The Chicago Bears have jumped ship on their former 1st round pick, Gabe Carimi. Tampa Bay took the bait at the expense of a 6th round pick, but is he even worth the catch?
The move seems a bit odd seeing how Chicago’s line looked abysmal at best in providing Jay Cutler some time to react in the pocket last season. Chicago ranked 25th in the NFL as an offensive line–giving up 44 sacks during the regular season–but they acquired Jermon Bushrod and Roberto Garza as unrestricted free agents and also spent a 1st round pick this past April on Oregon OG, Kyle Long. Apparently this was enough to ditch their former 2011 1st round pick after just two seasons.
Despite losing All-Pro guards Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks to injury early in the season, the Bucs finished in the top 5 as an offensive line rendering only 26 sacks. At this point in the offseason, Tampa’s 2013 O-Line is projected as followed:
LT, Donald Penn: Five-year starter for the Bucs, Pro Bowler in 2010. He has never missed a game due to injury and only allowed two sacks last year.
LG, Carl Nicks: Acquired as an unrestricted free agent in 2012, Pro Bowler in 2010 and 2011. He was placed on IR after week 9 due to a toe injury, but hopes to be near 100 percent at the beginning of training camp.
C, Jeremy Zuttah: Drafted by Tampa in 2008. He’s been a fill-in player to this point in his career, but started at center in 2012. Baring injury, he’ll start at center again in 2013.
RG, Davin Joseph: Six-year starter for the Bucs, Pro Bowler in 2008 and 2011. He tore his patellar tendon in the preseason last year but hopes to be ready by training camp as well.
RT, Demar Dotson/Gabe Carimi: This is where things get interesting. Dotson was signed by Tampa as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and beat out Jeremy Trueblood for the staring RT spot in 2012. Because of this, Dotson signed a four-year extension with the team. As for Carimi, he has the talent to start in the NFL, but injuries and multiple surgeries have held him from being 100 percent during his first two years as a pro. Despite injuries, he started 10 games at RT and 3 games at RG last year.
With Dotson’s new contract I don’t see Carimi starting week 1 at any spot on the line. However, with health uncertainties still looming around Nicks and Joseph, trading a 6th round pick for a good insurance policy (if healthy) is well worth the price. Low risk, high reward.