One of the ongoing storylines this offseason for the Chicago Bears has been the role Gabe Carimi will fall into. It ended up being a trading chip, getting shipped away to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a sixth round draft pick, while the chance they gave JaMarcus Russell to impress them hasn’t worked out, and he isn’t likely to be signed.
Carimi was a first round draft pick by the Bears in 2011, but with the change of the coaching staff after a second consecutive season finishing outside of the playoffs, the experimentation with the offensive lineman, who played as both right tackle and right guard last season, was going to end.
The Bears were all set in terms of their starters, and the only thing Carimi had left to fight for was trying to find a place in the depth chart, but his ability at right guard hasn’t been impressive enough to warrant a place on the team, giving him away to the Bucs. He started only two games during his rookie season at right tackle before a knee injury took him out for the season, and last season lost the starting job at right guard halfway through the season, playing between guard and tackle till the end of the season.
Carimi has two years left on a contract that guaranteed his base salary in the second and third years of the deal, including a base salary of $1.01 million in 2013. As for someone looking to find himself a guaranteed contract at any kind of role, JaMarcus Russell isn’t likely to be playing in the NFL next season, or at least not for the Bears.
Depite the encouraging signs of his comeback, not a lot of teams have taken a keen interest in Russell’s attempt to find a place once again as a backup in the NFL. Russell did show a big arm and a positive demeanor but obviously, being away from football for so long, his timing and accuracy were quite rusty, not to mention the Bears already having two guys behind Jay Cutler (Josh McCown and Matt Blanchard).
There aren’t that many spots up for the taking in the NFL at the moment, even for a third string-quarterback. Russell might now get a chance with someone else for a workout, and it’s clear he has come a long way over the last five months in both reducing his weight and getting back in throwing shape, but it might not be enough to get him an NFL job in 2013.