Free agent offensive lineman Manny Ramirez will visit with the Bears, according to Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune. Ramirez was traded from the Broncos to the Lions during last year’s draft in a deal that allowed Denver to move up and select Missouri pass rusher Shane Ray, but it was revealed last month that Ramirez would not return to the Lions for the upcoming season. Ramirez saw time in all 16 games this for Detroit in 2015, but he started only seven of those games as he was relegated to the bench in favor of younger interior linemen. He did, however, grade out as the league’s fourth-best center per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required), so there’s reason to believe that the 33-year-old could still have something left in the tank.
As Biggs observes, the Bears are seeking competition for second-year center Hroniss Grasu, whom Chicago selected in the third round of last year’s draft. Ramirez has also seen time at the left and right guard spots over the course of his career, so he could provide valuable depth along the interior of the Bears’ O-line even if he is unable to beat out Grasu for the starting center job.
Ramirez, who was actually drafted by the Lions in the fourth round of the 2007 draft, signed with the Broncos in 2011 and spent four years in Denver under head coach John Fox, the current head coach of the Bears. Ramirez’s visit with Chicago appears to be his first of the offseason, and I would imagine any contract he signs at this point in his career would be a modest, one- or two-year pact.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images