Chicago Sun-Times

Daily double: Bears get Orlando Pace

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Talk about a huge day for the Bears' offense.

If Orlando Pace can be as effective as Ruben Brown was when he energized his career with a move to the Bears, the offensive line just improved considerably.

A little more than an hour after trading fopr Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler, the Bears agreed to terms with Pace, the veteran left tackle who is a seven-time Pro Bowl performer, on Thursday in a move that not only reshapes the line but likely changes the plans of general manager Jerry Angelo 23 days before the NFL draft.

Pace will sign a two- or three-year contract and will be inserted as the starting left tackle meaning that 2008 first-round draft pick Chris Williams will have to stave off newly signed veteran Kevin Shaffer to claim a starting job at right tackle. Pace, 33, missed 25 games over the last three seasons but started 14 last season and cleared a physical when he visited the team on Monday. Agent Kennard McGuire praised the visit and it led to quick negotiations.

"He had a tremendous relationship with Lovie,'' McGuire said. "That was an element."

The Bears won out over the Baltimore Ravens, who initially pursued him when he was cut loose by the St. Louis Rams, and who had an offer on the table for more money. Pace, it seems, wanted to remain in the Midwest and felt comfortable with his relationship with coach Lovie Smith, who was the defensive coordinator of the Rams for three seasons. The Pace thing just came together for the Bears as his visit to Halas Hall came when offensive coaches were scheduled to be on vacation. Wide receivers coach Darryl Drake was spotted in Las Vegas earlier in the week.

Baltimore, it is believed, planned to play Pace at right tackle after Jared Gaither stepped in successfully at left tackle last season in place of Jonathan Ogden, long a rival of Pace's as the finest left tackle in the league. The opportunity to remain at left tackle could have played a part in the decision.

Pace is considered a better pass blocker, and that will allow the Bears to perhaps get a better run blocker in Williams or Shaffer on the right side. A lot of teams are right-handed when it comes to running the football. The depth chart looks much different than it did when minicamp ended two weeks ago and free-agent pickup Frank Omiyale, originally signed to play left guard, was running at right tackle with Williams on the left side. There were no backups in place.

Now, Omiyale, the first offseason addition by Angelo, can move back to left guard where he will compete with Josh Beekman. Shaffer is an experienced performer with 86 career starts, including time at left tackle with both Atlanta and Cleveland. He could be a well-paid swing tackle with an $8 million, three-year contract. A move to right tackle doesn't signal that is where the team plans on having Williams longterm. Ogden played right tackle in his first season with the Ravens. Jordan Gross was a right tackle in Carolina before last season and he landed a deal with more than $30 million guaranteed from the Panthers. John Tait played both sides for Kansas City and the Bears.

The signing of Pace also means he will be able to take part in the voluntary offseason program, which begins Monday at Halas Hall. Now, the team has to determine how his arrival will impact the draft that is short picks after the acquisition of Cutler.

The Bears cannot count on Pace, at his age, for more than a year or two. That's the approach they took with Brown when they signed him after eight Pro Bowl seasons in Buffalo to play left guard. The Bears got three solid seasons out of him, and he made one last return to Hawaii as a Pro Bowler.

Bears coaches and scouts have been working out a slew of linemen and receivers in recent weeks with more scheduled. Multiple sources say those are the positions the team is focusing on, and adding Pace doesn't mean the Bears do not need a young tackle. They got into this predicament when Tait retired a year earlier than expected after Angelo went five consecutive drafts without choosing a tackle before the seventh round before grabbing Williams last year. With Pace in place, Angelo does have some flexibility that didn't exist previously.

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26 Comments

Living in Denver, I am amazed, WE got a QB and a Tackle in 1 day? Did someone plug in the Angelo Machine, and get some $$ finally, HOLY COW, NOW Can we bring in HOLT? as a Helper to the WR Corp? This is a new Day in BearLand. HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN

Wow!!!Cutler and Pace should have a huge impact on the Bears' offense and greatly help the defense by solid ball control. The price is pretty steep regarding draft choices, but if Pace comes through and stays healthy a couple of years, the Bears are serious contenders to take it all. If they get the defensive line and a hardcharging defensive end pressuring the quarterback, "They could go all the way!"

