Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long changed positions in 2015 after making the Pro Bowl as a right guard during his first two NFL seasons, moving over to right tackle under new head coach John Fox. Having earned another Pro Bowl nod this year, Long has now demonstrated an ability to play multiple positions up front.
While he was valuable to the Bears as a guard, Long, a former first-round pick, increased his earning potential by shifting to the outside, particularly now that Lane Johnson has set a new standard for right tackles with his huge new contract extension.
In Johnson’s case, the Eagles assume it’s only a matter of time before he moves over to left tackle, and it’s not clear if that will be the case for Long and the Bears, but either way, a payday is on the way for the former 20th overall pick, writes John Mullin of CSNChicago.com. We’ll have to wait and see if Chicago plans on tackling a Long extension this offseason when the team still holds a fifth-year option on him for 2017, but when he eventually signs a new contract, there’s a real chance he could surpass every right tackle except Johnson in terms of per-year salary.
Here’s more from around the NFC North:
- Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap looks at the cap implications of Calvin Johnson‘s potential retirement, explaining how placing the star wideout on the reserve/retired list would affect the Lions in 2016 and in future seasons. Fitzgerald also briefly explores the idea of Johnson using the threat of retirement as leverage to get a clean break from Detroit without having to request a trade.
- Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com suggests some potential uses for the cap room the Lions would save if Johnson retires, while Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press identifies some logical targets at wide receiver for the team.
- After the Vikings‘ heart-breaking Wild Card loss last month, veteran linebacker Chad Greenway said that he wants to continue his career, adding that he “can’t let it end like this.” Greenway isn’t under contract for next season, but wants to re-sign with the Vikings, so Ben Goessling of ESPN.com examines what a deal might look like, concluding that a one-year contract worth between $2-3MM would make some sense.