2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

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2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 12:31 pm

The other thread has turned into a whole thing about Hicks, and is basically a shitshow. So here's a new one.

It's no secret that RG is a gaping hole on the OL, and while I've not completely given up on Rashaad Coward, it's clear he's not ready to start. In my perfect world, the Bears sign an actual experienced veteran center and let Whitehair/Daniels play the two positions they've excelled at.

Guards:
Brandon Scherff: He's probably going to be the top non QB free agent, and someone is going to give him a metric ton of money. I don't think the Bears will be in serious contention.

Kelechi Osemele: The Jets released him after some controversy about his shoulder. If he's healthy, he'd absolutely be worth a 1yr deal. But at 30, the Bears need to be cautious given the pickle that Long put them in with his health.

Joe Thuney: Hard to gauge his market because he was part of a bad Pats OL. I think he's an above average starter, and has experience at multiple positions.

Graham Glasgow: He was arguably the best and most consistent part of the Detroit OL, and they are willing to let him walk. So I'm not sure what that says.

Connor McGovern: He's a natural guard but was forced over to center due to injuries. I wanted him in the draft.

Center
Stefen Wisniewski: One of my ideal FA signings. Has played both guard and center, and has experience in the offense. Would allow the three interior players to play their best positions. He'd be a nice veteran presence in the middle.

B.J. Finney: Another dude I liked in the draft coming out of Kansas State. He's beefy and a load in the running game. Like the other guys, he's a center who has filled in a guard. He's played really well for the Steelers when given a chance.

Austin Blythe: Iowa guy, kind of a late bloomer. Similar to Wisniewski, he is a pure center who has also started at guard. He's coming off of a double shoulder surgery, so that is a concern.

Tackles:
Cornelius Lucas: Makes a lot of sense to keep him. He started eight games, including the last five, committed zero penalties and only gave up one sack. He's 29, but doesn't have a lot of mileage on him. Someone might want to look at him as a starter though, so he may price himself out.

Andrus Peat: Played guard due to injury and the fact that the Saints have two of the best offensive tackles in football. He was tied to the Bears leading up to the 2015 draft. He's definitely a tackle, likely on the left. At 26 he's still young, but he's going to get big money.

Ereck Flowers: Kind of revived his career in Washington albeit out of place at guard. The Redskins might place a pretty high priority on him given the pending departure of Scherff and the uncertainty of Trent Williams.

Cedric Ogbuehi: Has familiarity with Lazor. The one time heir to Andrew Whitworth, his development was kind of screwed up because Bengals. Held up well for the Jags when forced into action.

Germain Ifedi: The Hawks played him pretty much everywhere except center, but he finally started to live up to his draft status when they just left him alone at RT. He's kind of a penalty machine though, and after helping Seattle to a top 5 running game, some NFL folks feel like he's going to be shockingly overpaid.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 1:37 pm

Nice write up. A G/T flexible guy would be my ideal. It fills the most immediate RG need, but if a IOL is available at 43 or 50 and comes in and wins a job, that guy (say Flowers) could compete on the outside with Massie at RT. On the other hand, if no Value is at OL in the second, or there is value at OT, status quo is fine.

I doubt Lucas gets a legit starting job. With the a Bears having two starters who can play C, he would be a pretty good 6th man for the unit at a relatively low cost, I think.

Leno/Daniels/Whitehair/Draft Pick/FA/Lucas/Massie/Bars I think would be a decent 8 man unit, but they desperately need some youth on the outside. I'm already looking towards 2021 when they'll have a first rounder again and maybe can get a top tier OT prospect. Maybe one falls to 43 or 50 this year though.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 1:59 pm

I like the list. I really like Glasgow and being a Michigan fan and living near Detroit, I have seen a lot of him. He is mean and nasty. Would make an ideal RG for us. He has been number one on my FA list since Detroit was stupid enough to let him walk. I am also a McGovern fan and was on him during the draft so I share your thoughts there.

