Dec 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) at the line of scrimmage with center Brian de la Puente (60) during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium. The Saints beat the Cowboys 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

What Chicago Bears Achieved By Inking Brian De La Puente

Brian De La Puente was yet another underrated steal for the Chicago Bears in free agency.  What does his addition mean?

Roberto Garza insurance now in the Bears camp

For the past few months Bears fans have picked over the current roster looking for potential weaknesses that must be sewn up before the season begins in September.  While defense of course rules the roost, many consider the center position highest on the priority of offensive areas in need of help.  Roberto Garza experienced a nice recovery last seasons, guiding the Chicago offensive line to one of its best performances in years, ranking 4th in the league in fewest sacks allowed.  That is why the team elected to bring him back in free agency.  However, that doesn’t dismiss facts.  Garza, for all his amazing durability and leadership turned 35-years old in March.  His time in the pros is running short and the Bears have to start thinking about replacements.  The only body they had for depth on the roster was journeyman Taylor Boggs who has never played a live snap in the regular season.  Thus the best way to grab insurance for Garza was via the NFL draft, probably in the mid to later rounds.  The signing of Brian De La Puente changes that.  Though he’s only inked on a one-year deal, Chicago now has a 28-year old veteran in their midst with loads of starting experience under his belt.  Since getting on the field in 2011 he has never missed a started and rated among the best centers in the league according to Pro Football Focus.

Center no longer a concern in NFL draft for Phil Emery

Having him in camp is a blessing because not only do they have outstanding insurance in case Garza goes down with injury, they now have an experienced replacement they can easily extend with a new contract by next season to take over in the middle.  On top of that, the move also pretty much eliminates the center position from the equation for the upcoming NFL draft.  That means the Chicago Bears have more freedom to go after players of value rather than need.  For example if there’s another defender worth taking in the later rounds, or a receiver, or a running back or a tight end or even a quarterback the latitude has grown extensively.  One slightly unforeseen possibility is it also frees up an extra pick for Emery to use in a trade should he see a player of outstanding value within reach.

All of that has come to fruition thanks to the inking of Brian De La Puente to a remarkably cheap deal.  The Chicago Bears will only be the better for it.

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Tags: Brian De La Puente Chicago Bears NFL Draft Phil Emery Roberto Garza

  • Big Swede

    Anybody else notice that with GM Phil Emery in charge, (with all due respect to George McCaskey, Ted Phillips and Cliff Stein), the Bears seem like an organization that has gone from the Flintstones to the Jetsons practically overnight?

    I’m just hoping all these moves he’s making work out as planned…. but they are sure looking good in theory.

    • Erik Lambert

      The guy always seems to have a plan. He’s very organized, methodical and remarkably discreet. Combine that with an aggressive mentality and it’s really exciting to see what he’s done. People get on him about what happened last year but his plan was unraveled early by the injury to Turk McBride and retirement of Sedrick Ellis. This time you can see he’s set the roster up not just with talent in mind but depth as well. He’s free to pursue the best talent he can find in the draft and it’s awesome.