Lance Louis has departed for the Miami Dolphins in free agency, brushing away another vestige from the dark ages of Chicago Bears offensive line play. The franchise moves on with splash moves like left tackle Jermon Bushrod and tight end Martellus Bennett, who could both very well improve the blocking effort. Louis had been a starter in Chi-town the past couple seasons and shifted between tackle and guard — ranking 146 out of 148 tackles by Pro Football Focus in the year Chicago tried him at tackle.
But at guard, Louis was hardly the primary problem with the Bears offensive line: PFF rated him as their second-highest graded played with at least 150 snaps on that line in 2012, while recording the fourth-most snaps among Chicago lineman. Granted, no one on the line graded exactly well, but the Bears have a lot of fixing to do and moving on from Louis didn’t seem like a key part of this remodeling.
Also, Louis is still hitting his prime at age 28 with much development still very possible.
“Interesting that Lance Louis is one free agent that got away from Bears as he is younger than others re-signed,” the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs said.
Louis was recovering from an ACL tear but should be ready for training camp, except for the first time since the Bears snagged him in the seventh round back in 2009, he’ll be donning a different uniform. In the meantime, it looks like the Bears will sport a somewhat new-look offensive line bookended by Bushrod and J’Marcus Webb with 2011 draftee Gabe Carimi moved inside to guard.