September 14th, 2022 at 12:29pm CST by Sam Robinson
Alex Leatherwood‘s NFL career encountered another setback Wednesday. The recent Bears waiver claim will be placed on the team’s reserve/non-football illness list, according to Matt Eberflus.
This will sideline the 2021 first-round pick for at least four games. The Bears are bringing back Michael Schofield, who was with them in training camp, to replace Leatherwood on the 53-man roster, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Leatherwood is believed to have contracted mononucleosis, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
Eberflus said Leatherwood is not at the team’s facility today. He did not play in the Bears’ Week 1 game. A 17-game Raiders starter last year, Leatherwood caught on with the Bears via waiver claim. The Raiders’ new regime bailed on the Jon Gruden–Mike Mayock-era O-line investment after this year’s training camp.
The Bears exited their camp with some questions on their O-line, and the team is attempting to salvage Leatherwood. The Alabama prospect, who was not expected to go in last year’s first round, has been working at right tackle with the Bears, Biggs adds. Leatherwood began his pro career as the Raiders’ right tackle starter, but the team moved him to guard early in his rookie year. McDaniels’ staff slid Leatherwood back to right tackle this offseason, and while the Raiders have significant questions at that particular position, they could not find a spot for the second-year blocker on their 53-man roster.
As expected, Chicago used fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones and 2021 fifth-rounder Larry Borom as its Week 1 tackle starters. Riley Reiff, 33, remains on the team as a swingman. Leatherwood’s hopes at competing for playing time will have to wait a while now. Three years remain on his rookie contract.
Schofield, 31, initially signed with the Bears just before training camp. The Illinois native has extensive experience at right guard and right tackle, having transitioned to guard after being a right tackle starter for the Broncos’ 2015 Super Bowl-winning team. The Chargers used Schofield as their primary right guard over the past five seasons; he joins Reiff as a 30-something second-stringer on the rebuilding Bears.
Teven Jenkins started at right guard for the Bears on Sunday, rotating with would-be center Lucas Patrick. The latter is poised to be Chicago’s center, but a July hand injury has altered that plan for now. Sam Mustipher started at center for the Bears against the 49ers.
Sam Kamara got into eight games with Chicago in 2021 while mostly appearing on special teams. Nsimba Webster got into six games with the Bears last year, returning four punts for 13 yards. Both of these young players are candidates to return to Chicago’s practice squad to start the 2022 campaign.
Nathan Peterman is also expected to land back on the Bears’ practice squad, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). After tossing three touchdowns vs. 12 interceptions in two seasons with Buffalo, Peterman spent the past three years with the Raiders, getting into only a pair of games. Justin Fields and Trevor Siemian are the only two QBs on the Bears active roster, so Peterman will see a promotion if either of those two are sidelined.
Reiff, 33, played right tackle with the Bengals last season, prior to going down with a mid-December ankle injury that shelved him for the team’s unlikely Super Bowl run, and moved to the right side in 2016 to accommodate Lions first-round pick Taylor Decker. In every other season, Reiff has primarily been a left tackle.
Jones and Reiff starting would leave Chicago with two new tackle starters. The team’s top 2021 left tackle, Jason Peters, remains a free agent. The player the previous regime hoped would commandeer that post, Teven Jenkins, has not done so. The 2021 second-round pick has battled injuries throughout his career. While Jenkins has returned to practice, he has lined up with the Bears’ second- and third-string lines since doing so, Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic tweets.
Larry Borom worked as Chicago’s primary right tackle last year, but the 2021 fifth-round pick is playing behind Reiff presently. Pro Football Focus graded Borom outside its top 60 tackles last season. Although O-line development usually takes some time, the Bears’ new coaching staff may be prepared to let the Mizzou product learn from the bench behind Reiff (139 career starts). Borom has been working at both tackle spots, suggesting a potential path as the team’s swing backup.
The team exited the 2020 season with one of the league’s most stable tackle tandems, with Charles Leno and Bobby Massie having started together for five years. The Bears, however, released Leno and did not re-sign Massie during the 2021 offseason. Leno is now with Washington, tied to an extension signed earlier this year, while Chicago searches for long-term replacements. The Bears are not expected to contend this season, but Justin Fields preparing for his first full campaign as the team’s starting quarterback certainly makes tackle performance important through a longer-term lens.
Additionally, late-July pickup Michael Schofield is ticketed to be the team’s top right guard, Cronin adds. Mainstay Cody Whitehair remains the Bears’ other guard starter, while ex-Packer Lucas Patrick is poised to be the Bears’ new center. A former Super Bowl starter at right tackle with the Broncos, Schofield has been a serviceable guard in the years since. The Chargers used him as a guard starter in 49 games over the past five years.
The Bears have brought in an experienced offensive lineman ahead of training camp opening up. ESPN’s FIeld Yates reports (via Twitter) that Chicago is signing Michael Schofield. The move comes one day after he worked out with the team.
