After years of neglecting the franchise quarterback they traded a king’s ransom to acquire, the Chicago Bears have finally given Jay Cutler a fairly explosive arsenal. This in large part comes thanks to major moves over the last two offseasons that have equipped Cutler with weapons and protection via trade, free agency and the draft.
But for the first time since Greg Olsen got shipped off, the Bears have added immediate help particularly at tight end and offensive line. The signings of tight end Martellus Bennett (four years, $20 million) and left tackle Jermon Bushrod (five years, $35.9 million) address an area that’s been woefully underwhelming during Cutler’s four seasons in Chicago.
Last year the Bears started Kellen Davis at tight end, who had fewer catches in his career than Bennett had last year. J’Marcus Webb had been a disaster at left tackle up until a decent 2012 campaign but will now be moved to put out the grease-fire at right tackle, where 2011 first-rounder Gabe Carimi has been abysmal. Bushrod isn’t viewed as a huge upgrade on Webb, but a Bushrod-Webb bookend to the offensive line certainly trumps a Webb-Carimi bookend. Chicago will likely see if Carimi — lauded more for his run-blocking — can flourish at right guard.
The Bears also made good for Cutler last offseason by trading for WR Brandon Marshall, drafting WR Alshon Jeffery, retaining RB Matt Forte and signing RB Michael Bush. Cutler apologists had good reason to point toward a lack of pass protection and passing options in recent years, but will have a hard time doing that in 2013.