The Chicago Bears made a somewhat surprising decision on Thursday morning, electing to release long-time offensive lineman Roberto Garza from the roster.
Garza, who played in 154 games for the Bears during his lengthy career, switched to the center position beginning in the 2011 season, and he was one of the anchors of the team’s line during that time. He missed four games last season due to a couple of different issues, including a high ankle sprain that held him out of the season finale against the Minnesota Vikings.
Despite those injuries, Garza inked a one-year contract extension just before Christmas in the last signing that former G.M. Phil Emery orchestrated. The pact only guaranteed him $75,000 for the 2015 season according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, and as a result the team has decided to move in a different direction for next season.
Garza put out this image thanking fans on Instagram shortly after the announcement:
In terms of a replacement, there isn’t anyone currently on the roster that has NFL experience at the center position, but according to Biggs and Rich Campbell, the team plans to sign former Denver Broncos center Will Montgomery to a contract. Montgomery ascended to the starting center position last year for the team, replacing Manny Ramirez at the positon in midseason.