NFC Notes: Schwartz, Bears, Love, Bucs, Rams

Geoff Schwartz‘s next stop on his free agent tour will be in Detroit, with the Lions hosting the eighth-year lineman, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter).

This will be Schwartz’s second visit with the Lions. He did so in 2012 before signing with the Vikings, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter). Schwartz will visit the Lions’ facilities on Wednesday, Birkett tweets.

Having already visited the Cardinals and Steelers, Schwartz continues to survey the market for a fifth team. Recently released from the Giants, Schwartz has proven to be an effective performer when healthy. The 29-year-old guard/tackle hasn’t been able to stay on the field the past two years, however, with his stay in New York limited to just 13 games in two seasons.

The Lions don’t have an immediate opening at guard, with Larry Warford and 2015 first-rounder Laken Tomlinson occupying those slots. Of course, the Steelers didn’t have a guard vacancy either. Detroit could use more help at tackle.

Here’s the latest coming out of the NFC.

  • John Fox acknowledged to media (including Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com) the Bears are in need of a swing lineman and will look to sign one during the latter stages of free agency. Second- and third-year players with limited experience pack the Bears’ tackle depth chart, but Fox clearly seeks someone with more seasoning. Chicago cut Jermon Bushrod in February before he signed with the Dolphins. Khalif Barnes, Jake Long and Nate Chandler are some of the players who could fit here that remain on the market. Dickerson also mentions Will Beatty in this group. Beatty remains in search of a job after the Giants cut the former well-paid left tackle starter along with Schwartz. But Beatty would profile more as a left tackle starter, with the Bears not exactly having an untouchable cog there in Charles Leno.
  • The Panthers still need a defensive tackle, a safety, and a nickel back, ESPN.com’s David Newton writes. Carolina is still having dialogue with free agent defensive tackle Kyle Love, but the team could also use a high draft pick to solidify the position, Newton notes.
  • The Buccaneers remain in the mix for kick-return man Kyle Williams, although the Broncos and Jets are also involved in the pursuit, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter) reports. Williams played for new Bucs coach Dirk Koetter at Arizona State. A former 49ers return man whose NFC championship fumbles identify him to most of the football landscape, Williams missed last season with an Achilles injury after signing with the Broncos. A return to Denver would be tricky given the Broncos’ limited cap space and having re-signed receiver/returner Jordan Norwood last week.
  • Los Angeles will have decisions to make regarding fifth-year options for Tavon Austin and Alec Ogletree soon, and Jeff Fisher told media (including Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com) discussions are underway and the Rams would like to keep the duo around for a long time. Fisher previously acknowledged Ogletree’s option would probably be picked up, but with Austin being a top-10 pick and costing transition tag-type money ($12.27MM), Wagoner writes an extension would be a more prudent approach to retaining Austin than putting the gadget wideout on the Rams’ books for that amount in 2017.

Zach Links contributed to this report

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