Bears sign C Brian de la Puente to one-year deal

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Brian de la Puente seemingly will back up Roberto Garcia at center. (USATSI)
Brian de la Puente seemingly will back up Roberto Garcia at center. (USATSI)

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Brian de la Puente, the starting center for the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees the past three seasons, has officially moved on to Chicago, as the Bears announced Sunday that they had signed the 28-year-old to a one-year deal that's reportedly for the minimum veteran's salary.

De la Puente, the No. 48 overall free agent on the CBSSports.com list, started all 16 New Orleans games the past two years (and 12 of 16 in 2011), and Pro Football Focus ranked him as the No. 16 center in 2013 (he was No. 2 in 2012, according to PFF).

De la Puente is reuniting with his former offensive line coach, Aaron Kromer, who's now the offensive coordinator in Chicago. But he's not likely to start. As the Chicago Tribune points out, de la Puente signed his deal "with the understanding he is coming in to play behind starter Roberto Garza, a captain and the leader in the offensive line room."

“[Kromer] ultimately gave me my shot in New Orleans and to be able to get back with a coach that you have a good relationship with and you learn a lot from is unique,” de la Puente told the newspaper. “I couldn't be more excited.”

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