May 20, 2024

Insider Indicates Bears Ready to Make Significant Move in Free Agency for Center Position

The Chicago Bears are poised to make a substantial investment in bolstering their offensive line this offseason, with particular emphasis on securing a top-tier center.

Denver Broncos Center Lloyd Cushenberry III Seems to Have Already Earned  the Trust of Russell Wilson & Nathaniel Hackett - Sports Illustrated Mile  High Huddle: Denver Broncos News, Analysis and More

In his recent mailbag on February 21, Brad Biggs, an insider for the Chicago Tribune, addressed the possibility of the Bears pursuing Denver Broncos center Lloyd Cushenberry in free agency. Biggs suggested that the Bears are likely to allocate significant funds to address the center position in the upcoming free agency period.

“Cushenberry, a third-round selection by the Denver Broncos in 2020, has amassed 57 starts in his career and is a notable candidate in free agency. He has demonstrated improvement with experience despite numerous changes in Denver and could command a contract averaging around $10 million annually, possibly more,” wrote Biggs in his analysis.

Biggs’ focus on Cushenberry in free agency carries weight given his extensive tenure covering the Bears for over two decades. His insight suggests a strong indication of the team’s intentions.

The Bears’ emphasis on the center position aligns with their anticipated selection of a rookie quarterback with their top draft pick this year. Having a seasoned veteran at center who can quickly decipher defenses and provide leadership will be vital for the team’s success.

Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus echoed this sentiment, stating, “Cushenberry represents a significant investment at center. Considering the youth and affordability of the offensive line, it’s a prudent move. Securing an experienced interior lineman proficient in pass protection will be invaluable in nurturing a rookie quarterback.”

 

Examining Cushenberry’s performance in 2023, he logged 1,069 snaps at center (647 in pass protection, 423 in run blocking), allowing just 1 sack, 4 quarterback hits, and 9 hurries, according to Pro Football Focus. His consistency in pass protection has improved notably over the last two seasons.

As a third-round pick from LSU in 2020, Cushenberry has amassed 57 starts in his first four years, showcasing intelligence, durability, and effective communication on the field. His proficiency in run blocking has steadily improved each season, making him a desirable acquisition for the Bears.

Pro Football Focus projects Cushenberry to secure a lucrative four-year contract worth $57.1 million, with $34.25 million guaranteed. While he may not yet match the stature of top-paid centers like Jason Kelce of the Philadelphia Eagles, Cushenberry’s youth and potential for growth make him an appealing prospect.

For the Bears, who have lacked stability at the center position for several years, signing Cushenberry would provide much-needed consistency. If Chicago indeed decides to make a significant investment in free agency, targeting Cushenberry could prove to be a wise decision. The outcome of their endeavors will become clearer as free agency unfolds.

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