With John St. Clair visiting the Cleveland Browns today it forces us to pose the question, what's next?
If St. Clair signs with the Browns or another team, the already changing Bears' offensive line has another major question to answer--who plays right tackle?
General manager Jerry Angelo could draft a tackle in the first round with the 18th pick and plan on plugging him in there from Day 1. He tried that last season and that didn't work so well with Chris Williams, although by all accounts he will be ready to go as the starting left tackle when minicamp opens Tuesday.
The Bears could venture into free agency and take a look at what is around.
They could do both.
What they'll find in the third week of free agency is a long list of players long in the tooth, players with injury baggage or both.
Here is an incomplete list of possibilities with the player's last team listed:
George Foster, Detroit. He's visited Cincinnati already. The Bears got an up-close look at how vulnerable he was twice a season.
Adam Goldberg, St. Louis. Seemed to improve once he left Minnesota. Has visited Cleveland and could return to the Rams.
Kwame Harris, Oakland. Offensive tackle might have a good strike ratio when it comes to first-round picks. Here's an example of a first-round miss.
Orlando Pace, St. Louis. His Pro Bowls seem obscured by injuries of late, although he was on the field most of last season. He's strictly been a left tackle.
Jon Runyan, Philadelphia. A beast in his prime, Runyan might not be healthy.
Ephraim Salaam, Houston. Before the Bears signed Fred Miller in 2005, they made a run at Salaam.
Kevin Shaffer, Cleveland. Has plenty of experience starting, particularly on the right side.
Marvel Smith, Pittsburgh. Back issues are biggest question for one-time Pro Bowl performer. He drew interest in Baltimore and Oakland.
Mark Tauscher, Green Bay. Knee surgery might keep him on the shelf until some time in the season.
Other options that are not on the market, the open market that is:
Jonas Jennings, San Francisco. It's doubtful he returns to the Niners after some injury-wrecked seasons. In fact, he's been informed he isn't in the team's plans. That would indicate Jennings will likely be released.
Levi Jones, Cincinnati. The Bengals are actively working to trade Jones. If they can't deal him, they'll probably cut him. Like Pace, he's been a left tackle.
Another alternative would be to use Frank Omiyale, the Bears first free-agent signing, at right tackle. He's primarily played tackle in four seasons in the league but Angelo said the Bears want to look at him first at guard. He's expected to compete immediately at left guard with Josh Beekman.
Just some names to consider if St. Clair winds up elsewhere. We'll get to Four Down Territory later on today so make sure you get in your questions. We're doing three mailbags this week with minicamp.