The Bears on Wednesday afternoon completed a swap of journeyman offensive tackles with the Browns, when they agreed to terms with seven-year veteran Kevin Shaffer on a three-year contract that could be worth up to $8 million.
The 29-year-old Shaffer, who has started all but two games over the previous five seasons, was cut by the Browns March 12, five days before Cleveland signed unrestricted free agent John St. Clair, who started 16 games for the Bears last season at left tackle, to a three-year, $9 million deal.
Shaffer spent the last three seasons with the Browns after signing as an unrestricted free agent in 2006. He started 47 games, 31 at right tackle and 16 at left tackle. Last season Shaffer started 15 games at right tackle, where he is more comfortable playing a power game. He has struggled with speed rushers in the past while playing left tackle, but is more effective as a run blocker on the right side.
Shaffer is expected to compete with unrestricted free agent Frank Omiyale, who was signed to a four-year, $14 million contract on Feb. 27 after starting one game in his four seasons with the Panthers. Omiyale was originally slated to compete with Josh Beekman for the starting job at left guard, but was moved to right tackle during last week's minicamp after St. Clair signed with the Browns.
The 6-5, 315-pound Shaffer was a seventh-round pick (244th overall) of the Falcons in 2002 out of Tulsa. He played in 53 games for the Falcons, with all 39 of his starts at left tackle, where he was a teammate with Bears right guard Roberto Garza for three seasons.