Is it Christmas?!! Is it my Birthday?!! Am I dreaming?!! Nice work Bears!!! All you Angelo bashers can EAT IT! And I hope you choke on it! No one could have predicted this, but I was hoping that the Bears were looking at Pace, because they knew they'd have to give up their first rounder this year, and a shot at a quality tackle, if they wanted a chance at Cutler. Woo Hoo!!! And if I am dreaming, nobody better wake me up!!!

Cutler and Pace! Yes! We may have a winning season! Super Bowl? I'm actually excited this year!

Wow. What a day. Jay Cutler and Orlando Pace. An offesne with zero Pro Bowlers, adds 2 Pro Bowlers in one day.

Last year our best offensive player was Matt Forte. He went from our best to our third best in one hours time.
With Cutler and Pace on board, along with Shaffer and Omiyale our offense is going to be LEGIT.

Forte will be a BEAST with only 7 in the box, a better line and Defenses respecting the deep ball.

Devin Hester will have a BIG year and catch some amazing deep balls.

Greg Olson will be one of the leagues TOP TE's.

Earl Bennett will reunite with Jay Cutler and possibly earn a starting role, or earn some time out of the slot. I think that depends on if we draft a WR in round 2 or possibly bring in a Tory Holt or Marvin Harrison.

GO BEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Welcome to Chicago Orlando. We liked you so much we got you a real QB to protect.

What and incredible day as a Bears fan. I think Jerry has been so frustrated about the instability at quarterback that he wanted to truly place his stamp on the club and he did that with Jay. I think their are a couple of things worth mentioning here that won't get talked about as much. First off I love the additions of Pace and Schaffer to the mix at tackle much more than who might have been available at #18 for us. Remember the potential run on tackles would have forced the Bears to either reach for a guy like Britton there, or trade down to get a "potential" right tackle prospect. Doesn't sound all that appealing when you get guys who are still young like Omiyale and Schaffer who could potentially play extremely well for us at right tackle for a long time. Secondly I know some fans are concerned about the number of picks to get Jay, but why? The first pick this year would have been thrown at a tackle, which we now have 2 solid ones, and we received the 3rd round compensatory pick for losing Berrian(#99) which covers the one we gave to Denver (#84) so in actuality to get a franchise quarterback we in turn actually only gave up next years #1. I think that sounds pretty incredible to me. Don't forget we still have a third rounder, plus Dever gave us and earlier 5th round pick, which we all know Angelo does pretty well with. This in turn could potentially not alternate our draft plans at all!! We will probably still take a receiver in the second, maybe Robiske if available, then get a safety and offensive lineman (guard or tackle) in the 3rd or fourth) and then Angelo can continue to go to work with a 4th, two 5th's, 6th and two 7th's. I would say that when you really look at it, this is one of the better days in franchise history. I could not be more thrilled, and I am still exstacic about what the draft will bring!! And guys don't be surprised at all if the Bears trade down at #49 to acquire and additional pick or two and still get a solid receiver. What a day for all true Bears fans to rejoice!! Thank you Jerry for all of your hard work!!

Fellow bear fans: while it seems to be a red letter day for all of us in the Bear Kingdom, let us all remember these are the Bears. We have been suckered before. You know it can't really work out. Something has to happen. The Universe can never yield any real happiness for we who believe in the Bear dream. Yes I know we got 85. I know we got the SB appearance a couple of years back. But that was just a plot by the commissioner and the rest of the league to keep all of us interested and off the ledge. Wait for the cruel turn to happen...

this is the happiest I have been since we made it to the super bowl. NOW THIS IS MY OPINION!!! But I think that we trade Devin Hester now for some draft picks, so we can have some solid picks this draft, that is UNLESS we sign Torry Holt. Hester was a big disappointment last year, and unless he had some receiving lessons in the past few months, keep him in the slot or trae him.
Otherwise...I hope Brandon Lloyd, Earl Bennet and Greg Olson better be ready to have some MONSTER YEARS in receiving numbers!!!
GO BEARS!!!!!!!!

