weeks ago on Feb. 13. It hasn't changed. St. Clair's camp responded with a counter offer and the Bears didn't address it, choosing to let the player enter free agency. It is believed St. Clair has drawn interest from some AFC teams but his goal is to return to the Bears.

Omiyale's deal is worth between $11.5 million and $14 million with the player being able to max it out with play-time incentives. The deal also has $5 million guaranteed. It's clear the Bears have made upgrading the offensive line a priority, especially in light of the decision by 10-year veteran John Tait to retire. It's unclear how much of a priority St. Clair is at this point.

It could be St. Clair will shop for a deal and then give the Bears an opportunity to match it or improve on it, but that's not a sure thing at this point. The nice thing about St. Clair is he knows the offense, he has far more experience than Omiyale and he's versatile enough to play anywhere on the line.

Omiyale said St. Clair was the player he knew best on the Bears' roster. When asked if he was concerned he might have taken St. Clair's job, he said that's how it goes.

"That's football," Omiyale said. "I don't have any handle on that."

Stay tuned. We'll have more from the Angelo/Omiyale chat soon.

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18 Comments

THIS is Angelo's solution at Right Tackle? A guy who has 2 starts in his career, was drafted in the 5th round, and has been let go by two teams?

I'd be ok with him as a cheaper, younger version of St Clair, but this is insane. If there was a way to make the line take a step back from last year and the year before, this is it.

The line was not that good last year. The Bears again had a pretty low YPC, and the running game only looked good because Forte caught so many passes and had a nose for the end zone.

I can't believe a team the sells out every game in minutes, with one of the largest fan bases in the country, is going to go this cheap again. There are plenty better options available. Jon Stinchomb would be a perfect fit. Khalif Barnes would be a nice gamble on a young guy with tremendous upside.

What a freakin joke. If the Bears are hurting for cash so bad that they don't want to try and compete, then raise ticket prices. If Angelo dislikes Lovie so much that he's going to tank the year so he can dump him, dump him now and spare the fans another mediocre season.

Washington really screwed everything up this year, 100 million for a DT has driven the market through the roof.

Omiyale is backup LT who just got over paid to be Chris Williams back insurance. Carolina would rather move there All Pro LT to the right side in the Saints game than let Omiyale play there. He is not a good run blocker and I have no clue if he can pass block cause Carolina runs the ball so much. They run the ball up the middle and to the right when he plays, up the middle and to the right. When Gross and Otah play they run the ball at any gap. He has faced two of the worst Pass rushes in football in KC who had 10 sacks last year and NO for half a game against a DE who had 3 sacks on the season. He is more unkown than anything but my guess is Carolina did not make a play for him because he can't run block and Carolina loves to run the ball. Carolina also may not be able to sign back Jeremy Bridges and Geoff Hangartner, Bridges may return but Hangartner will cost ot much to bring back as a backup.

Alex Gibbs passed on him in Atlanta and so did David Magazu in Carolina, both are or were real good line coaches(Gibbs retired), and that makes me put a question mark next to this kids name. Nothing wrong with him as a back up.

If the Bears bring back St. Clair they may not go after an OT in the draft at all. Which makes me think this is a typical Angelo move, why draft when you can sign bottom end FA for cheap, it also probably means he is going Dline in round 1. But we will see what happens with St. Clair.

You are correct in that this is a typical Angelo move, it has his signature as a cheap signing along with St. Clair and that's that.
But we are still waiting and hoping....my bet is that this is the big signing for this year

Unbelievable negativity people. No one said this guy was gonna change the franchise. Relax. Jeez.

People that post to these message boards are sooooo stupid nd brain dead. This guy must have some talent if 10 other teams were after him. We need to get younger at the O-Line position and that's what we are doing. Who do you want the Bears to go after? There are no good free agents out there. At least not at the price it would take to get them. Thanks god we don't have the Redskins owner and thank god none of you brainless people are the GM.

