Chicago Bears: Writing on the Wall for Gabe Carimi

Andrew Dannehy@@ADannChiBearsCorrespondent IMay 14, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 23:  Tackle Gabe Carimi #72 of the Chicago Bears during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 23, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Bears defeated the Cardinals 28-13. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

While many Chicago Bears fans, and probably even some in the front office, have held out hope that Gabe Carimi could cash in on the potential that made him a first-round pick, it now appears obvious that the Bears need to move on.

Carimi's first full year in Chicago was a bust. He graded out as the third worst pass-blocking tackle on Pro Football Focus (subscription required) and the eighth-worst overall.

The hope was that new offensive coordinator/line coach Aaron Kromer could get more out of Carimi, but he isn't getting the opportunity to work with him. Carimi attended the team's minicamp, but he is now sitting out their organized team activities, according to ESPN Chicago's Jeff Dickerson.

Perhaps Carimi sees the writing on the wall. 

According to the Bears' team website, he wasn't working with the starters in their first minicamp. Instead, the Bears had free-agent signing Matt Slauson and 2012 undrafted free agent James Brown as the starting guards while J'Marcus Webb played right tackle.

After the minicamp ended, the Bears signed former Jacksonville Jaguar second-round pick Eben Britton, another player who can play both guard and right tackle to add more competition.

Things took another turn for the worse for Carimi when the Bears drafted linemen Kyle Long in the first round and Jordan Mills in the fifth of the NFL draft.

It's unknown how many offensive linemen the Bears intend to keep, but it's clear Carimi would be battling for a roster spot, not a starting job. 

Perhaps Carimi doesn't feel he's been given a fair shake, and maybe he's right; the Bears have added three free agents and two more draft picks, but he can't prove the organization wrong if he isn't there. 

The decisions the Bears made to add competition to their offensive line were likely based on tape they saw from last year. Maybe Carimi wasn't 100-percent healthy last year, or maybe he can just play better. Regardless, he has to prove it to the coaches.

The best chance he has to make the roster is by competing, but he's failing to do so.

As far as sorting out competition at OTA's, there isn't a lot that can be accomplished, but Carimi could be there to learn the offense and get to know the coaches. If he shows them a great work ethic, they're more likely to work with him and develop him.

Carimi still has talent to work with—as bad as he was at pass-blocking, he was a good run-blocker. He graded out as the ninth-best tackle in that area on PFF (subscription required).

If Kromer could get his hands on him and improve his footwork, he might be able to develop into an adequate pass-blocker.

More than anything, Carimi has to show a willingness to compete. The best players are always willing to prove they are the best. Yet, the Bears are beginning OTAs, and Carimi is absent.

Attitude issues aren't anything new for Carimi. In a story done by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel before the 2011 NFL draft, an AFC personnel director had some harsh words about his attitude.

He thinks he's a (expletive) Pro Bowler before he gets in the league. It really bothers me. It affects my judgment. For me, he ain't in the mix. I think he will be a successful left tackle, but I think he will be a diva and a pain in the (expletive).

Should the Bears release Carimi, they'd take a cap hit of around $900,000, according to 670 The Score's Dan Durkin. However, if they keep him, he will count nearly $2 million against the cap. It isn't worth paying him that much money if he isn't going to play, or even try to earn a spot on the team.

If Carimi refuses to compete, the Bears shouldn't save a roster spot for him.