It’s unusual for Bears general manager Jerry Angelo to strike quickly in free agency unless there’s an urgency at a particular position. With John Tait considering retirement and John St. Clair possibly departing as a free agent, the Bears were left with a major vacancy at offensive tackle.
Just hours into the 2009 free agency period, Angelo addressed that position by agreeing to a four-year contract with Frank Omiyale, formerly of the Carolina Panthers.
Omiyale is said to be capable of playing both tackle and guard, which is a good commodity to have on a team that arguably needs help at both positions.
While he doesn’t possess a familiar name, I think his addition will be a solid one. He started only one game for Carolina last year, a 34-0 victory over the Chiefs in which the Panthers rushed for 205 yards.
While he didn’t play a significant role for the Panthers — in addition to his lone start, he appeared in 10 games — he surely learned something about what it takes to be an offensive lineman for a run-oriented team. Carolina had the third-best rushing attack in the league last year.
I’m pleased with the move as it addresses one area of need that required attention in free agency. Whether or not the Bears will look at quarterbacks and safeties is not yet known, but should be on the agenda.