5 million in guaranteed money tells me he's gonna be the Bears right tackle, and on top of the fact John Tait, the Bears current right tackle, is retiring. I could be wrong, Angelo said, "we want to check out Omiyale at guard first," and then in the same breath Angelo said, "we'll look at him at tackle where he has the most experience." Angelo could be smoke screening to get St.Clair back as the swing tackle, by saying Omiyale could play either tackle or guard would make St.Clair think he's could still start for Chicago at tackle, St.Clair made it clear he wants to start. Remember, Angelo also said, "were not going to go into free agency with any kind of desperation," then what does Angelo do, he signs a free agent tackle that other teams had interest in as soon as free agency opens....hmm, smoke screening anyone? Lovie Smith said, "Omiyale played left tackle, so you know he can play right tackle." I agree with Lovie Smith, I see no reason why Omiyale can't man the right tackle position for the Bears. If the Bears do bring St.Clair back, it will be as a stop gap, especially being a 10 year vet. I say bring him back as a swing tackle, but not as a starter at takle or guard, the Bears need to get younger up front. The Bears already have three younger guards under contract in Garza, Beekman, and Dan Buenning, and only Chris Williams at tackle, this is why its hard for me to believe they paid Omiyale 14 million to play guard when there so low on tackles. I think Angelo is baiting St.Clair back to be the Bears swing tackle, we'll see.

As far as Omiyale, he came from tiny Tennesse tech, so he probably wasn't ready his first couple seasons in the league, so I wouldn't take the fact the Falcons cut him in his second season as a slap in the face, again, not every player is ready right out of college some guys take a couple seasons to develop. This season he was the Panthers swing tackle, and when called upon, played well. If you look around the league, most tackles that can play left tackle can play right tackle, its the guys that can only play right tackle that you got to watch out for. Jordan Gross spent most of his career at right tackle for the Panthers, the fact the Panthers put Omiyale in at left tackle when Otah went down doesn't mean Omiyale can't play right tackle. The Panthers probably wanted to see Omiyale at left tackle because they didn't even know if Gross was coming back or not in 2009. I've read that had the Panther been unable to resign Gross, Omiyale was their next option, this shows me the Panthers were big on Omiyale. What the Bears got is a young lineman that has a lot of football in front of him, they got a lineman that has NFL experience, and again, the fact a lot of other teams were after him, obviously potential. I like the signing and think its gonna make the Bears a younger better team GO BEARS!!

Kevin so even though Angelo says he wants him at guard, you say he is putting him at the RT position he doesn't play. 5 mil guranteed over 4 years is not that much for an NFL player, in fact look at what some of the top guards are making that is chump change.

They already saw him at LT 10 times in fact. He does not play RT. He is not a run blocker. You don't move a pro bowl LT to RT to see if someone can play a position when your in a playoff race. They never put him in at RT, ever. Thats why they got Otah last year in the draft, Omiyale was on the team already Kevin and they went after Otah because they needeed a RT, and they went after Otah because he was Jordan Gross insurance not Omiyale. Were have read that Omiyale was there plan if Gross didn't come back, could you please post it, cause I have read nothing of the sort. Plus Kevin tell me what teams were after him, I know his agent said that but he sure signed quick for a guy who had a ton of teams after him, I mean I am sure an agent wouldn't stretch the truth. Could you please tell me there names. Were they World league teams?

The guy is here to be a guard and probably a backup to Williams. Most tackles do not play both sides all that well, lots of pure LT's like Chris Williams are not good RT's, swings tackles are usually average on both sides like Tait. Say goodbye to Beekman, back to the bench, Garza you too, your guards next year are going to be Buenning and Omiyale and thank god for that, if I had to watch Garza get blown up again or Beekman rolling around on the ground like turtle on his back I was gonna be sick. Your RT will probably be St. Clair. Oh and as for your comment that Gross spent most of his career at RT, thats not true he spent 03, 05, 07 at RT and 04, 06, 08 at LT, thats an even split, not sure why you thought Gross spent most of his career at RT. We have a new guard on the Bears to help replace the really really bad guards we had last year. You should be happy. Kevin I am not sure why you are trying to change what Angelo is doing or ignoring what he said. He brought in a guy to play guard and is still after St. Clair those are his words.

