In a move that made sense for both parties, the Chicago Bears traded former first-round OT Gabe Carimi to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday for a sixth round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. The deal ends a disappointing two-year stint in Chicago for Carimi, the Bears top choice in the 2011 draft.
Carimi began his rookie season with much promise, starting at right tackle through training camp and early into the season before suffering a severe knee injury during the Bears second game in New Orleans. He missed the remainder of his rookie campaign and after surgery in December of 2011, struggled to add needed lower body strength. Carimi played, albeit poorly in 2012. His overall Bears career shows 18 games played with 16 starts.
The writing was on the wall after Carimi skipped most of the Bears off-season conditioning work and Organized Team Activities (OTA’s) following a voluntary April mini-camp. He opted instead to work out in Arizona, but was expected at the Bears mandatory mini-camp this week. The move removes a potential distraction and allows Carimi to get his career jump started elsewhere, though he may have trouble cracking the starting unit in Tampa.
On a dubious note, the departure of Carimi means the Bears are now without any first-round draft picks selected by former general manager Jerry Angelo, who was in charge of Bears drafts from 2002 through 2011.
With Carimi out of the picture, the right tackle job looks to be contested by former left tackle J’Marcus Webb and veteran Jonathan Scott. Off-season acquisition Eben Britton, a free agent originally drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars, also could challenge.