At OT, I like Flowers, Ogbuehi, and Ifedi. I think all still have potential and could upgrade us. I would stay away from Andrus Peat. He just seems to always be hurt and when I do watch him he looks weak and slow. I am not a fan there.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 2:00 pm

The Cooler King wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 1:37 pm
Nice write up. A G/T flexible guy would be my ideal. It fills the most immediate RG need, but if a IOL is available at 43 or 50 and comes in and wins a job, that guy (say Flowers) could compete on the outside with Massie at RT. On the other hand, if no Value is at OL in the second, or there is value at OT, status quo is fine.

I doubt Lucas gets a legit starting job. With the a Bears having two starters who can play C, he would be a pretty good 6th man for the unit at a relatively low cost, I think.

Leno/Daniels/Whitehair/Draft Pick/FA/Lucas/Massie/Bars I think would be a decent 8 man unit, but they desperately need some youth on the outside. I'm already looking towards 2021 when they'll have a first rounder again and maybe can get a top tier OT prospect. Maybe one falls to 43 or 50 this year though.
RE: Lucas - FA is incredibly weak at OT this year and every offseason there's one or two backup level guys who showed some promise and then come out of nowhere to get paid (Ty Nsekhe and Bobby Hart come to mind).

As far as the draft goes - I just hope Josh Jones falls to 43 and Tyler Biadasz or Jake Hanson are there at 50. Then all will be right with the world.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 2:57 pm

The Bears already have two guys who can play C (plus a 3rd guy already signed for cheap), sign someone to play RG. Scherff would be ideal but too expensive, so I would go with Thunney or Glasgow at hopefully a cap number that matches what we gain by Long retiring.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:40 pm

The Cooler King wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 1:37 pm
I'm already looking towards 2021 when they'll have a first rounder again and maybe can get a top tier OT prospect.
I think to be safe we have to assume that the Bears will need that pick for a QB.

I love Scherff but I think the Bears get outbid. I like the idea of center because I assume Whitehair would rather play guard, and I refuse to accommodate Trubisky's need to have his buddy play center. Thus I favor Wis or Finney. I loved Wis in the draft, and like his experience level. Finney impressed me this year and would probably be a cheaper option, but still a better than replacement level player.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:41 pm

Z Bear wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 2:57 pm
The Bears already have two guys who can play C (plus a 3rd guy already signed for cheap)
Have we seen that Daniels can play center in the NFL?
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:47 pm

In Lions Land they're saying that it doesn't make sense to pay a premium for an OG. To me, landing a sure thing like Glasgow in FA would lead to far more certainty than a draft pick. Sounds good to me.

But I also like the "get a C in FA" idea if we think it is easier, because both Whitehair and Daniels are strong at G.

I wonder what the new Oline coach thinks about Coward. Good to get a new coach if HH was indeed part of the problem. But also the timing with regard to replacing guys is unfortunate potential to throw out babies with the bathwater.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:54 pm

Daniels still can be a good NFL center, but if you've found he can play LG at an elite level, why keep messing with him? Whitehair may not be a great C, but he's a leader, and you need to anchor that position for the rest of the line to follow.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:07 pm

I'm a little wary of Sherff because of his injury history and the huge number he'd cost. I definitely want to address our OL in a big way though, he'd be a boom or bust kind of acquisition. Trent Williams (forgive me) is a generational talent at OT, if we're going to spend big on a guy with some injury history, I'd take him as he'd immediately anchor our entire OL and be cheaper than Sherff.

I'm also a little wary of moving Whitehair, who played better at C than G IMO, to RG. That's the power spot and Whitehair is more of a technique guy. He's a very good player so I'm sure he could handle it, but not sure it's his best position. I think Whitehair is a better C than Wisniewski (who I like also).

If we went with a straight "plug our hole at RG" angle, I'd prefer Finney from the Steelers. I like his C/G versatility, we'd have 3 guys really between him, Whitehair, and Daniels that could play any of those 3 positions. Or Iupati from Seattle. Those guys have the run game nastiness I'd like us to have here.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:13 pm

Z Bear wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 2:57 pm
The Bears already have two guys who can play C (plus a 3rd guy already signed for cheap), sign someone to play RG. Scherff would be ideal but too expensive, so I would go with Thunney or Glasgow at hopefully a cap number that matches what we gain by Long retiring.
As someone who has beaten the drum for Daniels playing center since he was drafted, I'm moving to the "leave him at guard" line of thinking. Daniels made the pro bowl as a guard. He was the 5th or 6th rated guard in the NFL after moving back there mid-season.

