The Chicago Bears officially watched a former starter ink a deal with a new team on May 15. They had 14 players appear in all 17 games last season and, of those, only two were offensive linemen.
They have committed to one, left tackle Braxton Jones, for the foreseeable future. The other, center Sam Mustipher, was allowed to walk away as a free agent this offseason. But he has now found a new home and top-10 odds at a Super Bowl, per Vegas Insider.
“Ravens have been looking to add more interior OL depth,” tweeted Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic confirming the signing on May 15. “They also didn’t have backup center after Trystan Colon signed w/Jets. Mustipher is an Owings Mills native, so he’ll be coming home. He started 40 games for the Bears over past 3 seasons.”
Baltimore Ravens Add Former Chicago Bears Starter
Sam Mustipher was Durable
Things did not go well for Mustipher last season.
He graded out as the Bears; worst starting lineman, per Pro Football Focus. But, as a former undrafted free agent in 2020 out of Notre Dame, he is no stranger to adversity.
"I work too hard for there to be a disadvantage."
LOVE that line from #Bears C Sam Mustipher
— Josh Buckhalter (@JoshGBuck) August 23, 2022
Mustipher wound up as the Bears’ starting center last season after 2022 offseason free-agent acquisition Lucas Patrick suffered a string of injuries starting in training camp that limited him to just five starts in seven total appearances and only 10 snaps all season at center.
With Patrick under contract this season and the Bears adding Nate Davis at right guard and Darnell Wright at right tackle – alongside incumbents Jenkins, Jones, and Cody Whitehair, it was clear fairly early on that Mustipher would be the odd man and at best would have had to fight for a roster spot this time around.
Already free to pursue new opportunities, he lands in a pretty good one, just one play away from potentially snapping the ball to former MVP Lamar Jackson.
Bears Lock Up Three More Rookies
“Bears first-round pick Darnell Wright, third-round pick Zacch Pickens and fourth-round pick Tyler Scott each signed Monday,” reported ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter on May 15. That brings the total number of signees from the 2023 NFL Draft class to seven. They previously signed four other rookies on May 9 – linebacker Noah Sewell, defensive lineman Travis Bell, as well as defensive backs Terrell Smith and Kendall Williamson.
Fresh ink for the rooks ✍️ pic.twitter.com/jDaK4pMUw6
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 15, 2023
That just leaves second-round picks Gervon Dexter Sr. and Tyrique Stevenson and fourth-round running back Roshon Johnson who could have a chance to steal away the starting job this offseason.
Mustipher joins former Bears linebacker Roquan Smith who was traded to Baltimore last season.
Bears Add Former Pro Bowler to Coaching Staff
The Bears announced the hiring of two new coaches as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship on May 15. Both are former NFL players and one, former Tennesee Titans running back Eddie George was a multi-time Pro Bowler in his nine-year career. He is also the current head coach at HBCU Tennesse State University
Chicago’s other hire – Randy Shannon – is a former linebacker who spent two years with the Dallas Cowboys from 1989 through 1990 and brings over 30 years of coaching experience.
Shannon is the current co-defensive coordinator at Florida State.
“We are very excited to welcome these two highly talented coaches in Eddie and Randy. Allowing them to join our staff during our OTAs enables us to offer this unique opportunity to current college coaches during their offseason,” Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said, per the team website. “We are confident that these coaches will be great assets to our team during their time here, and we are looking forward to learning from them as well.”
Bears GM Sends Strong Message on Plans to Fix Glaring Roster Flaw
The program was created to give coaches their first taste of NFL coaching during training camps to aid in securing a full-time position in the future.
Chicago has previously worked with other ex-players such as former journeyman quarterback Henry Burris who former head coach Matt Nagy made a quality assurance coach during the 2021 season.