By Dan Bernstein–
As Bears as Bears can be, they take a perfectly satisfying story and complicate it by screwing something up.
Here they have a locally-known, Big Ten star whose skills match their most glaring need, falling to them somewhat unexpectedly with the 29th pick. Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi, a versatile, powerful, intelligent tackle with an on-field mean streak, comes gift-wrapped for Jerry Angelo on NFL First Round Night. A year after not even participating in the Thursday festivities, they can come away all smiles.
But not so fast.
As soon as they sensed that Carimi – a favored target of offensive-line coach Mike Tice and others among Bears draft cognoscenti – could be had, they maneuvered to grab him earlier by dealing a fourth-round pick to Baltimore to swap spots and pick 26th, jumping ahead of the Chiefs, whom they believed also coveted O-line help.
Here’s the bizarre scene that unfolded, per Peter King of Sports Illustrated: “The Ravens called [the trade] in. They assumed Chicago called it in, but due to a miscommunication in the Bears’ draft room, no one from Chicago ever called the league. As the clock ticked down to zero, and Chicago was on the phone with Carimi to tell him he was going to be their pick, Baltimore noticed no one at the league had announced the trade.”
So Kansas City got their card in, grabbed the pick, and took wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, not Carimi. If you’re scoring at home, the Bears apparently bungled a trade they didn’t even need to make in the first place.
“Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, on an open line to New York, demanded to know why the trade hadn’t gone through,” King reports. “Chicago never called to confirm it, Newsome was told.”
What looks like a harmless oversight may be more than that, according to King. “Angelo called Baltimore owner Steve Bisciotti to apologize, but Bisciotti wanted the fourth-round pick anyway, claiming it was part of the deal they’d agreed to. In fact, I’m told Bisciotti today will push to get the fourth-round pick, or to make the situation right in some way. The league is under no obligation to do so, because the trade was never official. I think the Ravens will ask the league to award them some compensation from Chicago before the draft resumes at 6 PM Eastern today. Stay tuned.”
Local writers are covering for the Bears today, dismissing the error as nothing but a “glitch,” and Angelo has taken full responsibility for the failure to communicate, a mistake that will remind Bears fans of the Warrick Holdman “unchecked box” free-agency affair.
If this costs a fourth-rounder or some other pick, it’s more than just something to laugh off while Carimi is welcomed and celebrated. He’d better be worth it.
Last year the Bears were falling upward from the first game on, appropriately unapologetic as they took advantage of fortuitous calls, opponents’ fourth-string quarterbacks and their own stretch of impossibly-good health to reach the NFC title game.
Now, they miscalculate on the need for a draft-day trade, botch its execution when they decide to make it, and still end up with the player they wanted.
The NFL is back in business for the time being, and the Bears are picking up right where they left off.
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
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