Most Bear fans (and apparently team officials) believe that Bears center Olin Kreutz will likely be a Bear next year. But Sean Jensen at the Chicago Sun-Times suggests that another team may take a run at Kreutz.
“First, without OTAs and minicamps, teams will be scrambling to solidify their starting lineups, especially up front.”
“Second, there are a handful of teams that might be in the market for a veteran center.”
“Third, if players get the high salary-cap floor in a new CBA, many teams will need to spend money.”
“The Baltimore Ravens lured Matt Birk away from the Minnesota Vikings with a three-year $12 million contract, half of which was guaranteed. But there were concerns about Birk’s health because of hernia and hip injuries.
That probably won’t be enough for Kreutz.”
First, the Bears might give Kreutz more than that for one year. But I can’t imagine they’ll sign him for three at his age. And for good reason. As pointed out in the article, he struggles inside against power in running situations. That’s bad news in a division with stellar defensive tackles. The Bears eventually need to upgrade the position even as they plan to replace him.
But I really doubt anyone is going to pay Kreutz more than the Bears will. The reason is very simple. He’s currently more valuable to the Bears than he would be to anyone else. He provides the team with needed leadership, bringing respect and authority that a veteran coming into a team like San Francisco for one year simply can’t exert.
If the Bears can’t resign Kreutz because some team wants to throw money at him, so be it. He was a great Bear and I wish him luck. I wouldn’t say he won’t be missed but strictly in terms of play on the field, the Bears will find someone comparable to play the position and someone else will just have to step up into a leadership role on offense. But, like almost everyone else involved, I expect him to be back.