Whitehair is a guard playing center because there are no other options.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:16 pm

Didn’t both Whitehair and Daniels grade out in the top 5 once they switched back to last seasons positions?

I would think they leave them be now and target RG since we are kind of stuck with our tackles.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:21 pm

I don't think I care how they handle it so long as whatever course is set in 2020 is the course they stay on moving forward.

I'm of the opinion it is easier to find a center than it is a guard, so maybe they'll address the pivot in FA (Wisnewski) or target someone later on in the draft.

More and more, I want and EDGE and TE in round 2 of this draft.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:42 pm

crueltyabc wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:40 pm
The Cooler King wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 1:37 pm
I'm already looking towards 2021 when they'll have a first rounder again and maybe can get a top tier OT prospect.
I think to be safe we have to assume that the Bears will need that pick for a QB.
Perhaps, but if there was any doubt as to the prospects and if you had a viable Bridge QB guy, I'd rather build the line in advance of the next QB prospect. Lots of variables between now and then.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:26 pm

Totally agree there. It has multiple positive effects. 1) We see if Trubisky can be serviceable if he had a decent OL in front of him 2) We see improved running, which helps everything including our D 3) If we still fall flat, our next QB isn't saddled with a poor OL situation, causing us to wonder all over again if THAT GUY would be any good if he had a decent OL.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:20 pm

I loved Glasgow and liked McGovern in 2016.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:30 am

Honestly, I believe that Pace thinks he has a Super Bowl quality roster are every level accept the oline. I also don’t think he aims to fix this via free agency. I’m betting he drafts a OG/C and an OT early..I don’t hate the idea of using both second round picks.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:20 am

cblaz11 wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:30 am
Honestly, I believe that Pace thinks he has a Super Bowl quality roster are every level accept the oline. I also don’t think he aims to fix this via free agency. I’m betting he drafts a OG/C and an OT early..I don’t hate the idea of using both second round picks.
I agree that they may use multiple picks on the line.

As far as what pace thinks. He seems to have a pretty good poke face and keeps things close to the vest until they happen.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:08 am

As part of this FA / OL discussion, can we talk about Alex Bars? I mean seriously talk about him - not just wave a hand dismissing him as UDFA.

Although it is factually true and the way it worked out, there is a bigger story about the guy. He is ALSO the same guy who was a preseason all american before he was injured, and after two years of starting full seasons at RT and RG at ND would have been high draft pick the year before he came back for a final season as a grad student. What a mistake that was, huh? He's also the guy the Pats tried to poach and the Bears committed to retaining him. Was that just for depth, and really not a statement about wanting to keep him longer term?

Isn't it true that the year before he would likely have been drafted in the high rounds in 2018 similar to where the Bears are picking in April, if he hadn't returned for his 5th year? Isn't it also true that knee injury is likely healed, and perhaps the spot duty this season was more due to easing him in than anything? Didn't he look good in preseason, playing all over the place (granted, against backups).

My main question is this: Couldn't he be AS good an answer at RG than a 2nd or later round pick this year? Since folks are talking about grabbing a talented RG in the draft with a 2nd round pick, I'll ask.... don't the Bears already pretty much have that guy?
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:18 am

IE wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:08 am
As part of this FA / OL discussion, can we talk about Alex Bars? I mean seriously talk about him - not just wave a hand dismissing him as UDFA.

Although it is factually true and the way it worked out, there is a bigger story about the guy. He is ALSO the same guy who was a preseason all american before he was injured, and after two years of starting full seasons at RT and RG at ND would have been high draft pick the year before he came back for a final season as a grad student. What a mistake that was, huh? He's also the guy the Pats tried to poach and the Bears committed to retaining him. Was that just for depth, and really not a statement about wanting to keep him longer term?