A great day! There are some doubts about Cutlers personality, but I had never heard anything before, so let's be optomistic. The price was not as great as I had heard it might be. The Bears could get the best QB in each of the next two drafts and end up with nothing, so I don't see how one can complain. Timing is everything. Getting Pace and Cutler and having a draft loaded with WRs is fortunate. They even have a WR with whom Cutler is familiar from college. The Bears were lucky to find such a convergence of events and they deserve all the credit in the world for taking advantage. Go BEARS!

Build JA a statue in Chicago. Give JA a new 5 year contract. Simply fantastic after watching some pretty pathetic QB play over the last 45 years, until McMahon I actually thought Bobby Douglas was the Bears best QB.

OMG, it happened the Bears have a franchise caliber QB!!! Can you imagine an offense that actually might really be a legitimate offense with balance in passing and running. Can you imagine actually controlling time of possession and giving the D a rest. Can you imagine the offense actually maybe winning the games instead of always counting on the D to save the game in the last quarter. Can you imagine a QB that actually has scrambling ability and can throw the ball short, deep and the out pattern to save time on the clock.

Pace at LT the offensive line is now legit again in one fell swoop. Can you imagine if we pick up a legit WR to complement Hester and fullback this team could be a contender and who knows maybe win the whole thing.

There are still holes to fill at WR, FB, outside linebacker, D line and free safety.
But now the Bears have to be considered a favorite in the division. It is going to be a fun year watching this team compete.

WOW!!!!!!!!
Zowie!!!!


Cutlers a good guy. Real nice character player. Hoping for this unproven line to exceed expectations and reach the sky thats the only limit for the potential. Great defensive and special teams units plus playmakers Forte, Hester, and now Cutler. This bears fan is excited! Go BEARS!

Good luck Kyle Orton with a great set of supporting players in Denver! May your beard carry you swiftly to greater successes!

Now we need to trade up to get into a position to land Heyward-Bey.

This is great, but I have one serious concern, assuming that the Bears do the third thing I asked and get Tory Holt: Why do they stubbornly insist on playing Frank Omiyale at guard. The book on him is that he's a very good pass blocker but not a good run blocker, which means he's a tackle, not a guard. Let him compete with Kevin Shaffer at right tackle and play Chris Williams at left guard. The Bears really need to beef up the interior of the offensive line, and that's the way to do it. If they go with the same guards and center as last season, it will be another year of not being able to get first downs in short yardage or goal line situations.

Hold me Creighton, I'm scared. What have they done with the real Jerry Angelo? Who's this new man calling himself Angelo and making blockbuster deals? Next thing you know, we'll have an effective draft. What's this world coming to???

"I can guarantee you that my advice to Jerry was the soundest in the industry. I told him to get Cutler. Brilliant, no? I betcha ole Jer' never heard of that one. Not to brag but now you weak-minded buckets of krill know who to bow down to and worship when Jay becomes the Bears' new QB." - Bill Holland

Hey Bill, sorry we doubted you before. Nice work. I guess you really do have a relationship with the coaching staff and JA.

All hail Bill Holland!

Orton with Denver's WRs or Cutler with ours? This is a tossup.

Does Orlando Pace have anything left? If not, Cutler will be injured quickly.

Overall, I'm torn. Cutler is a good, not yet great QB. Orton was a decent QB on his way to being good. I just think we paid way too much, and instead of having 2 new young studs on our OL, we will get none, as we need to address WR & FS.

Also, I'm HUGE against trading a future #1. What if Cutler gets hurt, we go 2-14, and give up the #1 pick next year . . . unlikely? Maybe not. Let's not forget, most of the QB changes in these parts are do to injuries not lack of performance.

OUTSTANDING JOB JA!!!!!!!!!!
Don't even be concerned about the loss of 2 first rounders, Cutler is one of them and Pace is the other. We could not have gotten better players which would have impacted the team more than what these tWo guys will.
GO BEARS!!!!!!

Don't any of you remember what Angelo said after the season. It wasn't just about the QB. He said that the Bears need to reavaluate everything they have been doing. Jerry Angelo had an epiphany, he said the bears were going to have to change with that statment. He new they had not been doing things the right way.