After all lets remember Angelo only starts one of his draft picks on the line at a time, if not one then he starts zero. In Angies world FA exists to build the offensive line with with cheap low end talent, whic his usually better than what he drafts. He has yet to have more than one of his draft picks on the line at same time. So this makes perfect sense.

By the way Kevin your throwing Omiyale around with Jordan Gross an All Pro LT and one guy who has one start in 4 years, well at least he is consistent I think two starts would have been pushing it. Carolina had so much confidence in Omiyale that they made Jordan Gross the highest paid OT in football and didn't even attempt to sign him even though they have no backups, none, zero. He's that good is he? Atlanta had the same problem with him, he was so good they had to let him go even though they had one of the worst offensive lines in football at time. Poor Beekman is being replaced by a guy with one start, I guess Beekman has the same problem as this guy there both so good that teams keep trying to find someone else. Don't worry I am sure you will get to see Beekman at the games handing out water.

Gatorade,
HTO
GATORADE,
HTO,
Gatorade not only tastes better, it's better for you.
Water sucks it really really sucks.
MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM STOP MAKING FUN OF BEEKMAN!!!

Folks, Angelo told you what he was doing. I know you can't stand the dude, but it makes sense, so why won't people believe him?

He said he wants to set it up so he doesn't have to pick ANY specific position of need in the first. A signing like Omiyale means he has somebody on the roster who is a least functional at tackle and without busting the cap. That means if one of the really good tackles falls to him at 18, he can still grab him. But now at tackle he won't have to settle for second round talent just to fill a hole. Maybe he does go DE, or WR, or even QB. What if a guy like Sanchez freefalls for some crazy reason like Quinn did? You want JA thinking he can pull the trigger and still can go O-line in the second or third and get a good prospect who may need a little time to develop.

The one thing we all agree on is that Bears desperately need more good players. From what I saw at the combine, simple numbers tell me there are going to be some good players still on the board at 18. To try and hit a specific position from 18 probably won't happen.

This guy has been in Carolina for a couple years, so they should know him. Despite him being on their roster, they traded up in the draft last year to get Otah to be their future RT. If this guy could play RT well, wouldn't they have saved their draft picks for other needs?

St.Clair's versatility is a definite plus in the mix and match game. He's sort of like DeRosa was for the Cubs but not quite as good. The draft is of course another possibility to beef up the O-line, but draft choices are rarely the big boost they're projected or hoped to be. I like the Omiyale signing. At least it indicates that the management knows where needs are. Whether or not he'll help out the O-line needs remains to be seen.

I love this signing.

The Bears sign a guy that can play 4 positions. If they sign St. Clair they can then draft the most talented player rather than the player who fills the greatest need. The Bears need great players not just good players.

If Andre Smith drops the Bears have their RT. If not they can draft the best player on the board and look for a RT in the 2nd or 3rd RD.

Who said 10 other teams wanted him? His Agent? And maybe the other teams wanted a cheap versatile backup? But the Bears wanted a cheap Free Agent possible starter. Big difference, and if you believe every thing the Agents say, you will buy every Free Agent that 16 teams are wanting so bad....

and as I wrote before Angelo is not the Coach, Lovie will play Omiyale where he feels he needs him not where JA says it's so (before the draft to throw off other teams)

I like the signing myself but we need more than a journeyman offensive lineman, there are alot of if's - and this guy is a relative unknown as is Williams and Buenning, thats alot of ifs to go into the season with (3), until a guy plays a full season the bottom line is we can only speculate and one spec is as good as another,

Tom's comment sounds good about why the Panthers went after Otah knowing what they had in Omiyale?

As long as he can jump offsides every play or two, he can fit perfectly on the Bears OL. ;)

I have to agree with MSBears Fan here. This makes sense for all of the reasons he outlined.