Isn't it true that the year before he would likely have been drafted in the high rounds in 2018 similar to where the Bears are picking in April, if he hadn't returned for his 5th year? Isn't it also true that knee injury is likely healed, and perhaps the spot duty this season was more due to easing him in than anything? Didn't he look good in preseason, playing all over the place (granted, against backups).

My main question is this: Couldn't he be AS good an answer at RG than a 2nd or later round pick this year? Since folks are talking about grabbing a talented RG in the draft with a 2nd round pick, I'll ask.... don't the Bears already pretty much have that guy?
Biggest issue with Bars, besides his knee, is that we simply haven't seen him play. After the Bears matched the Patriots offer to keep him on the roster, I barely remember him being on the field. It's not that I want to write him off, but you can't look at Bars as a viable option since he's an unproven commodity. I think he'll have a Coward-like year this season being a bench/understudy that's ready for playing time when called upon.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:24 am

UOK wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:18 am
IE wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:08 am
As part of this FA / OL discussion, can we talk about Alex Bars? I mean seriously talk about him - not just wave a hand dismissing him as UDFA.

Although it is factually true and the way it worked out, there is a bigger story about the guy. He is ALSO the same guy who was a preseason all american before he was injured, and after two years of starting full seasons at RT and RG at ND would have been high draft pick the year before he came back for a final season as a grad student. What a mistake that was, huh? He's also the guy the Pats tried to poach and the Bears committed to retaining him. Was that just for depth, and really not a statement about wanting to keep him longer term?

Isn't it true that the year before he would likely have been drafted in the high rounds in 2018 similar to where the Bears are picking in April, if he hadn't returned for his 5th year? Isn't it also true that knee injury is likely healed, and perhaps the spot duty this season was more due to easing him in than anything? Didn't he look good in preseason, playing all over the place (granted, against backups).

My main question is this: Couldn't he be AS good an answer at RG than a 2nd or later round pick this year? Since folks are talking about grabbing a talented RG in the draft with a 2nd round pick, I'll ask.... don't the Bears already pretty much have that guy?
Biggest issue with Bars, besides his knee, is that we simply haven't seen him play. After the Bears matched the Patriots offer to keep him on the roster, I barely remember him being on the field. It's not that I want to write him off, but you can't look at Bars as a viable option since he's an unproven commodity. I think he'll have a Coward-like year this season being a bench/understudy that's ready for playing time when called upon.
Yeah - I understand that. But if we're talking about draft picks that's a level playing field for Bars, since we haven't seen a pick in the NFL either. Bars may even have an advantage over a pick in terms of NFL readiness.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:37 am

Regarding Bars...I think a bunch was made of the Heistand/Bars connection, and most fans overvalue their UDFA's naturally. He got a year of pro S&C in him, which he needed, but he was unable to see the field at all and was behind Coward, who struggled mightily, so that's not a good sign IMO. Personally, I wanted to see him play at the end of the year and see how he did, but it wouldn't have really mattered against the Vikings 2nd stringers. We have a new OL coach so he'll get a fresh eval and we'll see. It's just impossible for fans to project anything from a UDFA who didn't see the field, we just have no basis to evaluate him on any grounds other than his draft position and the fact that he sat behind Coward tells us something.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:54 am

Other than the knee (which I assume is fully healthy now, the uncertainty with him should be not too different than a draft pick, though. Maybe less. He has a full developmental year. Granted, at least part was continuing rehab.

But then I agree the lack of playing time is a question. I've attributed it to rehabilitation and just plain NFL acclimation. He did play in 5 games, although I don't remember at all including 9 snaps against the Vikes. Plus ST snaps.

