Every time really good players get close to free agency team scramble to re-sign them or at worst trade them. The Houston Texans have that problem coming with tackle Duane Brown. Could the Chicago Bears make a run at him?
Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall will only work with great protection
The quarterback is the most important player on the field. Wide receivers are the ones who catch the passes to win games. In the modern NFL this is how teams often win championships. Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Eli Manning all had great receivers. Now it seems Chicago has hopped on board for the first time in decades. They got their quarterback in Jay Cutler three years ago and made a big move for his favorite receiver Brandon Marshall when free agency started. Already experts see the Bears having one of the top quarterback-receiver combos in the league this season. That's just from experience since the two went to the Pro Bowl together in Denver. The only thing that can throw a wrench in their plans is the same as on any team: protection. Fewer offensive line have taken a bigger media beating than the Chicago Bears, with good reason. Since 2010 the unit has given up 105 sacks. Team GM Phil Emery made few friends when he chose not to add help through the draft. He felt adding weapons and changing coaches would help more. Whether he's right or not won't become clear for months. On the other hand it's never too late to plan.
Future of Matt Schaub puts Brown priority in the fog for Texans
The Houston Texans don't lack talent on their offensive line but the key for the past few years is left tackle Duane Brown. Only 26-years old he enters the last year of his rookie contract and could reach free agency next season unless Houston does something. The problem is two other vital pieces of the team will do the same. Defensive end Connor Barwin, who broke out with 11.5 sacks last season is a priority on defense while quarterback Matt Schaub still hasn't even talked to the team about an extension of his own. Given the team runs their offense through All-Pro running back Arian Foster says they might take a risk on moving on without Schaub if a deal doesn't work out. That all depends on how much confidence coaches have in second-year man T.J. Yates or free agents John Beck and Casey Keenum. If they do choose to keep Schaub in place then it could become Brown who might leave. Houston must then either let him go or plan to trade him before his contract expires. A line needy team like Chicago might jump at the chance to get him since left tackle is largely the main point of concern for fans.
Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall offer a bright future for the Chicago Bears but not unless the offensive line can show up. Since the Houston Texans have several contract headaches coming up including Matt Schaub, a slight window could open for them to woo Duane Brown.