Chicago Bears Should Trade Tackle J'Marcus Webb

Andrew Dannehy@@ADannChiBearsCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 23: J'Marcus Webb #73 of the Chicago Bears moves to block Jermelle Cudjo #93 of the St. Louis Rams at Soldier Field on September 23, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Rams 23-6. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

J'Marcus Webb is clearly not in the Bears' plans for this year or the future, so it's time for them to try to get some value for their young former starting left tackle.

After two consecutive strong performances by rookie Jordan Mills, it's clear he is the present and the future for the Bears at right tackle. Veteran Jonathan Scott also appears to be a lock for a roster spot as most of his base salary is guaranteed this year, according to Spotrac

That leaves the Bears with four tackles when they'll likely only dress three.

Webb is a better player than Scott. To be fair, he didn't really get a fair shake as a starter at right tackle. In his first game at a new position, he gave up a sack to a player who has 33 sacks over the last three years, but that was enough to get him benched.

Webb's early struggles on the right side were predictable. His mechanics were a work in progress on the left side. Switching him over meant he had to do everything opposite. One would expect that transition to take time for anyone, much less a fundamentally flawed player like Webb.

Fair or unfair, it is Mills' job now and he seems to be what the Bears have been looking for on the right side. Mills appears stronger, more flexible and more willing to learn. He was a steal for the Bears in the fifth round.

The perception of Webb is not reality. He has value and potential, he just needs the right person and situation to light a fire under his back side.

Webb isn't nearly the bust many fans seem to think he is. In fact, he has undoubtedly outplayed his draft position with 44 career starts. 

There's little argument that the Bears' offensive line needed better play from every position, Webb graded out as their best offensive lineman on Pro Football Focus (subscription required) in 2012. That might be like being the prettiest girl in Green Bay, it's a clear indication that he wasn't their biggest issue on the line.

When the Bears spent big money on Jermon Bushrod to take over at left tackle, it came with controversy. 

Pro Football Focus graded Bushrod just slightly higher than Webb last year. While they were met with backlash—mostly from those who don't understand what they do—they weren't the only ones who felt that way.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Webb as the 28th best left tackle in the league, while Bushrod was 25th

It's worth noting that Webb is also three years younger, yet the Bears still chose to spend big money for a slight upgrade in pass protection.

That said, there are—and have always been—questions about Webb's desire. Still, teams are usually willing to take risks on players with talent, thinking they can get the most out of them.

There are many teams—say the Oakland Raiders, for example—who could use Webb as their starting left tackle and would almost certainly be willing to give up a late draft pick for him.

Finding a partner for Webb would be easier than it was for Gabe Carimi. Carimi is older than Webb, has had major injury issues, was a worse player on the field and has a contract that guarantees him over one million dollars this year. Webb also can play left tackle, while Carimi is strictly a right tackle or perhaps a tall guard. 

The fact that Webb renegotiated his contract would make a deal even easier to pull off. He isn't guaranteed a penny for this year, which means any team trading for him could cut ties with him if it didn't work out. It also means the Bears could keep him as an inexpensive backup and they don't have to trade him.

If general manager Phil Emery could trade Carimi, he should be able to move Webb.

Webb might—and probably does—have a future in the NFL, but it won't be with the Bears. Instead of keeping him on the bench all season then losing him as a free agent or cutting him for nothing, the Bears should try and get something for the young tackle.