As first reported by The Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Bears will officially announce tomorrow the contract extension of Roberto Garza, the team’s starting center. Garza was set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season but will now be with the team through 2013.
The two-year deal is worth $6.55 million, with $2.6 million guaranteed. Garza first signed with the Bears in 2005 as unrestricted free agent. He started seven games that season at right guard. The following offseason, he signed a six-year extension worth $12.8 million. That contract was due to expire at the end of this year.
The 32-year-old has been the team’s full-time starter the past six seasons, starting in all but two games during that span. Most of his starts came at right guard yet he moved inside to center this year after Olin Kreutz’s departure. He’s played well inside, while also taking on a leadership role in the locker room. He was named a team captain before the season.
The 10-year veteran is making $2.7 million, a relatively low sum considering his experience in the league. The Bears are reportedly sitting about $18-$19 million under the current cap. The deal got in under today’s deadline to count bonus money in the contract against this year’s salary cap.
It was a smart move by the Bears, especially considering how well the offensive line has played the past month. Keeping the leader of that front five in place provides continuity and trust.
Yet one has to wonder what Matt Forte is thinking right now.
GM Jerry Angelo told the press a few weeks back that much of the money the organization is sitting on will go toward re-signing current players on the roster, 15 of which will be free agents after this season. WR Earl Bennett and DE Israel Idonije will very likely receive extension offers, and possibly TE Kellen Davis, CB Tim Jennings, CB Corey Graham and DT Amobi Okoye.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.