What I can't understand -- actually I can because this is an official gripe and I know better than anyone else message board -- is how much everyone "knows" about our latest acquisition: Omiyale. Most of this is based on a quick read of his stats and a few places that give scouting reports. Obviously that makes anyone who reads those sites more knowledgeable than any of the personnel guys at Halas Hall. Obviously they did not go well when they brought in veteran FAs: Jones, McKie, Tait, Garza, Clark, Ruben Brown, Moose and Miller for their SB run. So they can't possibly know what they are doing.

For those of you who criticize this signing -- fine. And if it fails you can remind the rest of us how smart you are: Creighton. And if it succeeds then you can remind the rest of us how smart you are: add your name here.

Me? I lean toward this being a good signing for the reasons MSBears Fan pointed out. But I am closer to the middle. I will await the rest of the FA period, the draft and next year before determining what was done in Feb 2009 is good in the 2009 season and beyond.

The bottom line I don't know this guy but he is an interesting signing. In the now famous words of the other "Kevin": GO BEARS!

I have one question MD, With that line of thinking - what do you think of the Bears 2008/2007/2006 Free Agents and Draft? (seriously)knowing how the Bears played the last 2 years and what impact all the FA's and Drafts had on this team? You should have plenty of time to judge those years by now.

I'm curious; If everyone griped about everything that the Bears do and hate Angelo as much as some of you do will you change your tune or just become captain of the Hate Boat? The hatred and repeated disdain is very questionable. What are you trying to accomplish with all the constant bashing? I will appoint whoever does it "the best b!###er" if they promise to skip a few topics to comment on. They all sound the same. It doesn't matter what they do you won't see the bright side of anything. If Jerry Rice came here when he was 30 you guys would say that he was too old. I never see some of you guys applaud anything. Just a rush to jump in and show the rest of us that you are missing your calling as a G.M. for an NFL team. I wish Angelo could go to some of you guy's job and criticize how you drive a bus, sell Cds out the trunk of your car, bus table or make fries. Poetic justice would be so cool. I'm not knocking guys who do those things as a job mind you. I just think that we criticize too easily when we are not aware of the dynamics. When have we had a G. M. who had carte blanche to go out and spend the McCaskey's money like fans want them to? Angelo does as well a job as could be expected. I don't go to Dollar Bills getting pi$$ed because the crap in there is of a certain quality. I get what I pay for and expect what I'm going to get from there. That is the team that we are faced with. You're not going to get the best GMs or the best Coaches that money can buy. If we get anywhere with this team it's because of overachievement. I know it and you should know it. Too much wealth to spread around in today's NFL. In this market we could easily be paying 20 percent more for everything because the market will adjust. If you don't go to the game. 70,000 other people will go and 2 million others are waiting in the wings to take their place. Since they have to share the revenue with such a big family that makes it a bigger pie to cut. Face facts that it could be worse and you could be paying much more. This is a mom and pop organization. Always have been and will always be. Even the best teams have been sold a few times since the Bears won a Super Bowl. The McCaskeys know that they have fans who will still be fans and pay whatever price set forth. Why overpay and take less pie for the family. I accept that because it is reality.

Kane: "People that post to these message boards are sooooo stupid nd brain dead."

I seriously can't stop laughing after reading that sentence ...

I think this could be a bit more telling. You already spent a 1st-round pick on Williams and his bad back. Now JA grabs a LT in free agency. Sounds to me like Williams' back may be as big of a concern as MANY OF US thought it would be.

William R. Donald,

I don't criticize every move Jerry Angelo makes but I still believe he should be fired and have a laundry list of reasons why. Also it wouldn't cost the McCaskey's millions of dollars if he knew how to draft ... he doesn't.

When JA makes a statement that there is no need at free safety because they have Craig Steltz ... it's getting to look a lot like stupid. Criticizing for the sake of criticism is a waste of time but you see a team that hasn't been to the playoffs in two years and has holes everywhere the finger you point should be directly at the architect of it all.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 27, 2009 3:40 PM.

Omiyale deal includes $5 million guaranteed was the previous entry in this blog.

It all starts up front for Bears this offseason is the next entry in this blog.

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