Perhaps we're underestimating how much they like/liked Coward even though the performance was what it was.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:10 pm

RE: Bars, yeah he could be the answer at RG or RT, but as fans we have no way of knowing. It would be phenomenal if he ended up being a starter level player though. Would solve a lot of problems.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:45 pm

I think Bars was playing some FG protection and jumbo goal line packages in those games so he wasn't super noticeable. If his knee was the problem, would he be in for these snaps? I think it's very telling that when they wanted to replace Coward at the very very end of the season they played Larsen. It's one thing to be behind a project in the depth chart, it's another to be behind an older fringe player who will not be on the roster next year. He might develop over the offseason or maybe Castillo loves him, but I think we have to assume that players like Bars and the various PS TEs are fighting for a roster spot and will be competing with new additions favored by Pace.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:33 pm

Yea, seems he's strictly a development guy. It's great and all to say he would have been a high pick before, but with 2 additional years of data, hard to handlg your hat on that fact.

I really wanted to see him get a chance, but I trust there must be a good reason he didn't.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:13 pm

The simple explanation is usually the correct explanation. Bars opted to stay with the Bears in large part because of the Heistand connection. I think that connection is very relevant.

You can't go into next season counting on him. You can go into next season with him competing for the spot...there's nothing wrong with that at all. But to suppose Bars is a potential solution because he was once a highly regarded prospect, is a recipe for disaster.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:14 pm

He had I think 12 or so snaps on O, (9 against Vikes) and upwards of 20-25 on ST. He was a ST guy basically.

It might be worth watching his 1-2 drives against the Vikes. I think I will.

I'm not saying he's the answer. But I am saying that we shouldn't assume a 2nd or 4th round RG are going to step in better than he could. There's not a ton of basis for that either. Although I'd assume a G out of LSU or Auburn could step in, I don't think it is automatically safe to assume they'd be better than Bars to justify the investment.

I guess this is where we learn by what they do! LOL
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:30 pm

UOK wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:54 pm
Daniels still can be a good NFL center, but if you've found he can play LG at an elite level, why keep messing with him? Whitehair may not be a great C, but he's a leader, and you need to anchor that position for the rest of the line to follow.
Whitehair's not played much at guard, so it's difficult to assess him at that position. There seems to be some assumption that he's a really good guard and better at that position than at center, probably due to the fact that he was drafted to play there, but no real data to back up that assumption.

However all the assessments I've seen of Whitehair online since his rookie year is that he's around the 7th or 8th best center in the league. His one major failing is the consistency of his shotgun snaps, but he shows impressive strength against much bigger interior DL. If Daniels graded out as a top 5 guard and Whitehair is a top 8 center then leave them the hell alone. For that reason I'm in the bring in a RG camp.

The Bears aren't really in a position to upgrade at OT via free agency this season due to Leno and Massie's contracts. That changes next year. This year I'd look to the draft for OT and focus on RG in free agency.

As for Bars, I'm with those who have doubts. We'd all love him to be a diamond in the rough, but he must have been so far down the pecking order for a reason. Long was desperate, Coward was all over the place and even Larsen got the nod ahead of Bars, and that was with his college O-line coach on staff. The only positive indication that he's got something about him is the interest from the Patriots.

But even if Bars does turn out well, bringing in a FA guard or drafting another still makes a ton of sense. Bars is on a cheap UDFA deal, Daniels is also cheap for another couple of seasons. Keep churning that talent pool. Even if all your additions work out you can't keep them all long term; the salary cap doesn't allow it.
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Re: 2020 Free Agency Discussion: OL

Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:17 pm

wab wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:13 pm
The simple explanation is usually the correct explanation. Bars opted to stay with the Bears in large part because of the Heistand connection. I think that connection is very relevant.

You can't go into next season counting on him. You can go into next season with him competing for the spot...there's nothing wrong with that at all. But to suppose Bars is a potential solution because he was once a highly regarded prospect, is a recipe for disaster.
I don't ever like all my eggs in one basket that's for sure. I just don't see how a 2nd rounder is any more of a sure thing for the reasons I mentioned. Just testing the thinking. Since there are two, it seems a RG for one is the right thing to do. That said, I think I'd prefer a guy like Glasgow as more of a sure thing, keep Coward and Bars to fight for the backup spot, and use that 2nd rounder on a swing T or Edge or DB or whatever.
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