Give the man a new 5 year contract as the President of the Bears. Let him hire a GM who knows how to draft.

It's a great trade but it does not change the fact that Angelo is still bad at drafting. I say bump him up.

Why is Pace a good signing, he will probably give you two years at most but he can teach Williams how to play the position in the NFL at a All Pro level.

Cutler upgrades the offense in a big way.

This is no longer a team sitting and waiting for good things to happen for them. This is a team going out and making good things happen.

JPCZ and what great draft pick will the Bears get with that Pick? Whta if Cutler gets hurt? What if the first pick gets hurt, Rex got hurt, Harris got hurt, Williams got hurt. So just cause a guy is a first round pick does not mean he will not get hurt. He can get hurt just as easy as Cutler. Angelo has sucked with the first pick. Who are you loosing? What great player has he drafted with the first pick?

He just traded for a great player.

I'm so excited my nipples ache!

Creighton,

You make a good point, sir. However, I think this year with the depth at OL and WR we couldn't miss. I also think you don't give up future year's top picks. This is how you truly dig the franchise into a hole. Remember, JA believes in building through the draft. I agree with this philosophy. I also agree with the sad fact that JA seems lost on Day 1 of the draft every year.

That said, Kyle Orton is still developing and the margin of improvement Cutler provides is simply not worth 2 #1s and a #3. In fact, NO PLAYER is worth that in my opinion.

This could be the worst trade we've EVER made. Remember, our WRs are not going to start catching passes just because Cutler is throwing to them and not Orton. Please also remember, Orton was well liked in the locker room and in the huddle . . . an absolute MUST for a QB.

I just caught a bit of ESPN and the analysts on there both said the Bears paid too much.

Finally, the thought of stocking the line with young talent is now gone. Omiayle and Shaffer may end up being OK, but I think we passed on greener pastures. However, if we could figure out a way to dump someone for a #1, especially Hester, then this might work out.

I am sad about this and by tomorrow, when this all sinks in, sorrow will turn to devastation. Thanks for finally ruining the Bears JA!

Is it just me or does anyone else realize that Jay Cutler has NOT yet had an above .500 season as a collegian or as a pro.

Thanks for killing the franchise JA! Even Ditka only gave up 1 #1 for Ricky Williams!

Was @ the watering hole after work and saw the news on the Crawler....told all the Saints fans "If ya'll think we kicked your ass the last 3 yrs,Y'all aint seen nothing yet!"Paper sacks for all Mofo's in the NFC!!!just an incredible day to be a BEAR fan!!!

everyone keep your mouths shut... if we pretend like we have no idea that angelo has been abducted by aliens and replaced with a bears fan... they might not bring him back. so lets hold our enthusiasm until the season starts... after all, do we really want Scrooge Angelo back in the office trying to pinch pennies???

JA,

I'm so glad the dingly-danglies finally dropped! Kudos! I promise not to call for your firing until at least next January, and you can stave that off by making da Bears play until then. Don't get overjoyed and start playing with them, get somebody for Cutler to throw to. Holt?!?

KO,

Good luck to you in my most sincerest wishes. I truly hope to see you again in some sort of contest against da Beloved and if not, I hope you excel anyway. You are a class act and I hope that Cutler learns that part of the game that you mastered.

Bears fans,

Didja ever think for one moment that this would really happen? I didn't. I would've been flabbergasted if we would've just signed Pace today, but to get Cutler too? WOW! I dare dream again. Let's all dream again.

P.S. to JA: If the Broncos 2010 pick from da Bears turns into the 32nd pick, I won't say s**t about you until 2012 at the earliest. Triple dog swear.

Well,trading for this crybaby is all fine and dandy,but the main focus should be revamping our defense! starting with trading that BUM urlacher while he's still worth somethin!I've been a season ticket holder for decades and this team continues to address issues opposite of what we need god damnit! HELL,I GIVE UP!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 2, 2009 5:10 PM.

How the 2009 draft looks after landing Jay Cutler was the previous entry in this blog.

A look back at the Bears' QB carousel (motion sickness warning) is the next entry in this blog.

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