The 31-year-old was a third-round pick of the Broncos in 2014. He was a full-time starter at right tackle, then right guard, in 2015 and 2016 (in which he earned a career-high PFF grade of 72). Despite playing a notable role on the Broncos’ Super-Bowl winning team, he was waived just ahead of the 2017 campaign.
That began his first Chargers tenure, which lasted three seasons. After making 15 appearances at tackle in 2017, he was once again a full-time starter along the interior for the next two years. He remained a consistent, if unspectacular, presence throughout that time, leading him to a one-year deal with the Panthers in 2020. He spent the summer of 2021 in Baltimore, but was cut at the end of August.
As a free agent, he headed back to the Chargers last season, with whom he made 15 appearances (including 12 starts). As a member of the team’s much-improved offensive front featuring Rashawn Slaterand Corey Linsley, Schofield posted a pass-blocking grade of 75.2. Los Angeles continued their investment in protecting Justin Herbertby using their first-round pick on Zion Johnson.
In Chicago, Schofield will join a unit which lost James Danielsin free agency. The Bears attempted to land Bills guard Ryan Batesby signing him to an offer sheet, but Buffalo matched the contract. Schofield will provide a veteran presence to an offensive front very much in need of improving, as Justin Fieldslooks to take a step forward in his second season.
September 17th, 2021 at 12:47pm CST by Zachary Links
The Chargers have placed starting tackle Bryan Bulaga on the injured reserve list, per a club announcement. To take his place on the roster, they’ve added guard/tackle Michael Schofield III.
Bulaga spent ten seasons in Green Bay, up until 2020 when he joined the Bolts. The 32-year-old stepped into the right tackle role last year, starting in all ten of his games. He resumed his role for Week 1, but his hip flexor hasn’t cooperated.
“It’s just more discomfort than anything. The MRIs are negative,” head coach Brandon Staley said recently (via the Associated Press). “We’re trying to give him adequate rest and the mobility recovery that he needs so he can go into this game feeling good.”
The 12th-year pro has battled injuries throughout his career, though he did manage 16 games in 2019 and 14 in 2018. The Chargers hope he’ll be back soon and healthy in the long-term as well. His three-year, $30MM deal runs through the 2022 campaign.
August 30th, 2021 at 3:37pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
As the Ravens start to cut their roster down to 53, one established veteran found himself on the chopping block. Baltimore terminated the contract of offensive lineman Michael Schofield, the team announced Monday.
As a vested veteran Schofield will now become a free agent who can sign with any team rather than being subjected to waivers. Although it was a formality, the team also officially placed starting running back J.K. Dobbins on injured reserve, ending his 2021 season before it could start.
Schofield originally entered the league as a third-round pick of the Broncos back in 2014. After missing his rookie year he started 29 games at tackle and guard for Denver over the following two seasons, and won Super Bowl 50 with the team. Despite his large contributions he found himself waived just before the start of the 2017 season, and was quickly scooped up by the Chargers.
He ended up starting all 32 games for Los Angeles at guard between 2018-19. He signed with the Panthers as a free agent last offseason, and started three games for Carolina in 2020. Still only 30 and with 69 career starts under his belt as well as some positional versatility, he should be able to find a new home at some point.
The Ravens have signed Michael Schofield, per a club announcement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it’s expected to be a one-year arrangement for the veteran guard.
Schofield, 30, has 87 career games to his credit, including 69 starts. He first entered the league as a third-round pick of the Broncos in 2014. The next year he started at right guard on their Super Bowl winning team. He later moved on to the rival Chargers, spending time at right tackle in addition to his interior work. His most recent stop was in Carolina, where he suited up for eleven games before his release earlier this year.
Schofield missed a good chunk of 2020 due to time spent on the COVID-19/reserve list. In his 270 snaps, he allowed four sacks and drew three penalty flags.
Now, the 6-foot-6 Schofield will try to make his mark in Baltimore. Given his size and ability to play multiple spots on the offensive line, he should have a decent chance of making the final cut.
October 19th, 2020 at 12:30pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
UPDATE, 5:10pm: The Panthers placed Michael Schofield on the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday, which would seem to indicate he’s likely the positive test. The reserve interior lineman started two games at guard earlier this year.
12:30pm: There could be a new COVID-19 case in the league. The Panthers announced Monday that they had sent all players, coaches, and staff home for the day following an unconfirmed positive test.
That test is now being re-ran to make sure it isn’t a false positive. The Panthers were under stricter protocols this past week since they played against the Falcons and Marlon Davidson in Week 5, who later tested positive. It’s unclear who the positive within the Panthers organization is, or if it’s related to that contact with Davidson. Carolina did say that they were hoping to all be back in the building on Wednesday, which would mean they wouldn’t miss any real practice time.
Hopefully it turns out to be a false positive or at least an isolated case, but this isn’t what the 3-3 Panthers needed as they prepare for a big divisional game against the Saints where they are big underdogs. Carolina is coming off a disappointing home loss to the Bears on Sunday. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear more on the situation.