The Bears gave veteran center Olin Kreutz one final offer Saturday night of one year for $4 million. The deal reportedly was $500,000 less than what Kreutz was seeking and the two sides refused to split the difference.
The Bears’ backup plan is Chris Spencer, whom they signed to a two-year deal on Sunday.
Spencer, who was drafted by current Bears director of player personnel Tim Ruskell in Seattle, is a six-year veteran who has high expectations for his time with the Bears.
“I think he’s going to be the guy to help me get to the Pro Bowl,” Spencer said of Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice.
What can you say about a guy like that other than at least he has high confidence?
The truth is, Spencer has the unenviable task of following Kreutz at a position at which he was a stalwart for more than a decade. Kreutz was synonymous with toughness and with leadership and earned an outpouring of support from teammates when it became clear that contract talks had broken down. Kreutz was a six-time Pro Bowl selection and while his skills slowly deteriorated, he was always the “glue” guy that stabilized the line.
Personally, I feel a more appropriate goal for Spencer at this point would be earning his teammates’ and linemates’ trust than getting to the Pro Bowl. He’s got some awfully big shoes to fill.