CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago Bears agreed to a three-year deal
with free agent Orlando Pace on Thursday, adding a seven-time Pro
Bowl tackle to their offensive line on the same day they acquired
quarterback Jay Cutler in a trade with Denver.
Released by the Rams three weeks ago in a move to clear $6 million in cap room, the 33-year-old Pace joins a team that suddenly has a different look on offense after going 9-7 and missing the playoffs for the second straight year. The Bears have a Pro Bowl quarterback they craved in Cutler, to go with promising young players such as tight end Greg Olsen and running back Matt Forte.
The top pick in the 1997 draft, the 6-foot-7 Pace started 154 of 158 games for the Rams while helping them win one Super Bowl and reach another. He blocked for three straight MVPs - quarterback Kurt Warner in 1999 and 2001 and running back Marshall Faulk in 2000 - but had been hit hard by injuries in recent seasons.
The Bears were looking for an offensive tackle after John Tait retired and John St. Clair signed with the Browns.