In a move to shore up their offensive line depth, the Bears signed a familiar face in guard Ted Larsen to a one-year contract Wednesday, the first day of the NFL’s new league year.
Larsen, who turns 32 in June, returns for a second stint in Chicago after appearing in all 16 games with eight starts during the 2016 season. Drafted by the New England Patriots in the sixth round in 2010, Larsen spent the past two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, starting 21 of a possible 32 games. In his career, the 6-foot-3, 323-pound blocker has logged 86 starts in 125 appearances with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Bears and Dolphins.
Larsen likely is signing for something close to the veteran’s minimum of about $1.5 million, making the journeyman a logical insurance plan behind oft-injured 30-year-old right guard Kyle Long and second-year left guard James Daniels. With the versatility to line up at any of the three interior spots, not to mention the salty style sure to bring added intensity back to training camp in Bourbonnais – where he was a regular instigator three summers ago – Larsen’s arrival could signal the departures of free agents Eric Kush and Bryan Witzmann.
Now that the new league year is underway, the Bears’ signings of running back Mike Davis, cornerback Buster Skrine and kick returner-wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson will become official, as will the release of kicker Cody Parkey with a post-June 1 designation.
The Bears also opted not to tender restricted free agents safety DeAndre Houston-Carson, their leader in special-teams tackles combined over the past two seasons, and long snapper Patrick Scales, who appeared in 37 games – including the past 33 consecutively – dating back to 2015.
Both players are free to sign with any team – including the Bears – and won’t affect the 2020 compensatory pick formula. They’re notable mainly because of the voids their departures would create in a third phase in need of near-wholesale upgrades. Additionally, the Bears haven’t replaced starting strong safety Adrian Amos, and Houston-Carson, after a strong training camp last summer before breaking his arm, was thought by some to be a dark-horse candidate.