Breaking News: Bears sign Brian de la Puente

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by The Benjamin, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas
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    LM: #Bears have agreed to terms with free agent center Brian de la Puente on 1-year deal. Puente spent last 3 years with Saints.
     
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  2. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas
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    Huge upgrade at center
     
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  3. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas
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    Bears add veteran center de la Puente






    • [​IMG]
      Saints center Brian De La Puente during a 2013 game. (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports / September 22, 2013)

      By Brad Biggs, Tribune reporter
      4:07 p.m. CDT, April 6, 2014

      The Chicago Bears have found a potential long-term replacement for Roberto Garza by adding a player with plenty of starting experience.

      Brian de la Puente, who started the past three seasons for the New Orleans Saints, has agreed to a one-year contract, according to an NFL source. De la Puente, who turns 29 next month, is expected to serve as the backup to the 35-year-old Garza, a team captain that returned to the team on a one-year contract earlier this offseason.

      De la Puente spent two seasons as a starter under Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer when he served as the line coach for the Saints. So, de la Puente is familiar with the offense and has experience playing with Bears left tackle Jermon Bushrod. De la Puente chose the Bears over offers from the Saints and Lions, a source said.

      The one-year contract is for the minimum-salary benefit with a $65,000 signing bonus (the maximum for an MSB deal) and $100,000 in base salary guaranteed. That deal makes it clear Garza, who signed for $1.5 million, will remain the starter for this season and reflects Garza’s standing as the leader in the offensive line meeting room. The team has explained to Garza that his role remains unchanged and that the plan is for de la Puente to be a reserve this season.

      De la Puente earned $2.02 million last season with the Saints but New Orleans was not willing to pay him that much again this year and the market for centers has been especially tight this offseason. He likely would have been a reserve in Detroit behind Dominic Raiola and the Saints have said they expected Tim Lelito to be part of a competition for the starting center position if de la Puente returned.

      De la Puente projects as a top backup guard for the Bears behind starters Kyle Long and Matt Slauson as well but the big payoff for this move could be down the road. If the Bears are seeking to replace Garza for 2015, de la Puente could be courted to return to a situation where he knows the team, the offense and the coaching staff, meaning the Bears could eventually make a change at the position without seeking a developmental player. Of course, if the team was going to sign de La Puente as a starter, it would need to put more money on the table next year.

      An undrafted free agent from Cal in 2008, de la Puente made six stops before landing with the Saints and developing under Kromer.

      “He's not only a good coach, but he's a good mentor and a good man,” De La Puente told the Tribune last year.

      It’s a relationship that probably had a lot to do with de la Puente choosing the Bears.

      bmbiggs@tribune.com

      Twitter @BradBiggs
     
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  4. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Coordinator

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    Shocker, IMO. I thought he was getting there in age and I never thought of him as a stud C anyway. Plus, I thought they were happy with Garza. What are they going to do with him?

    Unexpected for sure. Next year he will be 30. I really would have thought that a young stud would have been the direction, but what do I know...
     
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  5. The Benjamin

    The Benjamin George Halas
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    I cannot see him being a backup to Garza for too long
     
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  6. strockrocks

    strockrocks Veteran

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    Hell yes. This is a great signing! Adds depth, possibly starting in case of injuries or lack of performance. Knows Kromer and has played with Bushrod. I'm happy with it.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  7. MPbears68

    MPbears68 Pro-Bowler

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    Unbelievable. And excellent.
    Ninja Phil strikes again!
     
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  8. Bear_40

    Bear_40 Veteran

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    Snapper on special teams perhaps?
     
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  9. BSBEARS

    BSBEARS Pro-Bowler

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    Kind of surprised, make sense for next yr post Garza and nice insurance policy.
     
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  10. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Coordinator

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    Even though I wanted a young stud, it is a huge upgrade -- assuming they play him instead of Garza -- which I doubt because Graza is making 3X the money. Depending on which sight you reference, Garza was ranked at #28 and De la Puente rated #9. I'll take that upgrade any time, but if they don't play him, it's no upgrade.
     
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