Chicago Bears sign former Los Angeles Rams center Coleman Shelton

Shelton started all 17 games for Rams in 2023

Los Angeles Rams center Coleman Shelton gestures after a game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif.

LAKE FOREST – The Bears have options at center.

A week after sending a fifth-round draft pick to Buffalo in exchange for interior lineman Ryan Bates, the Bears signed center Coleman Shelton, the team announced Thursday.

Shelton, 28, started all 17 games at center for the Los Angeles Rams last season. He spent the first five years of his NFL career with the Rams. He worked with new Bears offensive coordinator Shane Waldron for three years in Los Angeles before Waldron left to become the offensive coordinator in Seattle in 2021. Shelton has appeared in 73 games over five NFL seasons, making 32 starts.

With Bates and Shelton, the Bears now have multiple options at center. The position was a weakness during the 2023 season. Cody Whitehair and Lucas Patrick both started games at center for the Bears. The team released Whitehair last month and let former center Lucas Patrick hit free agency this week.

With Nate Davis and Teven Jenkins firmly in starting roles at the guard positions, it’s possible Bates and Shelton could battle it out for the starting center job. Shelton was the 17th-ranked NFL center last season, according to Pro Football Focus. He could be the favorite to land the job. Bates, who can play multiple positions, could be a versatile backup who might fill in anywhere along the interior.

The Bears also added tackle Matt Pryor to the offensive line on Wednesday.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.