LAKE FOREST- Late Sunday night it was announced that the Bears had traded offensive lineman Gabe Carimi. The 2011 first round draft pick was sent to Tampa Bay in exchange for a sixth round draft pick for 2014.
Carimi had been the subject of many offseason conversations, especially during the Bears Offseason Team Activities that took place over the last couple of weeks.
After being drafted in 2011, Carimi’s rookie season was cut short with a knee injury which required surgery. He would miss most of the 2012 offseason workouts due to rehab and recovery.
When the 24-year-old suited up for the 2012 season he wasn’t the same player. His failure to protect Jay Cutler and Jason Campbell resulted in former head coach Lovie Smith moving Carimi to guard before benching him altogether.
During the offseason the Bears added 10 new offensive linemen into the mix. This includes tackle Jerrod Bushman along with draft picks Kyle Long and Jordan Mills.
Carimi attended the veteran mini-camp back in April, but opted to no-show the OTAs in May. It was revealed that the former Wisconsin standout decided to train on his own in Arizona instead.
While Bears general manager Phil Emery “respected” Carimi’s decision not to attend the voluntary workouts, his teammates decided for the most part not to comment on the issue.
This led many to believe that the Bears would much rather have Carimi on hand learning the new offense being brought in by Marc Trestman and Aaron Kromer.
During last week’s final round of OTAs, Phil Emery said that Carimi would be in attendance for this week’s mandatory mini-camps. This is no longer the case now that Carimi has been moved.
While no definite reason has been given for the Bears decision to trade Carimi, there is plenty of speculation as to why this was done. Some believe that it was indeed his absence from OTAs that forced the Bears hand.
Since he missed out on the “voluntary” workouts, it put him behind the rest of the team in regards to learning the new playbook. There is also some belief that because of his poor play last season, combined with missing the team workouts, there was no guarantee that he would make the roster.
Not helping matters was the addition of all of the new lineman that were brought in to help boost the position. There was also some concern as to whether or not Carimi was 100-percent healthy and in shape to begin with.
That could be the reason why he skipped out on OTAs. Whatever the case may be, the Bears have avoided a potential distraction by trading Carimi. They also avoid paying him the remainder of his $1 million guaranteed salary for this year.
This trade also prevents the Bears from taking a cap hit which would have been the case had they flat out released him. With his roster spot now available, expect the Bears to either add a fourth quarterback or bring in another defensive tackle.
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