Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.
Who is going to start at the important left tackle position for the Bears this year?
It's too early to say at this point. General manager Ryan Poles said recently at the NFL owners meetings that second-year pros Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom will compete for the starting jobs at both left and right tackle. But the Bears still could address the position in free agency and/or the draft. Said Poles: "We have two tackles now with Borom and Teven, and they will compete. But at the same time, we're always looking to add talent as well. So, if we add another tackle, I want to see all of those guys compete." Jenkins and Borom have experience at both left and right tackle. Said Poles: "We'll move them around and we'll let them compete and see what's the best fit. I know Teven was right in college. Larry was left in college. So there's a comfort level there. But Teven played some left last year coming off his whole medical situation, so we're going to play with that and we'll see where the best fit is." Asked if he's worried about potentially entrusting an inexperienced player to protect quarterback Justin Fields' blindside at left tackle, Poles said: "Larry played in the SEC at left; I think he'll be fine. Teven played last year at left; he has room to grow. So, they've done it. Yeah, sure, I would love to have experience, but sometimes it's just the way it all plays out."
How many of their own unrestricted free agents have the Bears re-signed?
The Bears have re-signed only two of their 27 unrestricted free agents: safety DeAndre Houston-Carson and long-snapper Patrick Scales . They've also added 10 unrestricted free agents from other teams since the start of the new league year: quarterback Trevor Siemian, center/guard Lucas Patrick, guard Dakota Dozier, receivers Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown, fullback Khari Blasingame, defensive tackle Justin Jones, defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, linebacker Nicholas Morrow and safety Dane Cruikshank.
Who is the Bears' lead contract negotiator under GM Ryan Poles when it comes to dealing with free agents?
Bears senior vice president/general counsel Cliff Stein is currently back negotiating contracts and managing the salary cap, roles he previously filled with the team from 2002-14. Here's what general manager Ryan Poles said recently at the NFL owners meetings about Stein's involvement in contract negotiations: "It was really cool to see Cliff back at it. You could tell he has a lot of respect from the agents from the time he did it before. They were excited to see him and hear his voice. And he has a wealth of knowledge that I know helped me and it helped [coach] Matt [Eberflus]. We have a nice little team that we've put together. He was a big part of this." Poles added that the negotiating and salary cap responsibilities will eventually transition to new Bears director of football administration Matt Feinstein, who spent the previous seven years working for the NFL, most recently as the league's director of labor relations. Said Poles: "We have a plan in place just because Matt hasn't done it from the team perspective, but he knows the ins and outs of all the rules. So, Cliff is taking the cap for the Bears right now and then we're going to transition over time. But it's Cliff's duty right now."
Chalk Talk features fan questions multiple times each week. Email your question to Larry.