Bears expected to target Dolphins’ Jake Long in free agency
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org March 12, 2013 9:54AM
MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 21: Offensive tackle Jake Long #77 of the Miami Dolphins drops back into pass blocking against the Indianapolis Colts at Land Shark Stadium on September 21, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Colts defeated the Dolphins 27-23. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
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Updated: March 12, 2013 5:50PM
The Bears desire to upgrade the offensive line isn’t a secret, and they’re expected to be in play for the most prominent one - Jake Long.
A four-time Pro Bowl left tackle and the No. 1 pick in 2008, Long is coming off a rough season, and his market is unclear. He was placed on the IR for the final four games with a torn triceps, and he missed the final two games in 2011 after a torn biceps muscle.
The Bears have at least expressed an interest in checking on the status of some prominent free-agent guards and tackles but what they’re willing to spend on the positions or particular player is the multi-million question.
There has been speculation that Long is looking to make an average of $11-$12 million a year, but it would be hard to imagine the Bears paying that.
Long was considered one of the truly elite left tackles earlier in his career, but his play suffered in the last two seasons, when he was sidelined with injuries. According to Pro Football Focus, Long was ranked 47th out of 75 tackles last season. In 2011, he was 21st but second in 2010 and second in 2009.
Long, though, is just 27 years old.
If Long is too expensive, there are several other notable options. Free-agent tackles include Sebastian Vollmer, Andre Smith, Jermon Bushrod, Phil Loadholt, Sam Baker, Eric Winston and Bryant McKinnie. It’s believed the Bears have expressed an interest in Bushrod and Loadholt, who would presumably be cheaper than Long.
Three were taken off the market: Branden Albert (franchised by the Kansas City Chiefs), Ryan Clady (franchised by the Denver Broncos) and Will Beatty (re-signed with New York Giants).