Evaluating Justin Fields is the most important aspect of the 2022 season, but it would’ve been impossible to do if he was constantly on his back. While neither Riley Reiff nor Michael Schofield are actual difference makers along the offensive line, they are capable bodies who should help keep Fields upright in 2022.
Going into the season with some combination of Sam Mustipher and late-round draft picks at right guard and Larry Borom and a late-round pick at left tackle would’ve been asking for disaster. The inevitable outcome would have been an injury to Fields and a Fields injury is the worst 2022 outcome possible.
Nobody should mistake the late activity as a great success. The Bears still have one of the worst starting offensive lines in the league. But it probably isn’t the worst, which it was five days ago. Bears fans have seen Reiff enough to know that he’s a below average offensive tackle. The same can be said for Schofield at right guard. Both players were on teams who made considerable moves to upgrade their offensive lines this past offseason.
In both cases, the players possess some position versatility. If one of the young tackles — Tevin Jenkins, Larry Borom or Braxton Jones — breaks out, Reiff can switch sides or move inside to guard. (The team reportedly guaranteed him $10 million, so you can bet he will be playing somewhere.) Schofield could move to right tackle if none of the tackles perform at a capable level.
Both players should also be familiar with the scheme as both played in the wide zone under Gary Kubiak. Reiff did so in Minnesota and Schofield began his career with the Broncos when Kubiak was the head coach.
The signings aren’t long-term fixes, and they don’t make the Bears Super Bowl contenders, but they should help keep Fields healthy and nothing is more important.