Gabe Carimi was once a promising first-round pick -- a prototypical right tackle who had had a very good college career. Two years and a knee injury later, the Chicago Bears were ready to give up on him and traded him to the Bucs for a measly sixth-round pick. Why? Dan Pompei has the answer. Somehow, I seem to keep coming back to his reporting recently.
Pompei gives us essentially four different reasons why the Bears gave up on the right tackle, none of them too promising for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
- A dislocated right knee injury in his second NFL game greatly limited him for two years, which was exacerbated by the fact that it was a very uncommon injury.
- Last season he was still bothered by the injury, which produced poor play last year. That didn't endear him to anyone, even if it wasn't necessarily his fault.
- Carimi lost weight while recovering from the injury, which also caused him to lose both lower-body and upper-body strength. Previously his power had been an asset, but it certainly wasn't visible in the games I watched of him last season.
- The tackle then missed most of the offseason workouts for the Bears this offseason. Carimi claims that was to get his knee in the right shape, but the Bears not getting a good look on them caused them to move on. They signed three free agent offensive linemen, re-signed another and drafted two more -- one of them a first-rounder. That left little room for Carimi on the roster.
Many of those issues may still be hampering Carimi -- but a fresh start seems like it could help him, too. The question is whether he has completely recovered from his knee injury, and whether he can gain the weight and muscle necessary to regain his power. If he can do that, he could be a valuable asset to the Buccaneers -- at least as a backup, and perhaps as a little more than that.