The Chicago Bears today announced the signing of veteran center Roberto Garza to a one-year contract. Garza will make $1.5 million in 2014, which is roughly $545,000 more than the veteran minimum for a 13-year veteran ($955,000). That's good value for the leader of the team's front five.
The move was a smart one by GM Phil Emery, as it allows the offense to retain continuity heading into next season. Last year, the team's first under head coach Marc Trestman, the Bears finished eighth in total offense, fifth in passing offense and second in scoring.
That was the production under a brand new head coach and offensive coordinator, a new blocking system and four new starters along the offensive line.
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty
With the signing of Garza, the Bears will bring back all 11 starters from last season, as well as role-playing backups Earl Bennett and Michael Bush. If GM Phil Emery can ink Josh McCown in the next few weeks, that means every single critical component from one of the top offenses in the league will return in 2014.
Think about the ramifications of that in Trestman's second year at the helm. Trestman did wonders with team's quarterbacks - both Jay Cutler and McCown had the best years of their respective careers - while coordinator Aaron Kromer's offensive line allowed the third fewest sacks in the league. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery were the most potent receiving duo in the league and Matt Fort finished second in the NFL in rushing. Martellus Bennett ascended into the franchise record books for his play last year and rookie guard Kyle Long made the Pro Bowl.
All those players, as well as two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jermon Bushrod and recently signed left guard Matt Slauson, will be back next season. Trestman accomplished wonders installing a brand new system with players he'd never before coached. Now he gets them all back. There will be no learning curve and the offense will be able to seamlessly transition back into the system come the start of OTAs and training camp.
The Bears were very good on offense last year and have the potential to be great next year. If we're entering the NFL's age of offensive football, Chicago is well prepared for the days ahead.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is entering his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.