After he didn’t show up to voluntary OTAs in May in order to train on his own in Arizona, offensive lineman Gabe Carimi’s future with the Chicago Bears looked uncertain. General manager Phil Emery asserted that the team would welcome Carimi back, despite his struggles on the field and speculation earlier in the offseason suggesting he may be in danger of losing his roster spot, so the 2011 first-round pick was expected to be at mandatory minicamp this week.
But things appear to have changed, as Chicago traded Carimi to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday night in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2014. With experience at tackle and guard during his first two NFL seasons, Carimi should be at minimum a valuable depth piece and could compete for a starting job with the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay is well-situated at left tackle (Donald Penn), left guard (Carl Nicks), center (Jeremy Zuttah) and right guard (Davin Joseph), though Joseph is coming back from a torn patella tendon that he suffered during the 2012 preseason. So Carimi’s clearest path to a starting job looks to be at right tackle in a competition with Demar Dotson during training camp. The Buccaneers did sign Dotson to a four-year deal in March after his breakthrough season last season, but his total salary ($7.5 million) does not necessarily lock him into a starting job.
Carimi should benefit from a change of scenery, and he will not be forced into a role he isn’t ready for in Tampa Bay as he competes for a roster spot and possibly a starting job. Being reunited with Buccaneers’ offensive line coach Bob Bostad, who coached him in college at Wisconsin, should also benefit Carimi and may explain why the team made a trade to acquire him.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.