Last night on ESPN, analyst John Clayton suggested Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jake Long “could go to Chicago.”
For a guy who was the No. 1 pick and once considered a franchise building block, Miami doesn’t seem interested in keeping him around.
Long doesn’t appear to think the odds are in his favor either. A few weeks ago, he told the NFL Network, “I’d be open to continue my career there, but it’s essentially on them. [Let’s] see what they want to do and what direction they want to head in and go from there. That’s the business side of it so we’ll see what they want to do.”
It’s no secret the Chicago Bears need help on the O-line – seems like a win/win for both Long and the Bears. Chicago gets a franchise tackle they desperately need, and Long gets to play on (hopefully) a playoff-bound team.
But even though Long can probably command top dollar in the market, a history of injury could make a promising group of younger prospects like Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher and Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson look more appealing and cause Long’s value to drop.
However, Long isn’t too concerned about all the injury talk. In the same interview with the NFL Network, Long said, “The last couple of years I’ve had some injuries I’ve had to work through, it hasn’t been the ideal situation, but I’ve been working hard this off season to get healthy and get strong. And this is the best my body has felt in a long time and I’m just excited to get a deal done and focus on football and get back to work for 2013.”
Once NFL free agency begins, and Long hits the open market, he’s expected to generate a lot of interest (he is a four-time Pro Bowler, after all). But keep in mind, Long dismissed injury concerns at last year’s training camp, and he ended up finishing on injured reserve…for the second year in a row.